How to Measure Progress (in Homeschooling or Elsewhere)

How to Measure Progress in Homeschooling
We’re an impatient lot.

I was just telling someone the other day that I wish I had waited longer to start teaching my daughter. I had been itching to get going on homeschooling with her and bought her counting bears, simple jig-saw puzzles, some picture books – all before she was even 3.

I regretted it. All of it.

The counting bears found themselves under couch cushions, she hated puzzles and became increasingly frustrated with them and the picture books ended up torn, dog-eared and, somehow, wet.

Talk about a waste of money and effort.

Between the fact that I dreaded “school” with her and worried about her mental development and why she could not solve jig-saw puzzles and the mini freakout sessions about whether I am capable of homeschooling, I wish I had been a little more wary to measure progress.

Today, she loves to read, does jig-saw puzzles for fun and just yesterday was trying to teach her two year old brother to count. It’s hard to believe it’s the same girl.

And herein lies the secret to measuring progress – it is hard to measure progress daily and yet it is the only way to do it. Daily.

Progress is Hard to Measure Daily

I recently came across a news story which talked about how students were being tested 91 out of 180 school days.

While we are shielded from this kind of insanity when we homeschool, parents can nevertheless get bogged down by frustrations, questions and doubts – both from within and without, and lack of confidence and can turn to questioning whether their children are learning something often.

This is especially common in the younger ages while we are dealing with developmental issues and sometimes pretty much just waiting for the children to be able to read and write, or even talk.

Make Progress Daily

No, that was not a typo – you read that right.

While it is almost impossible to measure the outcome of what we are teaching everyday without resorting to ridiculous amounts of testing, we can however measure progress by measuring our own diligence in teaching.

The problem arises when we want our efforts to be balanced by the results. This can take years.

The fruit of labor is not immediately apparent.

This was the mistake I made, the mistake the schools that test more days than they teach are making and the very same mistake that first time homeschoolers are likely to make.

There is no harm in measuring progress by diligence, baby steps, a check on the calendar as long as they are on the side of effort, not results. The results will come but they will not be daily.

Measure progress by effort, not results.
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Author: Purva Brown

Writer / blogger at http://TheClassicalUnschooler.com - unapologetically blending two seeming opposites.

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