How is Your Year Going?
Following the proverbial mid-year slump, that many homeschoolers are familiar with, thoughts of spring come alive. And accompanying thoughts of spring – park days, seeing flowers in bloom and buds on the trees - is a reminder that year-end assessments and evaluations are not too far away. And possibly, as the year winds down, that little voice in our head may come calling, provoking questions about the year's accomplishments. We sometimes worry. We may question ourselves and we may wonder if we, as home educators, are preparing our child to succeed out there in the big, wide world.
Although academics is only a portion of what our children need, I found myself wondering – for the first time in our homeschool journey and during my own mid-year slump - if my child was “on-track”. To put my concerns to rest, I chose to administer the California Achievement Test (CAT) in January, right about the time when many of us are really feeling the humdrum of winter. And I am glad I did!
First, the results of the test allowed me to put aside any doubts I had that my child was not academically progressing, which then allowed me to comfortably plan the remainder of the year. Additionally, by testing in January, I avoided the end-of-the-year rush. The mad-dash for testing can be avoided by ordering and administering assessments through the end of March. Realistically, however, end-of-the-year testing is most common and best for many, but be aware that testing companies get quite busy in April, May and June, which can cause delays of materials and results. If you plan to administer a year-end assessment, order early!
There are many formal assessments and Standardized Achievement Tests available. I purchased the CAT Survey through the Family Learning Organization. FLO has worked with homeschoolers for over 20 years and offers an array of testing options. There is a FAQ page which answers many types of questions about testing.
For more resources, please see the Granite State Home Educators' Testing and Evaluations page.
~ Lauren Lawless