Tag Archive | Homeschool

Homeschool Assessment Options

Wow! How did that happen? 2021 is here and before you know it, school will be ending. If you are new to homeschooling, I wanted to let you know you have a few options for having your child assessed. These assessments only apply if you are going to continue to homeschool for the 2021-22 school year. Otherwise, you just enroll your child for the coming school year.

If you are going to homeschool for the 2021-2022 academic year then you may choose one (or more) of these options. Some families choose to do testing and a Written Narrative. Why? Because they want to see where their student is ranked nationally for their own knowledge, but don’t want to turn in the results and turn in the Written Narrative instead.

** Option 1: Testing with a nationally normed test (IOWA Test of Basic Skills, Stanford, or the California Achievement Test are those that are typically used). You can fill out this form and submit it with the Ohio Home Education Notification Form. Option 1 Link

** Option 2: Portfolio Review/Written Narrative It is referred to by several names, but they all mean the same thing. What is this exactly? A licensed or certified teacher, holding a valid Ohio teaching certificate reviews samples of your child’s academic work that you supply. The teacher reviews the work and signs a form that states your child has progressed in accordance with his/her abilities. Each assessor is a bit different in what they would like to see with regard to your child’s work. As an assessor, I like to see a sample of the beginning, middle, and end of the year in each subject area. This gives me an overview of your school year. Here is the form you need to have signed for this option. Option 2 Link This form is submitted with the Ohio Home Education Notification Form.

** Option 3: An alternative academic assessment of the child’s proficiency mutually agreed upon by the parent and the superintendent. I don’t know many families who choose this option, but what I have heard done is if you know someone who holds a teaching license from a different state and you want them to assess your child, you can use this option. Or, if you are an Ohio licensed teacher and want to submit a written narrative of your student’s work you can as the superintendent if that is acceptable. I personally just had someone else do the assessment since it was good to have another teacher’s thoughts.

Speaking of Written Narrative assessments, I will begin reviewing students’ work in March and will finish in August. I will have more information on how to submit paperwork, pricing, etc. The first week of February I will have my annual portfolio review giveaway so be sure to enter for a chance to win.

Have a great week! ~Lisa~

6 Things to know about Portfolio Reviews

A portfolio review, also known as a written narrative, is one option to meet the homeschool requirements in Ohio. As the end of the school year approaches, I have families contact me about what a portfolio review entails. Below you will find six questions that I am asked frequently by homeschool families.

1.Does a state certified teacher need to look at my child’s work? Yes, this is one of the requirements and the teacher must be licensed in Ohio, not another state.

2. What is the assessor looking for when they review my student’s work? They are looking to see that progress has been made for the academic work that is in accordance with their abilities. No other test is given nor is your child compared to other students.

3. What subjects will I need to show samples of to the assessor?  The following are requirements that the state says we must cover each year according to the Home Education Notification Form.

  • Language Arts
  • Mathematics
  • Social studies
  • Science
  • Heath
  • Fine Arts (music, art)
  • Health
  • First Aid, Safety, Fire Prevention

4. What kinds of work samples do I include for a written narrative? Here are some ways that you can document work that has been completed:

  • Workbooks or workbook pages
  • Projects- Whether that is for science, social studies, art,etc.,  these would all be acceptable for samples. If projects are too large to take with you to your appointment, you can always take photos of what your student has done to show your assessor.
  • Writing samples of your pupil help the teacher see the progress that has been made throughout the year in the area of language arts. Cards, journal entries, poems, reports, outlines and essays are all considered examples of writing for language arts. If your little one is just beginning to write, then show samples of letter formation and printing.
  • Reading lists of book titles help a teacher to see the progress that has been made if you have an early reader (grades K-3).  If you don’t have a complete list, that is fine, just write ten titles of books that have been read from the beginning of the year to the end. For instance, they began with Bob Books and are now reading easy readers. What level are they currently reading and can you list several titles?
  • Field trips are great ways to show fine arts, science and social studies because many of the places visited are related in some aspect to these academic areas. You can include the program from the play you saw, a map of the zoo, or pictures of the activity your child was participating in when you went to the museum or attended a community program.

5. We did quite a bit of our schoolwork orally, how do I show that? You can write a list of what topics you studied and how you determined  understanding/ mastery of what you taught. If you use a whiteboard for school, take some pictures of the work so you have documentation to show.

6. We use a curriculum that is on the computer, how do I show my student’s progress? Can you print off grades or did your student receive a certificate of accomplishment for the course or activity? This will show that your child has completed the work.

Do you have a question that I didn’t address about portfolio reviews? Please write a comment and I will be glad to answer it.

If you are in need of an assessor, I will be happy to review your student’s work. Please email me, schoolmarmohio@me.com  so we can set up an appointment. If you do not live in Greater Cincinnati, I can still meet with you via Skype. Just let me know you are in need of this option. 



Carpe Diem: 7 Ideas to Find Joy in your Home School Day

imgresThis is a Latin phrase that means enjoy the moment or seize the day. So, what are you doing to find joy in your homeschool day? Might I suggest a few ideas?

  1. Cook together. How about finding a simple recipe that your children can do with you? Here are easy recipes to make with your children. CLICK HERE 
  2. School in your pajamas. Maybe you already do this, but our regular routine was to get dressed first. The boys thought it was a treat if they were allowed to wear their pajamas to class.
  3. Start school with art or a physical activity.
  4. Take an impromptu field trip. One time we were studying about caves and I decided to take the boys to see a real cave- 2+ hours away. 🙂 You can certainly do something closer to home!
  5. Let the children decide in which order they want to do their school work for the day. It’s nice to let the children have a say- so in school matters when they can.
  6. Read a favorite book aloud or start a new book that you have wanted to read. Here are some ideas: Stuart Little, Little House on the Prairie, Charlotte’s Web, Caddie Woodlawn, Ramona Quimby, The Magician’s Nephew
  7. Have a SSR (Sustained Silent Reading) time. Everyone grabs a book and reads for  30 minutes- you too! This is a great time to get a little of your own personal reading in and instills the habit of independent reading. The great thing about this is that you can count it for language arts.

Carpe diem to all of you!

Play Ball! (translated: Go Outside and Exercise!)

1195445636200577762johnny_automatic_playing_ball.svg.medToday is Opening Day for the Cincinnati Reds and is a big deal to the city. There is a parade, former players come back to see the game and be involved in festivities, and some parents take their kids out of school to attend the game and be a part of the fun.  Opening day always signals the beginning of Spring to me. We are finally seeing glimpses of that season and I am happy to see the temperatures are going to be in the 60’s after seeing cold temperatures and snow for many, many months.

How about celebrating Spring by going outside and playing some ball? Maybe you don’t have enough children for a baseball team, but all sorts of other games can be played involving balls.

Ball Games to Play

Volleyball This may be difficult to play unless you invite some friends over and you have a volleyball net, but you can play a variation of the game. Draw a line on the sidewalk and see how many times the ball can be hit in the air from one side to the other without it falling to the ground. A point is scored when the opponent cannot return the ball or steps over the line, or the ball goes out-of-bounds.

Catch Just toss a ball back and forth. You only need two people to play this game, which is great if you have an only child.  Have your child count how many times s/he is able to catch it. An added bonus is that you can include math in there too!

Pickle A variation of catch, but is played with three people. One person is in the middle and tries to intercept the ball as it is being tossed back and forth by the other two players. You can keep score by seeing ho many times each person intercepts the ball if you want.

Two Square You can use the sidewalk as a dividing line or you can draw your own square on the driveway. The idea is to stand parallel to the line and drop a large rubber ball on the ground and then hit it to your opponent. If the other person doesn’t hit it on the first bounce, you get a point. The first one to 10 (or what number you decide), wins. Did you know you can even purchase a ball that is perfect for that activity? It is called a playground ball.

Four Square This is a variation of Two Square and you can bounce the ball is any of the other squares. This makes the game a bit livelier, since you have to keep alert. You can do “dropsies” where you get low to the ground and drop the ball in the opponent’s square.  You can also bounce it really high, trying to bounce the ball in the other person’s square and not giving them an opportunity to hit it before it goes out-of-bounds. Your opponent cannot catch the ball, but must hit it with their hand. Make up your own variations and moves with the game. Maybe the players have to hit it with their elbows instead of their hands.

Tennis If you don’t have a tennis court nearby, play driveway tennis.

Relay Races Why not use a baseball or a tennis ball and have the children balance the ball on the top of their shoe? The first player who completes an up and back lap wins. You can also have the players bounce a ball up and back, the winner is the one who crosses the line first.

Dodge Ball This is not one of my favorites because it seems like someone usually gets hurt, but if you monitor how hard the ball can be thrown, the kids love playing. Decide on boundaries before beginning as anyone who steps/runs out of the boundary sit sour until the game is finished. One person is the thrower and the other players attempt to dodge the ball until there is only one player left. The player who is left is the person who gets to throw the ball the next time.

Kickball This is played just like baseball, but you play with a larger ball and kick it instead of hitting the ball. This can be modified if you do not have many people to play.

Get out there and enjoy the weather! You will not only have fun, but the children are having physical education and you can burn off some extra calories too if you join in the fun!



New! Extra Curricular and Fine Arts Programs

I recently learned about some new programs beginning this fall in the Tri-state area.

 Encore Performing Arts School

Location: Bypass 4 and Tylersville.

Open house on August 21st.

Website encoredancecenter.org

Classes are on Tuesdays, beginning September 3rd:

12:45 – 1:30 Newborn Kindermusik
1:30 – 2:15 Preschool Kindermusik

1:00 – 2:30 Homeschool Musical Theater – open to grades 1st – 12th
2:30 – 3:30 K-4th Grade Homeschool Worship Choir
3:30 – 4:30 5th – 9th Grade Homeschool Worship Team

12:30 – 1:00 Elementary/Intermediate Ballet
1:00 – 1:30 Elementary/Intermediate Jazz
1:30 – 2:30 Ballet I/II
2:30 – 3:30 Lyrical/Jazz Combo I/II
3:30 – 4:00 Preschool Ballet

There are discounts offered for each additional class or sibling.

The YMCA is offering Gym and Swim programs this year with the Fitton Center YMCA program being  twice a week. Other YMCA’s that offer classes, but are once a week are: East Butler, Fairfield, Countryside, and Powel Crosley, Jr. If you do not live in Cincinnati or I didn’t mention the Y close to your house,  contact your local YMCA and 1) see if they have a homeschool program, or  2) see if they can begin a program for you. This actually began over 15 years ago as a result of a friend of mine asking the Y if they could have something for homeschool students.

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