Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A "Periodic Evaluation" For The School Year To Date

In the great state of Missouri (and I do actually think it is great!) we homeschoolers have to do what the law calls "periodic evaluations".  What form this takes is left up to the parents.  How often a "period" occurs is also left up to the parent.  I try to do them twice a year, at the end of the fall "semester" (ie, Christmas!) and at the end of the "school year" (ie, sometime in May or June).

Mine are in the form of a brief paragraph or two on each subject.  I just write down what grade they are getting (though I only grade in science and math), what we are using for each subject, and how they are doing, generally in comparison to last year.

I wrote up the two older boys' a few days ago, and I still need to do the two younger ones.  I have found it helpful to do these evaluations (even though I balk at anybody telling me I HAVE to do anything!) because it gives me time to pause, reflect, and do my own evaluations.

If one of the boys is not progressing - why?  Is it them?  Is it the curriculum?  Or is it me? 

So....what is working, what isn't working, what can we do differently?

Science is going great.  I am doing my first-ever co-op this year.  We are using Apologia's General Science course.  Every Wednesday morning, 14 students ranging in age from 10-15 gather in my breakfast area to review what they read the week before, do the experiments, and hopefully learn something.  We also manage to get in some socialization for those poor homeschool kids who never get to leave the house (yes, that was sarcasm). 

Look at this crew!
Science experiments in the kitchen, how much more traditional can you get?

We do let them out occasionally - this is a field trip the St. Louis University Medical School

Getting ready to dissect a sheep brain.

And how about that socialization, anyway?  One of the moms made a cookie cake to celebrate some birthdays - mine and Britney's.
So, as the pictures demonstrate (!) science is going well.  Having something that we HAVE to do consistently is helping with our other schoolwork as well.  The older boys are doing above-average in most subjects.  We have been lacking, I fear, in language arts this year.  We did a unit on poetry and have done a little grammar.  That is going to be added in and get a little more focus the rest of the year.  Same for the younger boys.  They are harder, though, because they need me for everything, while the older boys can do most of their work on their own. 

It's all this socialization, I'm telling you.  We go-go alot.  Probably too much.  I don't plan to cut back on "real" field trips, chess club, that sort of thing (ie, things I can log hours for).  But....we have been having an awful lot of fun.  Not that having fun is all bad, I am for fun, I promise.  However, as it gets colder and the weather grows yuckier, I think it will be easier to stay hunkered down at home more, and to focus on getting more "book work" done.

Such as grammar. 

It is like this most years, though.  The first half of the year the weather is good, there are holidays and parties.  From January to the end of March, it will be cold and usually wet or overcast.  A good time to do school.  Then in April and May it gets nice, and our focus can go back to more social events. 

We always manage to get in all our hours (1,000 hours that must be logged in Missouri per calendar year).  We don't always manage to finish all our books.  But what doesn't get done this year either a)gets done next year or b)really wasn't all that important, anyway.

And with the short amount of time we have, I'd like to do what is important.  Sometimes we just have to figure out what that is!


  1. I'm worried about your lack of grammar. Too much science. Not enough grammar. Especially sentence diagramming. Hee Hee!

    In our house we probably have too much grammar and not enough science. My kids would probably prefer doing more science experiments though. I wonder if our focus or lack of focus on certain subjects has anything to do with our own love or dislike of said subjects?


  2. Probably. If it was up to me, we'd do history all day, then some creative writing (about what we read in history). Well, we tried that (see, Sonlight) and it did not work well. Now, with a math and science focus (neither of which I particularily love) they are doing much better.

    None of us like grammar. They may end up just doing a lot of creative writing, then studying the CLEP book on grammar/composition and taking the test. We shall just have to see.

    I am learning to like science a little bit....probably because I get to have all that socialization with junior high school students!

  3. Dear Paula,

    You bring a tear to my eye:) I cannot express how grateful I am to know you. You are a true blessing to my girls and me. Taylor and Britney just love coming to your house for science.

    Thank you so much for all you do, you inspire me so much. I am so glad you have this blog, I can hear your voice in every word I read. I will be checking in from time to time, it feels like I've spent time with you.


  4. Kelly, thank you for that! I can't believe how much I miss all those kids. A break is nice, but I am ready to jump back into some paleontology! You and your family are an incredible blessing to me.


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