When I first started homeschooling I was asked by many people (including my husband!), “How will you know how your kids are doing? How will you know if they “measure up”?” Hmmmm….I have to admit, this was a question that sort of stumped me. I mean, as a mom, I think I just KNOW if my kids are getting something or if they aren’t! It was the same in my classroom, I didn’t need a formal test to tell me if my students were understanding something, I could tell by their questions, conversations, and even sometimes, the look on their faces!! Still, it seemed to me like people need more of a concrete answer, so I gave it some thought and this is what I came up with.
I know my kids are succeeding when they can do math and get the answers right without asking for my help. I know they are understanding when they can narrate what they have read and they hit all the important points. I know from the questions they ask me if something is confusing to them. I can tell from our conversations if there is a concept I need to review with them, or if I need to push them to go deeper with that concept. I can compare samples of their writing after each quarter of the year and see where they have (or have not) grown. And yes, I can also do testing, which we do once a year. I don’t use these scores to measure definitive success for our homeschool. Instead, I see them as a “jumping off point”. I do compare scores from year to year to look for growth, but I also compare the scores against what I have seen in their work , to get a bigger overall picture of where we are at. Most of the time, the test scores confirm what I already know. I do use them to help identify areas I want to work on for the next year, but they are not the be all and end all of our homeschool success by any means!
There are a few more important ways I tend to measure success. Of course I want my boys to grow academically, but to me, it is so much more important that they grow in their character. Each year my goal is for my children to deepen their relationship with the Lord, to mature in their relationship with each other. As they grow older, I want to see them make God-honoring choices in their lives, and grow to be men who know and walk in His way. This is a little harder to measure, as there is no written test for it!! I guess I could say I feel we are successful when I see my boys reading their Bibles and keeping their own prayer journals. When they make decisions that reflect what they have read in the Bible, it makes me happy. When I see them volunteering in church, and helping others, I think we are being successful. Of course, a personal relationship with God is one both of my children have to choose, and I know my husband and I can do all the right things to set them up for that, but ultimately, it is their decision. For now, we just try to encourage their relationship with Him and pray that He will lead us in raising Godly men. If we do that, than I will say we have been successful!