Tips for a Written Evaluation by the Parent
According to the Chapter 12 Rule Compulsory Attendance Exceptions, parents are required to submit an annual report of the child’s progress. One option is a written evaluation by the parent. Here are some tips that you may find helpful; this information should not be considered legal advice.
Know the Rule
Chapter 12 Compulsory Attendance Exceptions
Section 8-12-15 Record of curriculum
(3) The subject areas to be covered in the planned curriculum:
- An elementary school curriculum may include the areas of language arts, mathematics, social studies, science, art, music, health, and physical education
- A secondary school curriculum may include the subject areas of social studies, English, mathematics, science, health, physical education, and guidance.
Section 2-18 Testing and progress reports of homeschooled children
(4) A written evaluation by the parent which shall include:
(A) A description of the child’s progress in each subject area included in the child’s curriculum;
(B) Representative samples of the child’s work;
(C) Representative tests and assignments including grades for courses if grades are given.
Begin with prayer.
The school year is drawing to a close. Thank the Lord for His goodness and faithfulness to you in what has been accomplished for His glory. Ask Him to help you accurately evaluate what your child has learned this school year.
Prose or Outline?
Hawaii’s homeschool law does not give specifics on how the report is to be written. You can therefore provide the information in prose form or outline form. An advantage of an outline is that the information is easily readable. You do not have to worry too much about grammar and sentence structure.
The law does not give specifics on the length of the evaluation. For each subject area, consider describing 4-6 skills learned. That said, you should be able to describe your child’s progress for all subject areas taught in 1 -2 pages, depending on your child’s grade level. You want to be clear, accurate, and concise.
What to include
Use the goals from your curriculum. Goals can easily be determined if you are using a textbook, e.g. for math or science. The table of contents of the text is very helpful! Some chapters in textbooks also provide the learning objective for the chapter.
If you need help, with skill objectives for each grade in the different subject areas, consider these resources:
- What Your ______ Grader Should Know; part of The Core Knowledge Series by Dr. E.D. Hirsch Jr.
- What Your Child Needs to Know When (Robin Sampson);
- Hewitt Homeschooling Resources: Learning Objectives for Grades K-8;
downloadable free from //hewittlearning.org/store/
Select key or major skills/concepts. For example, in language arts, depending on the grade of the child, you may want to describe progress in reading, language mechanics, spelling, listening and comprehension. Key areas for math may include operations, measurement (including time, and money), problem solving, and graphs and charts.
Also consider the sequence of learning. Keep in mind the end product goal rather than a series of incremental steps. A child learns to add two digit numbers without regrouping before adding two digit numbers with regrouping. It make sense, then, if the child has mastered the latter, you need not include the earlier skill in the report.
Because this is a progress report, be sure to describe your child’s progress or skill. Avoid statements such as “Sue was introduced to reading.” or “Johnny learned to write.” These statements do not describe a skill. Instead …
“Johnny writes complete sentences with a subject and verb using correct capitalization and punctuation.”
- This statement more clearly describes Johnny’s writing skills.
Here are some helpful terms to describe progress
- Reads short vowel words
- Recalls details of a story to answer who, what, where, when questions
- Identifies prepositional phrases in a sentence
- Other terms – alphabetize, spell, use, compare/contrast, define
Social studies and Science
- Consider listing units or areas of study and then state what the child learned
- Recites the names of the states and their capital cities
- Describes the water cycle
- Lists the characteristics of a mammal
- Other terms – demonstrate, identify, compare/contrast, explain, classify
- Describe the skill level
- Skip counts by 2, 3, 5, and 10
- Tells time to the half hour
- Constructs a graph
- Other terms – identify, solve, regroup, multiply, divide, measure
Work samples and Tests
Per Chapter 12 rule, you must include representative samples of the child’s work and representative tests and assignments including grades for courses if grades are given.
For each subject area, you could include a beginning of the year and end of the year assignment, e.g. a math page or a writing sample to show progress over the school year. Or just make a copy of the final exam for a subject.
It is a good idea to ask a friend to proofread your written evaluation for clarity, spelling, and grammar.
Include a cover letter identifying your child: name, address, phone number, date of birth, grade, school year. Indicate the grade for the next school year.
Remember to include a statement requesting all communication be done in writing.
Send the report to the school certified return receipt requested to insure the school has received the report.
Writing an evaluation does not have to be difficult or time consuming. It may be appropriate or even necessary sometimes. May the Lord bless and direct your efforts.