Measuring student learning is an important element of homeschooling. It gives you insights into what your child is doing well, where they are struggling, and opportunities for extended learning. It’s a difficult task for many parents because they’re not sure how to go about doing it. If you’re in that category, don’t worry, you’re not alone!

What’s most important about measuring learning is knowing that it isn’t just about academics – it includes other things like social emotional development, physical and mental health, and even life skills.

One approach to understanding your child is to write down a list of questions you are curious about. Include questions about the whole child, such as their interests, how they interact with peers, and how they struggle through hard tasks. Then, look for things in your homeschooling routine that you can use. Examples abound – from learning goals you set with your child to online reports provided in the Time4Learning parent account. Check out the following ideas. Likely, you are already familiar with some of them!

Informal Ways to Measure Student Learning

Homeschooling families often use casual ways to measure student learning because they are tailored to each child and can give parents real-time information. Often they are used during learning.

Use Learning Goals

Parents and children often set learning goals at the beginning of a school year. They focus on things like academics, behavior, and even life skills. The goals can be things like earn at least 80% on every test or take a new elective. It might even be a family goal, like learning to play an instrument together.

How to Monitor During the Year

Every couple of months, sit down and review the goals with your child. Have your child share their thoughts about how they are doing. You may decide to change a few goals or leave as is. Take notes on what is going well and where there are opportunities to further support your child.

How to Evaluate at the End of the Year

At the end of the school year or in early summer, look at all the goals together. Did your child achieve most of them? Or only a few? Which ones required your support? Did they avoid any of them? This will give you insights into what goals your child may need for summer learning and what will help them thrive in the upcoming school year.

Use Reading Logs

Many families have their children keep records of daily reading. A simple reading log helps students track their progress. [includes rows in which kids can write the date, the name of the book, the starting page number, the ending page number, the total pages read in that session, and how many minutes they read.] For students in upper elementary, middle and high school, have them also write a 1-2 sentence summary for each day they read.

How to Monitor During the Year

Check your child’s log every week. Look to see how many pages they are reading on average each day. Ask questions to see what they like about the book, if the storyline or topic is engaging, or if they are getting distracted during reading time. Make adjustments based on what you learn.

How to Evaluate at the End of the Year

Review what your child read throughout the year to understand what best matches their interests and abilities. Look for patterns like how fast they read, what genre of books they gravitated towards, or if they stopped reading a book.

Make Observations

Watching and listening to your child is key to understanding who they are as a learner. What are they totally engrossed in? Do they need a 5-minute stretch break regularly? Do they perform better on tests when they have notes? Do they excel at moving their bodies but struggle to hold a pencil? Take notes daily, weekly, and monthly.

How to Monitor During the Year

If you start to notice the same behaviors, struggles, or successes each week, try something different. Maybe they need a change to their schedule, a new activity to try, or more time outside.

How to Evaluate at the End of the Year

Review your notes from the year. Look for changes and trends. What things did they consistently do well? Did you notice their engagement with some subjects was stronger than others? Were they staying connected to friends in their homeschool group? Use your observations to better tailor their learning experience.

Formal Ways to Measure Student Learning

Some ways of measuring student learning are formal in nature. They give specific information about how your child is doing. They are used after learning to determine what a student knows, understands, is able to do, and what they have completed.

Review Quizzes and Tests

For every quiz or test students take in Time4Learning, the results are available in the reports section of the parent account.

How to Monitor During the Year

Review results every few weeks. If you notice your child struggling, they can repeat a lesson or retake quizzes and tests. If they are doing well, consider offering supplemental activities or projects. With Time4Learning, you also have the option of changing grade levels at any time.

How to Evaluate at the End of the Year

Look to see how your child did on quizzes and tests overall. Where did they excel and struggle? Use this information to help plan what to reinforce and explore during summer, and what to teach in the upcoming year.

Assign Grades to Subjects

As a homeschooling parent, you might give a grade for each subject or course based on your state’s homeschooling laws, district requirements, or family preference. Grades come in many forms such as letter grades (A, B, C, D, F), percentages (0-100%), or even a numerical value (1-developing, 2-approaching, 3-proficient, 4-exemplary).

How to Monitor During the Year

Every month or so, look at the grades you have given for any projects, reports, or presentations they do. Compare them with the quizzes and test results in the Time4Learning reports. Identify areas for improvement, further study, or enrichment.

How to Evaluate at the End of a Semester or Year

Consider all the projects, reports, presentations, quizzes, and tests your child did for a given subject. Decide if you are going to assign a letter grade, a rubric score, or a percentage for the subject as a whole. It’s important to look at your state homeschooling laws or school district rules to see what requirements they may have with reporting grades.

Define Course Completion

Families often think about this for their middle and high schoolers. Completing a course can mean successfully finishing the Time4Learning curriculum for a given subject. It may also include any other assignments you give your child like book reports, essays, and projects.

How to Monitor During the Year

On a weekly or monthly basis, track your child’s progress through their assignments. Notice which things your child has finished, what they are still working on, or what they have skipped. You may need to give fewer assignments if the pace is too fast or the quality of their work changes.

How to Evaluate at the End of the Year

As your child’s teacher, you get to decide what it means to finish  a subject for the year. For some families, if a student passes all the quizzes and tests within a Time4Learning course at a certain level, say 80%, then their child has completed that course. For others, a student must finish all of the lesson activities and any supplemental tasks assigned to them.

Using multiple ways to monitor and evaluate student learning is essential to helping your child achieve positive results. Also, because every student is unique, looking at the whole child ensures you are getting a clear picture of who they are as a learner.
Through your guidance, your child will also clearly understand what they need to improve and the strategies and tools they can use to help them. This will boost their confidence and make your homeschooling experience much more gratifying!