Homeschool Evaluation: Did We Finish Fourth Grade?

by Christine - From Dates to Diapers on March 28, 2009

This is a guest post from Renae Deckard, a fellow home educator and mother of three. You can find Renee and her reflections on family life, biblical principles, and home education at Life Nurturing Education. Enjoy!

school-booksOur homeschool is on break this month so students and teacher can enjoy the refreshing spring. I plan next month wondering if fourth grade was really finished. The shelves crammed with curriculum stare at me. Bookmarks peek out in various places, and I question our accomplishments. Maybe my son would learn more in a traditional school.

This springtime angst is not something only I feel. Many are looking back over the year evaluating lessons. Did the facts get memorized? Are the children at grade level? What if they are behind? Yet I wonder if these are the right questions.

My tendency is to equate education with finishing curriculum and knowing trivia. But where does that idea originate? Maybe it goes back to my education and coloring in all those bubbles with a #2 yellow painted pencil. Or maybe it’s my own pride. I want the best for my children, but can I provide it? Wherever it comes from, it is not helpful. It feeds my fear. If fourth grade means doing every lesson dictated by pressure of my own choosing or of the public school’s making, I failed; we failed.

The only curriculum my son finished completely was math, but what an accomplishment! He has gone from hating math to liking it. By persevering, he understands. The cracked foundation repaired. Such improvement will show on a test, but the internal motivation is not measured on paper. It will reveal itself the next time my son faces something difficult to understand. He has a reference that cannot be taken from him.

Knowledge needs wisdom to build a solid dwelling and that cannot be assigned to age or grade. If the foundation is strong, if the bricks are laid one at a time, holes will be plastered as they appear.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

A Cowboy's Wife March 30, 2009 at 5:29 am

Kudos to people who homeschool. Not only do I NOT have the patience, I don’t have the education behind me even if I wanted to.

Great post! Just stopping by to say howdy:)

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kristin March 30, 2009 at 11:54 pm

whoa! What an inspirational post. I know I’m not in the forth grade but this rings so true.

Knowledge is wonderful!

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Renae April 1, 2009 at 1:09 pm

@A Cowboy’s Wife,

Thank you for leaving a comment.

I don’t think it requires any more patience to homeschool than it does to be a parent, but I hear that a lot. ;) Of course, you have to evaluate what is best for your family and choose accordingly. I would never say that everyone should homeschool.

And one of my favorite things about homeschooling is learning right alongside my kids. :D

@Kristin,

Thank you. We’ll continue learning our whole life no matter what age or “grade” we’re in.

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Kiva, Farmstead Lady April 8, 2009 at 1:28 pm

Great post and I often feel the same way during this period of coming to the *close* of the year and preparing for our eval with the school system. Did they really learn enough? Hmmm, didn’t finish history, what about health…does running around outside truly count as gym. ;-) Thanks for sharing, found it via twitter.

Peace and Blessings,

Kiva

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