Tracking and celebrating success is really important in homeschool. After all, you’re taking on a lot of responsibility, and you want to know your hard work is paying off.
Equally, though, monitoring your child’s development allows you to get a big-picture view of how they’re progressing — you can quickly spot any weak points or areas that need improvement.
In fact, homeschool evaluation is so important that some states make it a legal requirement, and that’s where your homeschool progress report comes in. Here’s how (and why) to create a homeschool progress report, and what to write in it.
What is a homeschool progress report?
Essentially, a progress report is an annual summary of how your child is performing in their education. Traditionally, these documents are created by school teachers and passed onto parents to share successes and shortfalls.
For homeschoolers, they are just as important — if not more! Some US states, like Pennsylvania, require you to file and submit a progress report to be regulated. While others, e.g. Georgia, simply ask you to write one for yourself and keep it stored for three years.
(Not sure if your state requires a homeschool progress report? Check here.)
Why is a progress report so important?
Staying on the right side of the law is just one reason to prioritize homeschool reporting. And even if you don’t have to complete one, you should.
A homeschool progress report helps you to:
- Measure success – It’s a great summary of how far your child has come and the key milestones they’ve reached throughout the year.
- Create engaging lesson plans – Looking at the annual report, you can quickly recognize which subjects your child is strong in, and where they’re a little less confident. Has your child excelled in science-based subjects, but their handwriting is weak for their age? You can turn this ‘weakness’ into an opportunity, and set them space themed writing exercises, for example.
- Give feedback – As a homeschool parent, it can sometimes feel uncomfortable to discuss areas for improvement with your child. For your kid, as well, it can be hurtful to think that Mom and/or Dad are ‘disappointed’ in them. A homeschool progress report helps remove some of that emotion, with a clear illustration of what’s going well — and what isn’t — laid out in black and white.
- Mark the end of the school year – Finishing a school year is a great milestone, but it’s one that’s easily ‘missed’ in homeschool. The annual report can be an excellent way to tie the year up — creating a mental ‘end’ date and helping you refresh and unwind before the next school year starts.
- Remember your time together – Reports also capture the quality time you’ve spent as student and teacher. As any parent knows, time seems to speed up when you have kids — your homeschool report will be a lovely way to look back in a few year’s time.
5 tips to write a detailed homeschool progress report
Still not sure where to start? No problem. Here are our top tips…
#1 The more detail the better
When it comes to homeschool reporting, the more effort you put in, the more insight you get back.
Your annual report could look at:
- Benchmarks/goals you’ve set for each subject, and whether or not they were achieved
- Any milestones or specific achievements for each subject
- Grades and/or test scores
- Strengths and ‘things to improve’ for each subject
- Field trips or excursions you went on
- Any volunteering, extra-curricular, or even work experience conducted
- Resources that you used and found worked well
- Specific activities they enjoyed, as well gold-standard output, like worksheets
#2 Use a framework for self-assessment
Self-assessment is an awesome way for your child to look back on the whole year and highlight what they think they’ve accomplished. It also helps them practice critical thinking and see their work from a new perspective — two excellent skills for adulthood.
Ask your student to write down their own thoughts about how the school year went — what they enjoyed, what they didn’t, where they think they developed, and any areas they aren’t sure on. Then, make sure you take time to sit down and discuss the report together, to make plans for the year ahead.
#3 Create a template
Once you’ve found an approach that works for you, you can simply roll it out every year. With a simple Google search, you can find a progress report template that works for you that you simply file on your computer.
Having a set structure also makes it easier when you’re comparing reports in the future, as everything is framed in the same way.
#4 Ask for feedback
In ‘traditional’ schools, teachers have their performance measured, too. And while you don’t have a homeschool headteacher or boss to answer to, you still need to make sure your student is happy with your input!
Ask them: what did they think of the curriculum for the year? What would they like to see more of? What kind of improvements would they like to see?
The more involved your child is in the process, the more engaged they will be in their homeschooling.
#5 It’s okay to be personal
Your homeschool progress report doesn’t have to be a robotic box-ticking exercise. You can be far more narrative in your approach if that’s how you’d prefer to track their progress.
Of course, state-regulated reports will need the core information as requested. But, outside of that, you’re free to do what you like!
In fact, journal-style reports can often give a greater indication of progress than numerical grades — particularly if you’re trying to make sense of a slipped grade or drop in performance. And that’s something traditional schooling doesn’t always get insight on.
The homeschool progress report: a chance to grow together
Leading your child’s education is difficult. And being critical of your ‘student’ is often even harder. But homeschool reporting doesn’t have to be daunting.
Make reports a special, yearly event — one that’s an essential, and valued, part of your learning process. When done right, these documents can empower both you and your child to be actively involved in, and improve on, your homeschooling journey.
Link/cite this page
If you reference any of the content on this page on your own website, please use the code below to cite this page as the original source.
Link will appear as 5 Tips to Write Detailed Homeschool Progress Report: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, June 19, 2020