December 05, 2006

Completing First Grade

Our first homeschool evaluation last May was a bit anti-climactic, actually, but I want to share the experience in case any other beginning New Hampshire homeschoolers are wondering about what they're getting into.

We located our evaluator when Homeschool Scholars in Concord hosted an information session. Camille took comfort in meeting the evaluator before signing her on. I believe the only criteria for evaluators is that they need to be certified teachers.

The evaluator scheduled a half-hour meeting at our house. It actually ran an hour.

The session didn't involve any testing of Nathaniel, just a portfolio review. Camille had assembled all of Nathaniel's “school work” from the year, including:

  • Filled-out workbook pages

  • List of books we had read to him

  • List of books he had read on his own

  • List of field trips with descriptions of what he had learned

  • Notes he had made on science experiments

  • Pictures he had drawn and sculptures he had made

The evaluator arrived with her six-year old daughter, who played outside with our kids during the meeting. Apart from shaking the evaluator's hand when she arrived, Nathaniel did not interact with her.

Camille walked her through the portfolio.

Then the evaluator explained that the formal results of the evaluation would be short and legalistic: “Nathaniel has shown age-appropriate learning advances” or something to that effect.

(The actual statement that arrived weeks later was only slightly more detailed. A few errors in grammar and spelling made us wince, but it was otherwise unremarkable.)

After the formal review was done, however, the evaluator became more personal, discussing different options in math curricula, offering advice on how to improve our planning in second grade, and complimenting Camille on a job well done.

She was especially impressed with the 24 field trips that Nathaniel took in six months. (To us, it didn't feel like many!)

Incidentally, thanks to Kim at Life in a Shoe for hosting this week's Carnival of Kid Comedy.

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