Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Evaluation Season Fast Approaching

If you home educate in a state which requires an annual evaluation you are likely beginning to think about how you will fulfill that requirement. Go back to the mandates in your state. Familiarize yourself with them. If you are not sure exactly what is required, contact the state home education organization, a local support group or a mentor mom in your area. Head into the season educated, equipped and prepared. 

If you live in Florida, here are some of the most frequently asked questions.

What is a teacher evaluation?
Florida law requires parents/guardians who homeschool through the home education program with their local superintendent to file an annual evaluation with the county superintendent's office. The teacher evaluation is one of five options by which a parent/guardian can meet the annual evaluation.

Who can do a teacher evaluation?
The parent/guardian selects a Florida-certified teacher who holds a current Florida teaching certificate to do the teacher evaluation. Local support groups and state organizations often have a lists of teacher evaluators they recommend.

What can a parent/guardian expect at a teacher evaluation?
Each teacher evaluator will conduct an evaluation differently. Some will informally discuss the contents of the child's portfolio, others will administer a formal test.  Still others combine the two methods and ask informal questions as the portfolio is reviewed.  It is important that the parent/guardian interview the evaluator before the evaluation takes place so that all parties have the same expectations.  From a legal standpoint, the evaluator is noting whether the child "demonstrates educational progress at a level commensurate with his or her ability."

How does the parent/guardian select a teacher evaluator?
Parents/guardians should interview the teacher evaluator to be sure the expectations of all parties are acceptable. It is recommended that home school families locate a teacher evaluator in the beginning of the school year to determine what exactly the evaluator will expect.  Knowing what the evaluator will expect will help the parent/guardian decide on a record keeping method which supports the evaluation method.  Parents/guardians might ask the evaluator:
  • Do you hold a current, valid Florida teaching certificate to teach academic subjects at an elementary or secondary level?
  • Are you familiar with home education?
  • Are you a home schooling parent?
  • What words would best describe your educational philosophy?
  • Have you evaluated home educated students in the past?
  • What can I expect to occur during the evaluation?
  • Are the parents/guardians encouraged to remain with the child?
  • How long can I expect the evaluation to last?
  • What materials should I bring to the evaluation?
  • Where does the evaluation take place?
  • What fees will be associated with the evaluation?


    Homeschoolers in the state Florida can find out more about home education from Florida Parent Educators Association. Their website features a host of information from the daily ins and outs of home education to the legal considerations and support group information. They also host an annual convention on Memorial Day weekend.

    There is also additional information on my website