Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Evaluating Your Next Year's Essentials

This was the year. The first year that Princess would take standardized testing in school. I ordered the Iowa test from A Beka (wonderful to work with!) and administered the test myself at the public library. My plan - if the test turned out horrible, she is ahead a year, so we have another year to redo the grade. If it was horrible again, we were putting her in private school. Everyone knew that she would do fine, but I needed that confirmation. I need to know where we were on target and where I was lacking. The test results gave me the confidence to homeschool another year. It also gave me a visual evaluation on where we stood in our core subjects. For example, I know that we need to work a little bit more on our listening skills.

In our state, we are not required to give our children standardized tests. I also know many homeschool families that choose not to do standardized testing because they teach in a very non-traditional way that would not be accurately reflected by a standardized test. For me, because of what I consider the essentials of my homeschool, standardized testing is a beautiful tool to help me evaluate for next year. Dear homeschooling companion, as you embark on your journey this summer to plan for next year, consider evaluating and writing down what you consider the essentials. With this clearly in mind, it will help you to mold your planning to meet your own expectations. Here are mine, to get you thinking!

1) Build a foundation of biblical knowledge and demonstrate God's love and Christ-likeness in all we do.
This is our number one priority for homeschooling. This is something that they cannot receive in the public school system. There are many ways to go about this. We choose to have morning family devotions before we begin school and we also have a period of Bible study during our school day. Our class rules encourage a Christ-like behavior. There are many other ways, but you get the idea!

2) Give my children the opportunity to excel to their own capabilities in their education.
No child is equal. No child will excel at the same pace nor respond to the same method of teaching. I want my children to truly learn their material. I want them to go to college and excel. I want them to be equipped to do anything they want to do with their futures. This is why I like the standardized testing. I want to know what we need to work harder on each year so that they can compete for things like scholarships and honor societies in college.

Those are my top two. I could keep going, but I think you get the idea. What do you consider the essentials? How do you plan to emphasize them in your next school year?

My baby sister receiving her college diploma. I hope to see my babies here one day!

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