Regardless of the type of homeschool philosophy camp you abide in, evaluating your progress, mistakes or even philosophy camp are always a good idea. It helps to take a clear, hard look at what did and didn't work. Sometimes you see that what worked for the first year (or years) is no longer working and you need to make changes. I suggest however, that you do your evaluating a couple of weeks after you've finished your year, once you've had a chance to...decompress, if you will.
Depending on what state you live in, you may need to submit documentation to back up your school achievements. In some states, live Virginia for example, you can submit a portfolio of your student's work, have an evaluation letter submitted by a qualified evaluator, or have your students take the dreaded standardized tests and submit that the student is in at LEAST the 4th stanine (or the 26th percentile).
I've often heard public school parents lament about the SOL testing, and how "it doesn't show fair representation of what they really know". I've always agreed with that statement, yet I've opted for the standardized test route each year just so my kids can get used to taking the tests in preparation for the biggies in high school (PSAT, ACT, SAT).
Imagine my COMPLETE AND UTTER SHOCK when I received the test results below, on a Friday evening, after 5pm, ahem.
"Did you READ the test?" With much tone she replied "YEAH!"
"Did you understand the test?" Again with the tone, "YEAH!"
"Did you pick some random crazy pattern and just fill in circles wantonly?"
"NO!....wait, what does wantonly mean?"
Oh good grief!
For the entire weekend I felt like the absolute WORST homeschool mom ever. I mean really, how poorly am I teaching if she got a ONE?? I kept flashing to that scene in "A Christmas Story" where the kid had to wear the dunce hat in the corner. It was bad ya'll.
Monday morning, and at exactly 9am, I called the testing facility and said I had a question about our test results, gave them my account number and the gal said, "Which student are you calling about? Oooohhh...never mind, I see which one....." Yeah, ya think? She then began to interrogate me.
"Did the student take the correct test?" Trying not to have a tone, I responded "Well, she took the one YOU sent her."
"Did the student read the test?"
Now with a tone, "Yes she read the test!" (deja vu)
After a couple of hours of research I got a call back. "Um...apparently our scoring machine ATE your daughter's answer sheet, and never actually scored it." I know I heard the Hallelujah Chorus echo in the background. Before I could catch myself, I said "Really, and nobody picked up on that BEFORE you almost caused me to have a complete breakdown?? "
"Um...apparently not. So we're going to have to send her another test kit and she'll have to retake it." The child's response was "YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!!" I believe the tone was now justified, ahem.
Three weeks later, the new test is done, results have come back and tada! She's in the 98th percentile (a far cry from ONE).
Evaluating your homeschool year doesn't sound nearly so bad now, compared to that horror story, now does it? You can thank me later, grins.
Be sure to pop over and read the experiences of others as they've wrapped up 2016.