Placement & assessment
So you decided to homeschool and picked your curriculum, but what level? When you finally decide which curriculum fits your students learning style, be sure to use the assessment tool. Often times these take the form of a quiz or it could simply be talking to an advisor. An important thing to remember is that when switching curriculums there will often be holes. Different curriculums cover different concepts at different times. It is better to take the grade level appropriate and test out sooner than a grade ahead and find out the student is missing several foundational concepts. I did this with my son both ways. When he went from first to second he shifted from Core Curriculum of America to Alpha Omega. We hit some work and thought he could do this with his eyes closed. On the other hand, some concepts were introduced as review that he had never seen before. That got me scrambling to teach a concept that in some cases was a few concepts deep. An example is when he hit the "review" for adding change. First you must learn your times tables. Talk about a scramble. It put a lot of pressure on a very competent math student. He was always very confident and was now a bit unsure of himself. When we switched his math curriculum years later he did the assessment and though he was borderline next grade, I put him into the lower grade. I let him take the section tests without doing the lessons. There was a financial expense, but this action saved him from an emotional expense. He got a good way in and stopped when he tested under a B. No holes. No stress. As homeschoolers our children can run as fast as they want. It is a great feature. It means they can walk when they need to and sprint when they are able. No skinned knees from having to keep up. No boredom from having to stay with the class. They are the pilots now. When unsure if you will continue with your chosen curriculum next year, try to keep math consistent. Math is a place where holes can abound. An example is a mom I recently spoke with who is between programs. She is trying Alpha Omega this year, but thinking about shifting to Sonlight next year. She subbed out the math in Alpha Omega with Math U See. This means there will be no holes with her math program next year and will make for a much smoother transition should she decide to switch. I hope this information is helpful. Questions and comments are welcome!
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