This can be a nagging concern when families first embark on homeschooling. Certain states, like Florida and Virginia, require homeschooled students to complete state evaluations annually, and parents have a number of different exams to choose from in these communities. Even if your state doesn't mandate testing, it is likely to have guidelines on its education department website to enable you to determine whether your child is meeting or exceeding learning standards for her grade. For more information, check out this article about how states support homeschooling.
These exams are valuable for assessing readiness for college and can be used to supplement the transcripts you create.
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They take place in formal settings and have associated fees; students usually register weeks or months in advance. Read From Homeschool to College: Application Tips for Homeschooled Students for more guidance about preparing for college as a homeschooled student. Formal curricula will come with grading and scoring keys. Many parents adapt these assessments to align with their own instruction, but if you choose not to, the materials are ready-made with everything you need to grade and measure progress.
The support that districts provide to homeschooling families will vary from state to state. For example, some communities are required to assist homeschoolers by providing access to materials, classes, and extracurricular activities — and this may also include permitting families to submit student work to teachers for evaluation. While there is not a formal accreditation for these professionals, many are former teachers who have extensive expertise. Some offer phone consultations, while others provide in-person portfolio assessments or administer standardized tests.
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Though designing your child's curriculum can be a freeing and eclectic experience, don't do her a disservice by failing to keep records of her lessons and progress. This step is crucial when she applies to college , but it will also serve her well if she eventually enters a K—12 school or enrolls in a class that may have prerequisites. Make sure your child is working at grade level relative to her age, and be sure the curricula you use are appropriately aligned.
Give your child regular report cards. If you don't want to assign traditional numerical or letter grades, you'll need to write detailed narrative assessments that have strong accompanying data such as test scores and details from completed work. Create a portfolio assessment, which is a collection of sample work and projects that your child has completed over time.
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Portfolios can be organized by subject, timeframe, or grade level, and may include a range of projects like worksheets, essays, multiple-choice exams, and artwork. All of these samples can be used to gauge your child's progress and aptitude. One of the great aspects of homeschooling is the speed with which you can remedy problems — sometimes within the same hour they arise.
You'll be able to avoid the protracted process that occurs in traditional schools where conferences and meetings can sometimes take days or weeks to schedule once a child begins to struggle. One mother I spoke with, Violet, homeschools her two children.
The methods that worked well with her daughter failed when she tried them with her son Marvin. Her daughter loved book-work and structured assignments that followed a traditional school plan. Marvin, on the other hand, resisted structure, books, and desks. Violet described her son as fiery and active. He did not want to sit still, and he struggled with reading and math.
He did, however, enjoy imaginative play. He would tell stories and create songs endlessly. He also loved to question everything.
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Violet had to adapt her methods to Marvin's needs, an experience she describes as a "formidable challenge. In addition to the state's record requirements listed above, state homeschooling organizations recommend but this is not mandated by law that you maintain records that provide proof of instruction and samples of your student's work each year.
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For example, a teaching agenda or plan book; a journal indicating accomplishments in areas of study each day; the results of tests administered, if any. Some families just put everything their child does in a big box including artwork, poems, copies of written thank you notes, workbook pages, art projects, science projects, etc.
Other families create yearly detailed albums like scrap books with photos of each field trip, coop class, art project, science experiment, etc. They also include samples of written work, math worksheets, and a bibliography of books read throughout the year. These become keepsakes like yearbooks that record the child's studies and interests year after year, and reassure you that you are indeed learning. Plus, they are useful when it comes time to construct portfolios or transcripts for college admission. The freedom to educate our children without government surveillance or intervention comes with the price of constant vigilance to protect our rights from eroding away.
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If you don't currently belong to a state homeschool organization that monitors legal and legislative issues as they pertain to homeschooling, then please join one today. They include:. In California, for students enrolled in public schools or public charter school Home Study Programs, the CA State Board of Education mandates standardized testing for all students in grades Students are tested in reading, spelling, written expression, language mechanics, and math.
Test results are used to measure a school's performance and compare students across a national standard. California Education Code - Testing Exemption provides that parents can exempt their child from testing by requesting it in a letter to the principal. School districts cannot solicit this exemption, but may inform parents of this right if the parent objects to testing. If you have a child that you do not want tested for any reason, simply request that in a letter to the principal of the school.
Testing is not a requirement for private schools in California. Some parents choose to administer tests for evaluation purposes and keep the results in their child's permanent records. Here is a list of some of the tests available and resources for acquisition:. Note: Test suppliers may require the test administrator to have a 4-year college degree or other qualifications.
Family Learning Organization offers the most flexible terms and conveys a more relaxed attitude toward testing. The GED - Passing this test is considered by CA law to be equivalent to a high school diploma for purposes of employment by all state and local public agencies. In California, applicants must be within 60 days of their 18th birthday to qualify to take the test and in some special cases, may be 17 years old - check the website for details. Powered by 12 Point Design. Return to the Top of Page. Get free recording mp3 addressing homeschool concerns!
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Homeschooling California Style! Want to Homeschool in California? This may have been true 20 years ago, but these days, colleges are making the process of admissions for homeschoolers simple and fair. In fact, many colleges are now seeking out homeschoolers themselves, as homeschooled students tend to be excellent college students. Here, we've gathered several facts, tips, and helpful resources that you can put to work to ensure that your college admissions process as a homeschooler is smooth and successful.
Did you know that Harvard recruits homeschoolers, and that most homeschoolers have a higher GPA than regular students? Read on for these facts and more. These schools don't just grudgingly accept homeschooled students, they do everything they can to get them in the door, recognizing that homeschoolers are often better prepared for college than their brick-and-mortar schooled peers.
Some homeschoolers may remember a day when it was difficult to get into college as a homeschooler, but these days, colleges are increasingly adjusting their admissions policies to be more homeschool-friendly. Many accept portfolios of work instead of transcripts, and offer a more flexible admissions procedure. In highly competitive admissions situations, it can be hard for students to differentiate themselves from the rest of small army of applicants all vying for the same spots.
Students with homeschooled experience have an advantage here, as they're different, in a good way. A rumor has been floating around that if homeschoolers want to be eligible for federal student aid, they'll need to get a GED. This is not true: homeschooled students are specifically exempt from this requirement.
But be careful, some colleges and universities believe this myth to be true.