Homeschooling parents are generally exquisitely in tune with their children’s academic progress, and I’m happy to meet with you and your children for an end-of-year evaluation, as my own homeschooling and work schedules allow.
An evaluation, which is one alternative to submitting standardized test scores, satisfies Virginia’s Home Instruction Statute requirement for annual evidence of progress.
Parents I have provided evaluations for have told me they and their children look forward to the experience and find value in our process, beyond just meeting the state requirements. I always enjoy learning something from each family.
Various Homeschooling Methods
I provide evaluations for homeschoolers who use a wide range of approaches to homeschooling, from those who use a formal curriculum to those who focus on living a learning lifestyle.
How Does it Work?
You contact me, and I send you my Homeschool Evaluation Guide, which will tell you about my policies, coverage area, philosophy, and fees.
After reviewing the information, if you’re interested in scheduling an evaluation meeting, and if I still have appointments available, I send you a parent report form that you complete and email back to me, detailing the educational progress of each child. We set a date to get together, so I can review your child’s work and educational progress with you and your child.
The Evaluation Meeting
My information packet will give you more information about how to prepare for the evaluation meeting. You will bring evidence of progress to the meeting, which can be in the form of a portfolio, completed curriculum, projects, photographs, lists of books read and field trips taken, etc. Children are also welcome to demonstrate skills and knowledge, and in my conversation, I invite them to talk about what they have been learning.
People using nearly all approaches to homeschooling — from curriculum-based to natural learning and everything in between — are able to find plenty to bring to this meeting, and I can coach you by email on things to bring if you are unsure. The most difficult homeschooling to assess this way is online learning that has been done through some virtual schools — depending on what materials can be made available for review. (I can’t review it if I can’t see it!)
Following our meeting, I write a letter outlining your child’s progress. You are responsible for submitting the letter to your school division by August 1.
A Deeper Evaluation
My process is for parents who want an authentic evaluation, who appreciate that my approach is high-touch, and who understand that I will take considerable time in crafting a personal letter of evaluation for each child. In other words, I am not providing the fast food version of evaluations.
Not all evaluators conduct evaluations with the same process, and you should choose an evaluator who will fit your family and meet your needs.
Schedule an Evaluation
You can inquire for information at any time, but I usually do not begin confirming families until after the first of the year, in January or February. Due to earlier and earlier requests and high demand, I may have to re-think this. I urge you to keep checking back on this site for updates and changes to this, or you can follow me on Facebook.
For 2017, I will schedule nearly all evaluation meetings for April, May, and June. Returning families will be given first option to make appointments. Deposits will be required at the time of an appointment.
For 2017, I am open to conducting multi-family Evaluation Days in other parts of the state, especially if they can be combined with a presentation for your homeschool group or co-op (Extra fees apply). If you are interested in coordinating an Evaluation Day in your area in 2017, please contact me.
July meetings are difficult for me due to family travel and the impending August 1 deadline for submitting evaluation letters — I’m busy reviewing homeschoolers’ documentation and writing letters during the few weeks I have available in July. To accommodate the rush, I charge $50 extra for evaluation meetings conducted during July, since I do understand that sometimes the need for an evaluation comes up unexpectedly. However, I am not always able to meet with all those who seek a July evaluation. It’s worth checking with me, but the best advice is, schedule early!
Online/Computer Documentation, E-Portfolios, Blogfolios, and E-valuations
Homeschoolers today often use blogs, Google docs, Goodreads, and other forms of electronic documentation to keep track of their children’s educational activities and progress for the purpose of evaluation. I am happy to work with homeschoolers who choose this form of documentation, including conducting virtual evaluation meetings.
If you use online documentation of your child’s work, it’s important that your way of documenting is user-friendly for the evaluator (me). If you plan to submit an online portfolio for a future evaluation with me, it’s best if you consult with me ahead of time, so I can suggest how you should structure your blog or use other online tools. I may not be able to use your online portfolio as an evaluation tool if it does not provide the information I need in a format I can use. Please ask before you spend a year “blogging” in a way that does not result in documentation that works for an evaluation. I’ll be glad to help.
If you do use online documentation, you will still need to complete a little electronic “paperwork” for me, but you will not need to recreate a portfolio on paper.
At this point, most homeschoolers using computer documentation are choosing a “hybrid” form of evaluation, using online documentation (such as with a blog) but an in-person meeting.
If your homeschool group has members interested in creating online blogfolios, consider scheduling me for my workshop “Blogfolios and E-valuations,” so lots of you can learn at once about how to create an effective electronic portfolio.
By the way, these electronic portfolios can be made with free blogging software, and it’s a really satisfying experience even outside of the end-of-year progress requirement.
Children who have Special Needs
I do not have expertise with children who have special needs other than a layperson’s understandings of some common learning disabilities and attention challenges. Please consult an educational psychologist if you need your child to be screened for learning disabilities in order to receive accommodations or services. I recommend parents of children with severe or less common disabilities seek an evaluator with training and experience in special needs.
On the other hand, as a homeschool evaluator, a homeschool parent, and a former college faculty member, I’m comfortable working with children, teens, and adults who have a variety of learning styles, attention proficiencies, interests, abilities, strengths, and weaknesses. I have done evaluations for children who are dyslexic and dysgraphic or who are high functioning with autism or who struggle with anxiety.
My goal is to appreciate each child as an individual and express his or her progress and learning activities with detail and clarity.
Read more about Virginia’s requirements regarding homeschool evaluations to document evidence of progress.
You can also read a blog post about how I’ve arrived at my evaluation process on my personal blog, At Each Turn. (I will move some relevant evaluation content like this blog post here to the Engaged Homeschooling blog in the future. Some day!)
Interested in 2017 Homeschool Evaluation
If you would like to request my Homeschool Evaluation Guide because you are interested in the possibility of an evaluation with me in 2017, please complete the form below.