It’s the almost the end of our school year!! Do you hear the excitement in my voice? I’m not sure who’s more excited — me or the kids. With the end of the school year comes year-end progress reports, part of our state’s requirement for homeschooling.
I used to be very clinical with my year-end reports, simply listing the curricula used with each child, then, using that curriculum’s scope and sequence to write out a bullet point list of what each of my kids had covered through the year. Then it occurred to me: nobody sees this but me (Yes, that’s right; we’re required to write the assessment, but we aren’t required to actually turn it in to anyone. Makes a lot of sense, huh?), so why not get more personal with it?
I mean, really, these are my kids and who has a better grasp of not only the breadth of their accomplishments, but also the depth of them?
For example, I have a struggling reader. If I put down some clinical observation of what he’s done, it may not look like much on paper. However, if I write a few sentences or a short paragraph about how far he’s come this year, the year-end assessment becomes a keepsake of my child’s progress.
Only I know what a big deal it is that he can now sound out, then, blend together with a great degree of accuracy, multi-syllable words. I know that just a year or two ago, sounding out words went something like: “/c/-/a/-/t/ Dog!” Now, it’s more like “/con/-/grat/-/u/-/la/-/tions/ Congratulations!”
That’s a big deal! And doesn’t it make more sense to detail an accomplishment like that, rather than simply a bullet point list of “edu-speak” to satisfy a state requirement that no one else is ever going to see?
Doing a more personal form of year-end assessments is also helpful for the days when I’m banging my head against a wall, wondering if we’re going to survive whatever new skill we’re working on at the time. I can pull out those wonderfully personal and detailed assessments and be reminded of just how far we’ve come and know that, eventually, this thing that is a source of frustration now will be a source of pride over a milestone reached.
What does your state require of year-end evaluations? Is there a way that you can meet the requirements while allowing your child’s personality to shine through?