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How Will You Know They Are Learning?
A major component of education is evaluation. This is more frequently known as assessment and monitoring progress. There are two main elements to evaluation: observation and reflection.
Observation of your children's actions and reactions, their temperaments and developing personalities, allows you to build relationships with them to ensure successful learning in all areas of their lives.
Evaluation requires the conscious reflection on the usefulness, the appropriateness, and the outcomes (products and results) of their activities. Goals and objectives need to be measurable: by being able to compare 'then' with 'now' and having a clear plan of where you want your child to be in the future, you will build a confident overview of her educational progress.
The process of evaluation can include assessment, but involves much more than simply tests and exams. You need to think about what you are hoping to achieve, whether your methods are appropriate, and how things may have been done differently.
Being organised with keeping records, jotting down your observations and evaluative comments throughout the day will help you to plan their education to suit their emerging learning needs. It also plays an important part in building your confidence in your role as a home educating parent.
Tests and exams can be tailored to suit the individual child's learning needs, or adapted from commercial tests. Some text books and online learning programs include tests and answers. There are also 'test' books for each year level in each subject available.
How to evaluate - some questions to guide you:
Record your responses in your diary, or on dated samples or your children's work. Use your evaluation to tailor the learning program to your child's immediate learning needs.
As a home educator I developed a couple of different diary formats: the weekly homeschooling diary is very similar to the familiar school diary and the learning naturally diary has been designed to help parents understand that when children are engaged in play, chores or following their interests they are also learning. Another recording approach I developed when my children were high school age, is the Home Education Report / Portfolio. Similar to an end-of-year school report, this document records major assignments or learning tasks undertaken throughout the year. It also contains broad objectives for students in each subject area. It was my aim in creating these resources to help ease parents into home education and to take the worry out of recording their child's progress.
There are dozens of articles on this site about record keeping and evaluation and assessment. Use the search function or look under 'Record Keeping' or 'Evaluation' on the site map. Getting Started with Homeschooling has a whole chapter on this subject, with many examples drawn from our own homeschooling life.
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Beverley Paine with her children, and their home educated children, relaxing at home.
Together with the support of my family, my aim is to help parents educate their children in stress-free, nurturing environments. In addition to building and maintaing this website, I continue to create and manage local and national home educating networks, help to organise conferences and camps, as well as write for, edit and produce newsletters, resource directories and magazines. I am an active supporter of national, state, regional and local home education groups.
We began educating our children in 1985, when our eldest was five. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn since 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. We hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was! Beverley Paine
The information on this website is of a general nature only and is not intended as personal or professional advice. This site merges and incorporates 'Homeschool Australia' and 'Unschool Australia'.
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