Homeschool Assessments: Begin Now

Organizing Papers

When you read the title of this post you might have thought, “Wow, Lisa! School just began and you are already talking about next year’s assessment. Aren’t you way too early to be talking about this?” Actually, now is the perfect time to establish a habit that will be easy to implement. This will make the portfolio review process sooo easy when you have to provide documentation of what your child(ren) did this year. I am going to give several ideas of things you can do and you can choose what works best for your family, or do something totally different. I just wanted to get some creative/organization juices flowing today. 🙂

Organization: There are as many ways to organize your student(s) work as I think there are I am listing the most popular ideas I have seen. If you have another idea, please share in the comments. I’d love to hear what you do and someone else could benefit from your suggestion. Binders, accordion pleated file, a plastic bin with hanging folders, an electronic file, a private Facebook group, short videos, screenshots of online classes, and pictures all help organize schoolwork.

Monthly/ Quarterly: Choose one paper from each subject that you would like to share and file it to whatever organizational means you have chosen. It would be helpful if you have the date on the paper, but it is not vital. For example, if you are going to choose to use an electronic file, create a folder, snap a picture of the work, upload it, and waa-laa; you are done! If there isn’t paperwork then snap a photo of the experiment you did or write a brief description. It is much easier to document as you go rather than waiting until April. Of course, you can do that too if that works better for you.

What does next year look like for assessments? If I were able to predict the future, I’d be rich, right? My best guesstimate is that students will need to have an assessment at the end of the year, whether that be testing or a written narrative/portfolio review/teacher assessment (interchangeable names). I will continue to do assessments and am looking forward to serving you.

Have a great week! ~Lisa~

What About Socialization? Ways to Keep Connected

The old question when you say you are going to homeschool, “What about socialization?” hasn’t really been asked too much in the past year, has it? Homeschooling can be isolating and finding ways to be connected can be a bit difficult. But, there are activities you can have your child(ren) engaged in that would be fun and an opportunity to be with other children and make friends.

Local sports organizations– Does your community have a soccer (or another sport) team? Not only does this provide a connection with other children, but also some exercise (PE requirement met!).

Play Dates- Do you know of another homeschool family that you can meet? Let the kids run around in the back yard or meet at a park. If you don’t have another homeschool family, what about a cousin or a former classmate, someone from church? If you don’t know other homeschool families in the area, how about asking your neighbors or putting a notice in the library? Something like, Play in the Park- Looking for some local homeschool families to meet. If interested in meeting, come to _____ park on __date__ at __time__. Or have them text you if you feel comfortable in doing this. If you have no one show up, try again. Sometimes it takes a while to get things going.

Church Activities- Many churches have programs such as AWANAS or children’s programs and youth groups. It takes some concerted effort to meet people, but lifetime friendships can be developed by attending regular events.

Co-ops If you haven’t joined a co-op you may want to consider doing that since most meet weekly. Not only does your child meet new friends, but you do too!

Library/Local Programs- My boys attended library programs, nature walks, etc., and we met some of the families at a park on occasion. I know I could have furthered these relationships if I wanted, but I had several other things we were were already involved in.

Homeschool Support Group- Do you have a local support group? I found this to be an integral part of our homeschooling and am still involved in our citywide support group, even though my children are grown. I have made many friends and consider this to be a part of my community. If you don’t have a local group, how about starting one? I can help you if you need it, or contact or the Ohio Homeschool Parents Facebook group.

The important thing to remember is, you have to be intentional in finding people, connecting with them and establishing times to get together regularly. I hope you have a great week!


Early Readers for Beginners

Are you as frustrated as I am when it comes to finding books for early readers? I have gone to the library and pulled a foot high stack of books for those students who are just beginning to read and maybe come away with two or three books. What I see happen is that the book starts out with short vowel, easily readable words, only to throw in multisyllable words as the story progresses. Ugh!

I have gone back to the tried and true readers to give students confidence until they can read more words. I also create my own stories and keep them simple. Only two sentences per picture that I find on the internet. I know you don’t necessarily have time to do this yourself, so here are some resources for you.

American Language Series – Fun in the Sun is the first book and is a collection of 53 stories that have simple short vowels. I have like this reader because it gives children lots of practice with this types of words. Children feel successful after reading the stories. You can purchase the books individually or as a set and continue with them after your student has mastered the first book.

All About Reading– This has a collection of twenty stories since they are longer. I like the first three books, beginning with Run, Bug, Run! Children like them too because they feel like they are reading more advanced stories, although they are still working on CVC words (Consonant- Vowel- Consonant)

I love This Reading Mama‘s blog. She has so many free printable resources. I have purchased some of her things as well because she has fun, high quality, research-based products.

Keep on reading! ~Lisa~

Packaged Curriculum Options

Way back in the dinosaur age (just kidding) when I first started homeschooling my sons, there was little to use from when it came to curriculum. Now there is so much from which to choose it can be easily overwhelming.

Here are a few traditional textbook/ curriculum publishers I would recommend you investigate. These have a Christian worldview, with the exception of Timberdoodle, which has religious and nonreligious curriculum choices.

Bob Jones University Press I wanted to list this first since it is not in a package. But, you can easily purchase what you need according to grade level. This is a solid, grade level curriculum for all subjects. It isn’t too advanced or move too quickly, and you can purchase the teacher’s edition for each subject. It reasonably priced and if you are looking to keep the cost down, you can buy used. Just make sure you check to see you are getting everything you need before purchasing.

Sonlight Homeschool Curriculum is well planned and has the option of a four or five day schedule. This is nice because if you decide you want to have a day to go to co-op, go on field trips, etc., You can do that without the dark cloud of dread hanging over your head, thinking you should be home teaching instead.

Masterbooks This is an affordable curriculum package and if you supplement with books from the library in areas pf interest, this will be a solid program. Remember that if your child needs more time spent on a topic, do that because you want understanding before moving on.

Memoria Press If you would like the Highland Latin School experience, but cannot attend for whatever reason, you can purchase the curriculum and do it yourself.

Timberdoodle Company has both Christian and Nonreligious curriculum from which to choose.

Of course, there are many more options, but these are some of the ones that families whom I have done assessments for have used and enjoyed throughout the years.

Have a great week! ~Lisa~

Filling out the Ohio Notification Form

Congratulations! You’ve made the decision to homeschool for this coming year. After you have chosen your curricula you will need to send in your notification form to the superintendent. I am going to walk you through the steps so it won’t seem so overwhelming.

First, go to either CHEO or Ohio Homeschooling Parents Facebook page to get a copy of the notification or Notification of Intent (NOI) form. I will go through this item by item for you.

  1. School year Write just the year you are homeschooling.
  2. Name of parent and address. You can include your telephone number and/or your email address, but it is optional.
  3. Name, address, telephone number (optional)of person(s) who will be teaching the child… This is only if you are having someone who is going to be homeschooling your child other than yourself, such as a grandparent while you are at work. This does not include a weekly co-op class, etc., because you are still responsible to oversee their instruction and are responsible to provide an assessment.
  4. Full name and birthdate of child(ren) to be educated at home. Do not include their grade. Compulsory age is 6 years to 18 years of age. If you have a five year old at the time school begins, do not notify.
  5. Assurance that home education will include the following… Put a check mark here on this line.
  6. Brief outline of the intended curriculum… You will provide an attachment for informational purposes. See example below.
  7. A list of textbooks, correspondence courses… You will provide an attachment for informational purposes. See example below.
  8. Assurance that the child will be provided a minimum of 900 hours… Place a check mark here.
  9. Assurance that the home teacher has one of the following qualifications… Place a check mark here.
  10. The parent shall affirm… sign and date

Some confusion and apprehension occurs for new homeschool families when they see items 5, 6, 7, and 9. Let me assure you that it is not as intimidating as it appears. 🙂

Line 5 is the list of subjects you are going to teach. Do you need a textbook for each subject? No, you can choose to cover these topics in whatever way you wish. You can discuss and practice the following things for health and safety: washing hands, personal care, kitchen safety, basic first aid when accidents occur, wearing bike helmets, watch a documentary of African wildlife, play an educational game, etc.

Line 6 is an informational sheet that you attach with the notification form. Here is an example:

  • Language: Reading from various children’s classics, grammar, spelling, writing on various topics.
  • History & Geography: Reading, maps, and related activities of American historical figures, visiting places and attending special events.
  • Math: Instruction in operations and concepts, word problems.
  • Science: Daily readings, hands-on experiments, and accompanying work in life science.
  • Physical education that includes, but is not limited to, bike riding, swimming, and soccer.
  • Art and music education correlating to the curriculum topics.
  • Health and wellness along with kitchen, fire, first aid, and personal safety.

Line 7 is an informational sheet of the intended curricula you are using. If something does not work, you may switch to find a curriculum or program that is a better fit for your child. You will attach this with the notification form. Here is an example:

  • Language: Book Jones University Press, Handwriting without Tears, Easy Grammar, and Institute for Excellence in Writing, various library books, electronic resources
  • Geography, History- Story of the World, Maps, Charts and Graphs, as well as various library books, Google Maps, field trips, and community programs.
  • Math- Teaching Textbooks
  • Science- Apologia, One Small Square, various library and electronic resources
  • Physical Education: SAY soccer
  • Fine Arts- piano lessons, Outschool art class
  • Health, First Aid, Fire Safety- My Body unit, various community programs

Throughout the year we will employ the use of various electronic and library resources, community events and programs, and field trips in regards to topics being studied.

Line 9 does not state that you need to be using textbooks, sitting at a desk and doing school for 900 hours. It says home education. This can include field trips, helping with the running of the household, making a meal plan, choosing a route for a family road trip, writing a family newsletter, etc.

Have a great week! If you have questions, please leave a comment. ~ Lisa~

Disclaimer: This is not legal advice and should not be taken as such. This has just been my experience and what I have seen similarly from other homeschool families across the state. Should you have any questions of that nature, please contact Home School Legal Defense.