Evaluations


PA Law requires each homeschooled student to have an evaluation with a certified teacher (or other specified people) at the end of each school year.

WHAT SHOULD I DO BEFORE I START HOMESCHOOLING?

At the beginning of the school year or before withdrawing your child from school to start homeschooling, submit one notarized affidavit per family and a set of educational objectives for each child to the school district. I highly recommend either sending this certified mail, receipt requested, or if you deliver it in person, have the person to whom you hand it sign a receipt, so you have proof you submitted it.

  • The law only requires you to identify your child's age, NOT grade.
  • The law does NOT require you to submit a copy of your high school diploma! You attest on the notarized affidavit that you have one, and that is "evidence thereof."
  • Usually the first year a child is added to the affidavit, parents also submit evidence of immunizations OR a letter of religious exemption.
  • See our Handouts and Forms page for a downloadable affidavit.
  • See our Handouts and Forms page for a sample objectives, both elementary and high school.
  • See our Handouts and Forms page for a sample receipt to take with you to be signed.

HOW MANY SAMPLES OF WORK SHOULD I SAVE FOR THE PORTFOLIO?

Throughout the year, collect samples of the child's work, to be included in the end-of-the-year portfolio.

I like to see a minimum of 2 but preferably 3 samples of work per subject: something from the beginning of the year, the middle of the year and the end of the year. I particularly like to notice samples of the student's writing/composition, since too often that is neglected.

WHAT ABOUT SUBJECTS THAT DO NOT HAVE ANY SAMPLES OF WORK?

For subjects that do not use a textbook, I suggest writing a brief summary or even including pictures. Make your portfolio a yearbook for your family's memories! Celebrate.

If I do not see samples or anything in the log addressing a required subject, I will ask about it during the interview, so it will be covered.

WHAT DOES THE LAW SAY ABOUT KEEPING A LOG?

Throughout the year, keep a log "made contemporaneously" with instruction, designating by title reading materials used" to be included in the end-of-the-year portfolio. The law does not specify style of log, and I have seen many styles. I recommend finding something that helps your school/family/life flow smoothly and does not add an inordinate amount of stress.

  • Made contemporaneously means kept throughout the year, not created the night before the evaluation. I love to see spaghetti stains and baby scribbles on the Log!
  • I kept a lesson plan book for me and each weekend set out what I planned for the following week. That turned into my log. I learned to use pencil, because I knew things would change! I put an empty circle at the top of each day and later filled it in with a number indicating which school day it was (out of 180) or how many hours I was counting, so I could keep a running total. The law allows you to log by days (180) OR hours (900 for elementary/990 for secondary - grade 7 and up); you do not need to do both.
  • Other people use a check list. (See sample on our Handouts and Forms page.)
  • Others simply number a notebook paper from 1-180 and add one title of something read that day to meet the minimum of the law.

WHAT ABOUT THE BOOK LIST?

Designating by title reading materials used... means somewhere in the portfolio I need to see titles of some books the child has read.

  • It can be scattered throughout the log.
  • It can be a book list.
  • It can be in book reports.
  • It can be a list of curriculum, but that is not required by the law.

HOW LONG DOES THE EVALUATION TAKE?

Most evaluations take 1 hour per family, perhaps longer with high school students or extra-large families.

WHAT DO WE DO DURING AN EVALUATION?

For evaluations, I meet with the student/s and the supervisor/parent. I follow the specifics of the law. My job is to "review the portfolio" and "interview the student." I must "certify that an appropriate education is taking place." The state defines appropriate as time required, subjects required, and evidence of sustained progress in the overall program.

When I review the portfolio, I am looking for evidence of progress in the overall program and evidence that each subject required by law is included somewhere in the program.

The law is not specific about how to interview the student, so for the whole evaluation I take the approach of celebrating what the family has accomplished throughout the year. Typical questions are: What was your favorite part about school? What was your favorite book? Did you do any fieldtrips? What do you remember most? I do not take a critical approach.

WHAT ABOUT THE EVALUATOR'S REPORT?

I complete a simple checklist, that I compiled by extrapolating all the important terminology from the law.

For high school evaluations for students enrolled in one of the optional diploma programs, I complete a written narrative report and a transcript of credits earned. (See our Graduation Guidance page for more information)

I hand the report to you, and you make a copy and submit one copy of my report to the school district. You do not submit your portfolio or your test results.

WHERE DO THE EVALUATIONS TAKE PLACE?

I generally do evaluations in my home in Bloomsburg, PA. However, I am willing to travel if there are enough families to justify the distance.

Sometimes I do evaluations at satellite locations when a hostess opens her home and coordinates the day's schedule for multiple families. A drive longer than 2 hours would require 2 full evaluation days. For more information about hosting a day, go to our contact page, and under the Subject options, choose "Info on hosting a satellite day" and in your message specify this is for evaluations.

FEES:

Short form evaluation: $25 per child.

Diploma Program evaluation: $60 ($10 discount with  the credit sheet I designed for your diploma program filled out in detail - see Handouts and Forms Page).

I'd love to hear from you. You can email me, find me on Facebook, call or text me at 570-861-5681.