Assessing my homeschooled children

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Assessing my homeschooled children

Assessing my homeschooled children

How do you assess your homeschooled children?
This is one of the questions I am often asked. How do you know your children are up to par with their Public/Private schooled peers. This is honestly one of the harder questions, I have found, to answer. Every family is different. Most homeschooling families I know, don’t believe in standardised testing and couldn’t point me in the right direction.

Upon many late nights staying up and researching how to assess the children’s education, I decided that my best course of action would be to have the kidlets do the Annual National Assessments (ANA), set up by the South African Department of Education.

Last week Koko completed the Grade three assessments and Fifi did the Grade one assessments for English and Mathematics. They did well considering we are following the Cambridge International curriculum.
Assessing my homeschooled children
There are a few things I picked up from the assessments that we need to work on. One aspect of the CAPS mathematics curriculum hasn’t been covered yet in the Cambridge International Grade 3 curriculum and, after going through the books we are currently working on, will be covered over the next few months. Koko also seems to forget how to do his multiplication tables, so we’ll be working harder on those from now on.

Fifi is doing remarkable well and I’m very happy with her progress. She is a perfectionist, so she tends to take longer than necessary on her work for the day. This may become a problem when she is older and her workload increases, but we are working on helping her work through that little issue and she is getting better.

They both seem to rush through reading questions and most of the incorrect answers were purely from not reading the whole question and as a result not understanding what is expected of them.

All in all, I’m very happy with their progress so far and aim to continue doing these assessments with them twice a year for the foreseeable future.

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Lets Get real ~ Homeschooling FAQ

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lets get real

Homeschooling FAQ

I am often questioned at length by non homeschoolers about our homeschooling decision and journey. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions.

1. Why did you decide to homeschool?
When we first started homeschooling, Noo was in grade 1. My initial reason for homeschooling was 2 fold.

1. I had been told by his Grade R (South Africa’s version of Kindregarten) teacher that he works faster than his peers, becomes a disruption when he was done and we will be told that he needs to be medicated when he goes to school to keep him “focussed” and easier to control by the teacher. This horrified me, instead of giving him more work, or work that was more difficult for him, his teacher was telling me that he would need to be medicated to, essentially, dumb him down to the level of his peers. This was a major red flag to me.

2. Noo has Hirschprungs Disease and for a long time, he wasn’t coping well with it. Keeping him home till he had it under control was a huge contributing factor for me. He started going to public school in 2012 and transitioned well.

We have since decided that homeschooling works for our family and will continue doing so for the foreseen future. We have no plans on sending the younger three children to school at the moment. I am not anti-school, I am pro what is best for my family and we firmly believe that homeschooling is best for us right now.

2. You must have the patience of a saint?
Uh, no. I, quite honestly, don’t have that much patience. What homeschooling has taught me, is how to work through my frustrations and to teach each of my children in the way they respond best. Routine keeps me sane.

3. Don’t you ever get tired of your children?
I don’t think “getting tired of my children” is the correct phrase. Yes, I do take a break, yes I do need some me-time. I am fortunate enough to have an amazing husband who stands by my side and gives me breaks over weekends. Though, I’ll be honest, the first time I went out by myself, I had no idea what to do. I am slowly learning to go out by myself and enjoy my own time. Its hard, I’ve always had a child with me over the last 8 years, so I’ve never been 100 % alone (my own choice, not hubby’s).

4. What about socialization?
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This is, by far, the most asked (and hated) question. I have yet to have a conversation with a non homeschooler without this question being asked. What amuses me the most is that this question is always asked while we are at an extra mural. Fifi and Pixie dance 3 days a week (between the two of them), Fifi’s best friend does acro with her, so she sees her friend at least twice a week. Koko is a Cub Scout and avid soccer player, so sees his friends at least twice a week (this is not counting the friends he has at dancing and swimming). Their friends are not all their age, they have friends who are both younger and older than them. As a matter of fact, because of Koko’s interests, his friends are mostly older than him.
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5. Aren’t you worried that your children will be ostracised by society?
Absolutely not. I have yet to have a negative response to the knowledge that we homeschool. People often comment that we don’t “look like homeschoolers.” I have yet to figure out exactly what that means.

6. Do you homeschool for religious reasons?
No. Though we are Christians, we believe that there should be a separation of church and state. Our views are not generally accepted by our peers.

7. Is homeschooling legal in South Africa?
Yes, you can read more on the laws regarding homeschool registration HERE.

8. When will your children be going to school?
At this point in time, the children will not be going to school. We plan on homeschooling through to high school. Should our situation change, then we’ll revisit our decision.

9. Is homeschooling cheaper than sending your child to school?
It depends on the school. Homeschooling is not cheaper than public schooling. All Noo’s extra murals and classes are included in the monthly school fees. Homeschooling is, however, cheaper than private school. My children participate in many extra murals and we regularly go on outings which are not free. You can homeschool frugally, there are so many free resources available online.

10. How do you decide what to teach your children?
When we first started homeschooling, we used the boxed curriculum that came with all the books and subjects we needed for the year. We have since changed what we use because the curriculum was lacking and we now use a combination of different curricula to make up our own curriculum. You can read more about our curriculum choices HERE.

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