Monday, May 12, 2008

Homeschool Hi-Light: Evaluation complete!

My Homeschool Hi-Light for this week is easy:

We got our homeschool evaluation done!

Pennsylvania has a tough homeschooling law. One requirement is the evaluation, wherein a certified teacher reviews work the child has done throughout the school year, talks with the child about it, and reviews books/materials used. I'd heard horror stories about evaluators who were not homeschooling-friendly (why were they doing it, then?) so when we moved here I started looking for an evaluator right away.

She came to me via our homeschool group, of which she is a member. A former elementary teacher, she keeps up her credential as she homeschools her own kids.

It turned out to be a fun experience for my kids. First off, she is a very kind, gentle, soft-spoken soul - so unlike me. My kids enjoy her greatly. My daughter paid her a compliment: "she seems like the kind of person who will be interested in anything a kid does." And she was right.

Ms. Eval looked through the book lists we'd made and asked a few questions about books - and took some titles down for her own homeschool. She noted my daughter's standardized test scores and list of places we visited. She went through their portfolios (which have to be submitted to the school district) to see their work samples.

Then she handed me the forms that assure the school district that my kids have received an appropriate education.

Aaahhhh! My first evaluation, and I guess I passed. Now, I need to finish logging our 180 days - 10 days to go! - and be ready to submit our portfolio by June 30. I'll get a few more books listed before then. The school district could find something lacking in the portfolios, but I doubt it.

I must admit that the process wasn't as bad as I'd feared. Coming from Oregon, a very homeschool-friendly state with few requirements, I found Pennsylvania's law very daunting. Now I have confidence to carry on for the next "school year."

Finding new confidence is always a hilight for me! Go to Fun Learning for more.


SmallWorld said...

People often say that about TN--the laws are so strict, they are scared to move here, etc. Funny, the laws here always seem so easy to me! I guess it's all what you are accustomed to!

Andrea said...

Getting through the evaluation has to be a huge relief to you! It sounds like you are very organized and that everything will go well for you.

Do you post pics of your portfolios?


Marbel said...

Smallworld - yes, that's true. I was used to doing almost nothing in OR! It was quite a change.

Andra - I don't normally post pics and the portfolios are nothing glamorous. :-) It's just a folder containing the lists of books (read by the kids, and read aloud), other resources (dictionary, encyclopedias) lists of activities (field trips), test scores (when required), documentation of 180 days of school (a grid with dates filled in), and some samples of work: a lab sheet for science, a history test, couple of math tests, some compositions the kids wrote (documenting grammar, spelling, and whatever subject it's on), stuff like that. My kids are only in 3rd and 4th grade so it's not extensive.

Maybe I'll post their book/activities lists when it's all said and done.

Marbel said...

Andrea, sorry for misspelling your name. Looks like I can't edit my own comment!?

Sheryl said...

I'm glad it went so well! I didn't know that you could pick your own evaluator - that had to help tremendously.

Mrs. Darling said...

Good for you! Really those tests are more about grading the mom than the sudent! :)

Gillian said...

Sounds like it at went well so far! Good luck with the portfolios too!

Gillian said...

Okay, I'm obviously having typing issues. Ignore the "at" in the first sentence of my first comment!

Alicia said...

Congratulations! Alaska's homeschool laws are pretty easy, and I always admire those of you who have to jump through so many hoops just to give your kids a proper education. It shows real dedication. I'm glad everything went well for you.

Shari Ellen said...

What a relief that must be to have the evaluation done. I was really worried the first time that we turned in portfolios. Our certified teacher is hired by our homeschool group.