We finished our school year last week and then tied up a few loose ends the beginning of this week. On Wednesday we met with our homeschool evaluator who wrote up a quick letter to the local school district to confirm we had completed all the requirements under our state’s homeschool law.
Honestly, it’s a little disconcerting and depressing to have your entire school year — all that hard work and volumes of text read and answers to math problems hammered out — boiled down to three vague paragraphs. I understand that it’s all that is required by the state and my evaluator doesn’t feel that she should provide more than is necessary, but it’s still a bit of a let down after an entire year of lesson planning for six subjects every weekday, gathering together a portfolio, selecting examples of your child’s work, organizing a list of all the textbooks you used and books your child read, and then not having most of that mentioned in those paragraphs.
The school district or state never even sees all the hard work we did when all is said and done and in some ways that might be a good thing. But in other ways it would be nice if they knew we actually take homeschooling seriously and really do educate our children, not simply let them play video games all day and call that school.
It should be noted that none of this is a complaint against our evaluator in the least. She’s amazing. She homeschooled both her girls from grade school to graduation. She knows her stuff. She’s doing her job. It’s just a reminder not to look at that one sheet of paper and draw the worth of our entire school year from it’s contents.
Since I didn’t have to report what we did to the school district, I will use my blog to brag on my 14-year old. He read seven books this year, including four classics: To Kill A Mockingbird, Silas Marner, Lord of the Flies, and A Christmas Carol. He also read the three final Harry Potter books. We almost finished a course in economics as well and plan to continue that course next year. And of course he finished courses in Math, history, science, grammar and English.
We did have to complete a standardized test this year since The Boy was in 8th grade. Standardized testing is required in fifth, eighth and eleventh if I remember right.
I did not have to provide a portfolio or any information for Little Miss because under state law she doesn’t even have to start attending school until she is six and she was not six when the school year started. I will file an intent to homeschool form for her with the school district for the upcoming school year and I will consider her in first grade since we worked on kindergarten curriculum this year.
Overall, our homeschool year went well. We learned about a lot of things but I do see a lot of room for improvement for The Boy especially. We will have to increase our focus on science this next year and also add some more music and art as well as a writing and spelling curriculum for him.
For Little Miss we will focus more on science and history this upcoming year. Little Miss is also going to be having a few days a week of lessons during the summer so she doesn’t forget what she has learned.
We may choose to have set curriculum from one curriculum company this year as well but I have not decided that yet.
I know most parents love when homeschool or school is over for the year and they have a break all summer but I actually miss it. I liked making lesson plans and reading the lessons with The Boy. I liked knowing that each day I had a purpose other than cooking dinner and letting the dog in and out of the house and writing my silly stories. Luckily I now have a summer to begin planning for next year. I also will be teaching Little Miss some starting next week, as I mentioned, and starting in July The Boy will begin reviewing math lessons so he doesn’t forget everything he learned this year.
If you are a homeschooler, I’d love to hear about your homeschool year. Is it over yet? What are your plans for next year? Let me know in the comments.