When teaching in public school my heart would swell when I saw a child make progress in any given area. For some children this progress was quick and they hit a multitude of milestones but for others it was more of an uphill battle and their strides were not quite as long. Their strides were just as powerful and heartwarming and I was so thankful to be a part of shaping all of my student's minds.
When I left the classroom I taught for a homeschool co-op still feeding that teaching passion and watching children grow and then I began evaluating homeschoolers in my home state (Virginia). The same heartwarming feeling came with each evaluation session.
When I evaluate I am able to assess the progress of each child and then (the best part) I can commend them on their success. The look on a child's face when they receive praise and affirmation is beautiful. A child needs to own their education and know where their strengths and struggles lie. This is a life skill and learning it as a child will serve them well as an adult. Goal creation with a child (especially in third grade and above) is a favorite portion of evaluations for me. It is always good to have something to work toward, while celebrating how far you've come.
An unexpected moment that has come out of my evaluation sessions is also addressing the parent(s) involved in their child's homeschooling. As moms (and dads), we tend to sell ourselves short. We feel we are never truly doing enough and that we may not merry all of our child needs. In my experience 99% of homeschooling parents do not realize what a phenomenal job they are doing.
I am often asked by parents if they have used the "right" curriculum, or what other options are out there or if they checked enough boxes in comparison to the state expectations. In response, I do two things, one before and one during evaluations. Before, I ask for them to compile lists of activities, curriculum, etc. (not all do this but many do) and during evaluations I take notes. I then am able to reiterate the accomplishments they have made as a family throughout the school year. I find it shows parents how far they have come and how much they have covered in a given year. It is like anything, sometimes it takes another person to point out the good. It is such a joy to encourage not only children but their parents as well.
A bonus for me (well my husband would completely disagree based on my purchases) is the ability to see curriculum from a wide variety of teaching methodologies. The teacher (and former curriculum curator) in me loves all things curriculum: books, workbooks, units, hands-on activities, videos, internet resources. You name it - I want to research it. This not only broadens my homeschooling mindset but it also helps me to steer others in a direction that may work for their family. I do not know every curriculum (unless you are Cathy Duffy it just isn't possible) but it helps to have a tool kit to pull from for families who need a change.
This year my evaluations filled up much quicker than I anticipated. Next year dates for evaluations will open in late February. I will schedule in person evaluations for co-ops and large families. Zoom evaluations will be available to all clients across Virginia. I cannot wait to see what your family accomplishes over the next year.