Is it possible to be a dedicated homeschooling mom while still making time for myself as an individual (a girlie girl who likes cute shoes)? I like to think so. Follow along, and I'll let you know for sure.

Trust me . . . it's not ALL about the shoes.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A Year in Review: Our 1st Homeschool Evaluation

Oh, I am a bad, bad blogger . . . I can't even bring myself to check the date of my last post because I know it's been way too long. This summer has definitely been more about the heels and less about the homeschooling. But, I finally have Noah's first-grade year officially wrapped up and am busy planning for our second-grade adventure. There is no summer break for homeschooling moms, am I right???

So the last item that remained to be checked of my list was our first portfolio review / evaluation. Fortunately, my friend Jan is a homeschooling consultant and, as a licensed teacher, performs evaluations. As much as I like to over-complicate things, I took her advice to keep the portfolio simple and was happy to find that much of the work was already done.

First, I printed reports from Homeschool Tracker, pulling from the information I'd been entering throughout the year. Granted, I printed the wrong reports, but all the right info is in there somewhere - and I know specifically what I do and don't need to include for next year.

Next, I put together a binder with a tab for each subject and added in work samples. Resisting the urge to include everything he'd done all year, I used only one or two samples from the beginning, middle and end of our school year.

Finally, because keeping it that simple just wouldn't be me, I made a Shutterfly album using pictures of our co-ops, events, activities, art projects and science experiments. This turned out to be by far my favorite part, and I plan to do it every year. Looking back at our year in pictures was so fun!

The evaluation itself was very low key. Jan reviewed all the information and spoke briefly with Noah at the end. It was wonderful to have an objective evaluation of our overall program, and she gave me some great ideas for incorporating more authentic experiences into parts of our curriculum.

I'm planning a post on Florida homeschool evaluation requirements in an upcoming Homeschool 101 series, so I'm going to leave this post as only our experience in closing out our first homeschool year. Next up . . . I'm off to finish my planning and will be sharing our plans and some exciting Homeschooling in Orlando field trips soon!

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