As promised, I’ll be answering some more homeschool questions this evening. I will, of course, include the questions that I received after yesterday’s post. 🙂
What kind of tests does Grace have to do? Do these have to be sent in somewhere?
In our state, yearly testing is required. As for which test, that’s up to me. There are several options available, but I have chosen the Woodcock Johnson for this year. I prefer this test because it is not multiple choice…Grace will actually interact with the test administrator. I also like that the test isn’t solely grade-level material. The test will get progressively more advanced/difficult until Grace consistently misses questions. This way we will have a better idea of her level. For example, if she were taking a grade-level test and excelled at reading, all we would know is that she did really well on the reading test for 5th grade. With the Woodcock Johnson, we’ll find her reading level even if it’s well beyond 5th grade. I also like that the Woodcock Johnson covers all subject areas. Many of the multiple choice tests cover only reading and math.
Grace will be taking her yearly test in April. Until recently, homeschool testing was required to be completed by April 15th. That rule has changed (testing has to be completed within one year of the date your school year started), but we’re going to play it safe and test in April.
Test results do not need to be sent to anyone, but I am required to keep a copy of results on file for one year.
As for topic and skill assessments throughout the year, we do those too. Grace has a variety of assessments (oral, written, project, video, blog, etc.) in all subjects.
What made us decide to do homeschool?
Several factors came together to form the decision. Grace was struggling in public school. She is a very bright young lady, but she had developed some damaging behaviors in the academic arena. Additionally, we had a lot of concerns about the public school system, and if it was really the best environment for Grace’s education. After having done homeschool for half a year, I can tell you with certainty that public school is *not* the best environment for Grace’s learning. Grace is really developing an enthusiasm for learning and a pride in her work that she didn’t demonstrate before. She will also be the first to tell you that she is much happier with homeschool. 🙂
Will we homeschool through high school?
That’s a tough one to answer. Grace would love to never go back to public school. (Of course, that is her opinion now…she may change her mind when she’s older.) I would love to continue teaching Grace until she graduates, and John would love to see that happen too. Grace does, however, come from a four-parent family, so everyone’s opinion has to be considered. I can definitely say that I would be thrilled to continue homeschooling for as long as possible.
What type of record keeping do we do?
The state requires that I keep an attendance record for our school. It’s a very simple form that involves checking off any day that we have school activities. This has to be kept on file for one year after the end of our school year.
In addition to attendance, I also keep a record of each day’s activities and hours. I created a form in Word that allows me to type in a brief summary of activities for each subject as well as the time spent on each. I also keep a grand total of hours spent with school for the year. I print two copies of each day’s record sheet…one stays on file (always good to have a hard copy) and one goes in a folder for Grace’s mom. Each week, the folder, along with work samples and general information (upcoming field trips, assessment results, etc.) goes to Grace’s mom. This way everyone is up to date on school activities and progress.
How do you handle lesson plans?
There are a gazillion different ways to handle lesson plans….this is just how I do it. I do my plans a week at a time. On the weekends, I plan out all lessons for the following week. I created a google calendar just for homeschool. In that calendar, I create an event for each subject for each day. In the event heading, I give the “big picture” topic for each subject (example: Social Studies – World War II) and in the “description” for each event, I give details about activities and lessons. I also include events for any field trips or classes. I have shared this calendar with John and Grace’s mom…that way everyone knows what we’re up to. 😉 This is also a nice record to have as a backup to my other system.
Okay, I think that’s enough for now. If anyone has more questions or would like more details about something I’ve written here, please leave a comment. I’ll be glad to respond. 🙂 I hope to add to this tomorrow, but I’m not making any promises for a New Year’s Eve post. 😉