Common Techniques to Help You Evaluate Your Children's Learning at Home
© Beverley Paine
There are so many different evaluation techniques you can employ in your home education program it would be impossible to describe them in this book. Techniques are like tools; they can be used to great effect, or used badly with poor results. Often the fault lies either with incorrect selection or use of tool, rather than the tool itself. The following list can give you some idea of what is most used in schools. You can select ones you feel most comfortable with, or add your own.
Organisation is the key to an effective learning program. Evaluation records need to be dated and filed in an ordered way to be most useful. There are several ways to collate and store records and children's samples of work.
If children are using a traditional school program where units of work are studied in each curriculum area, exercise books for each subject and child is the simplest and tidiest method. Each page of work is dated as work is done. This subject book can then be inserted into a cardboard pocket folder, which can contain texts the child is working from, and other information or equipment needed for the immediate tasks ahead. A cardboard pocket folder is good for storing all of the scraps of paper children write or draw on as well, or you can paste memorable work into a scrap book for each child.
A simple method of recording is by pasting into a special 'year' book information, flyers, brochures, photos and news clippings of events and excursions that are part of the learning program. Objective and evaluative comments beside each entry help to revisit the event later and tie it in with the overall learning objectives and goals.
For keeping records of your educational program organised, a binder with plastic sleeves is a very effective way of safely storing certificates of achievement, special events (news clippings, photographs, awards, invitations, etc.), calendar pages, television program schedules, club or association calendars, forward planning outlines and checklists.
With recording and evaluation your aim is always to keep it simple and effective. Storing vast amounts of data on your children's progress, and work samples has some personal historical value in the home school, but may not appeal to you. There is no need to keep boxes and boxes of old books and educational artefacts stored in the attic, spare room or shed! A highly organised folder, and 'year' books are all you really need.
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We began educating our three children in 1985, when our eldest was aged five years. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn as they grew and explored and discovered this amazing world since the moment they were born. I am a passionate advocate of allowing children to learn unhindered by unnecessary stress and competition, meeting developmental needs in ways that suit their individual learning styles and preferences. Ours was a homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning family! There are hundreds of articles on this site to help you build confidence as a home educating family. I hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was!
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