A teacher can use many different things to see how well their students have learned a concept or topic, like pop quizzes, standardized tests, and oral presentations. The right way to use these tests is based on the subject matter being taught traditionally in a traditional setting by a traditional kind of teacher!
There are many ways to find out if your child is learning when you homeschool them. The way homeschooling works is very different from how kids learn in school.
When you homeschool your child, you can’t measure how much they learn. You have to come up with new ways to measure their progress. Here are some ideas to figure out what your child knows and what they don’t know.
Taking a different pathway
Surprise spelling tests or a history presentation in front of your living room are two things you could do. But they aren’t the only methods to figure out what your kid has learned, and those kinds of tests perform best when the content has been taught in a classroom.
A book report on the chapter book your child read might seem like a waste of time after they spent three weeks gushing about the plot and characters at the dinner table. There may not be a need to “test” them. There is a good chance that assessment in your homeschool will be very different from how it is in a traditional school.
It’s important to check on your child’s progress when teaching them something. You might already know that your child knows their multiplication tables but is having trouble with division because you work with them often and have a good idea of what they know and don’t know.
Traditionally, one teacher might be in charge of many kids in a classroom. In this way, a teacher in a classroom might not have the same intimate, one-on-one knowledge about how each of their students is progressing. Instead, they will use more standardized tests to see if their students learn new material.
How Much vs. How Effective
They worry about whether their child is learning enough when they start homeschooling. Kids in traditional schools learn a lot from how a school district teaches each grade level and what tests cover. This means that what kids learn and how quickly they learn is a big part of their learning.
For example, let’s say you want to learn about all of the animal kingdom’s classifications over five weeks. But you start to fall behind and can’t keep up. It took you three weeks instead of one to learn about birds because your child wasn’t ready for snakes or lizards. There were many things they wanted to do, but they didn’t want to do them all at once.
No, I didn’t do well in this case. No! Instead of thinking your child didn’t learn as much because they got sidetracked, think about the depth of their learning here. That’s a better way to measure their progress than how many things they did in a certain amount of time.
When you want to see how well your child is learning what you’re teaching them, you can do this. Here are some ideas for measuring their progress that is outside the box:
Talk with them
Better better, invite them to speak with you! You might ask your child about what they learned at school at dinner. As long as they share just one thing, you can ask them not to talk about more than that. Your child should be able to tell someone else what they know.
If you don’t know something well enough to teach it to someone else, then you don’t know it well enough. You can figure out what your child has learned by making them the teacher instead of the student. You could ask an older child to help a younger sibling with addition and subtraction facts, or you could read a picture book together so the older child can help the younger one sound out words they don’t know.
Do projects with them.
Instead of giving your kids tests, quizzes, and reports, you can give them projects. Please give them a recipe and tell them to triple it by multiplying the amount of each ingredient (some of which can be fractions!). Ask them to develop a simple machine that can do a job that is important at home. Besides that, you can tell them that you’re going on a road trip and need to figure out a route that gets you there is a certain amount of time and plan for stops every 100 miles, too. Using this method, you can see both what they’ve learned and how well they can use what they learned to do things.
Think in terms of the digital world.
There are a lot of times when we’ve had to give an oral presentation in front of our classmates. It’s worth 30% of our quarter grades. Your child needs to learn how to speak in front of people and report on things, but this kind of presentation isn’t the only way to learn these skills.
Remember that there’s an entire world outside of your house and that your child can use the internet to show information in many different ways to a bigger group. In addition to making an iMovie-style presentation to show family and friends, your child can record a kid-friendly video and put it on YouTube. They can also make a short but informative TikTok.
Use Formal Tests when you want to make sure you’re getting a good grade.
Even though we haven’t used more formal, standardized ways of evaluating in this list, some concepts can be tested more formally.
Spelling and Math
Some things need to be learned by memory, like spelling, states and capitals, and 1 to 10 addition and subtraction facts. These things might be best learned through flashcards, pop quizzes, and timed tests.
Arts & Literature
You want your child to be able to write without your help. Writing a research paper or a persuasive essay can help you figure out where your skills are and which ones if any, need to be worked on. For presentations and book reports, the same thing goes. They require to be able to understand and share information with others.
Homeschooling Laws in Your State
Always double-check your state’s laws on homeschooling. Some states require homeschoolers to be tested every year by their local school district. Many homeschoolers take the SATs or ACTs to prepare for college applications in high school. At some point, your child may need to get used to taking formal tests (even if it’s not a big part of your homeschool).
If you’re not sure how to figure out how well your child is learning, you might want to think about hiring a teacher or private tutor to do the job for you instead. There may be a lot of education professionals in your area who are willing to work for you. They could assist you in figuring out how well your child knows certain things.