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Assessing Your Child's Work

Aug 17, 2007
Homeschooling is slowly becoming a trend for some families. It has many advantages, from the academic, social, moral to the religious point of view while several parents cite other child-centered reasons (like their children's health or safety). These reasons (or a combination of them) have been what most homeschooling families are giving out when asked why homeschool.

Perhaps most homeschooling families enjoy the flexible time homeschooling gives them and the interaction they can have with their children. There are, of course, certain difficulties and questions regarding homeschooling. One of them is regarding grading your children and keeping them up to par with most colleges' standards.

The real question most parents want answered is why they need to bother grading their children's homeschooling. The answer is simply because you may want to know if your children are learning something and if they are at par with children their age.

There are several ways you could find out if your child is learning or progressing in his or her lessons. One is through simple tests or exercises you can find in books. Another is through standardized exams you can find online or with the help of school officials that you know. Standardized tests help you find out if your children are doing fine and are at par with their peers. Standardized tests come as subject-specific tests and testing your children with these exams will help you determine what subjects they need to give more attention to, if there are any at all.

Grading your children's progress includes giving exams or tests and most, if not all, children find tests as a waste of time. This is a very important factor to look into. Most parents find other alternatives or how to make an exam more enjoyable for children. Some of the alternatives include mixing playing with testing. Another alternative is to give rewards (such as seeing that new movie) whenever a child gets a perfect score in an exam. There are several alternatives and it's up to you to play to what you think will make your child happier.

Another factor that could help you decide if your children need to take these tests is if you think they need to experience them. Most colleges require a rigorous standard type of exam (meaning college aspirants are pressured with regards to time) and children who haven't experienced being pressed for time might have some difficulties passing these kinds of tests.

Another factor to be looked at is how the test results will be used. Tests are designed mainly to find out if your children need more help with one area of one subject and where they excel the most. That is not the sole reason though. Other reasons include knowing how your children react to pressure and failure or success. These are important things to evaluate as they influence your children, especially their values.

Another reason is to find out if your children learn from their mistakes. This can be a good gauge of your children's progress and be a proof that they are indeed learning with homeschooling.

Another factor for your decision is how teachers and school officials view testing. They will definitely have different ideas and different sides with regards to the need to test your children. Other school officials will probably cite the need to monitor the progress of your children and knowing where they need help and where they can excel. Other officials will have a different opinion stating that testing should not be done as tests and exams are not the only gauge and way to monitor one's growth. Both sides will have strong arguments and listening to their sides might help you on deciding which side is right.

Of course, there are parents who do one-on-one homeschooling (meaning they personally teach their own children) that find testing their children is unnecessary. It is because most of them are seeing the progress of their children up close. They can see where their children are having an easy time and what subjects they need more time with. It is one of the advantages of teaching your own child rather than hiring paid help but you should also realize that there are other things you cannot teach your children that they may need to know.
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