educational assessment

By Diane Geerlinks, PCET, HSLDA’s Exceptional Needs Consultant

Wouldn’t it be great if your child came with a manual or at least an instructional guide? Imagine if this guide could also help you choose which homeschool method would work best for this child or which curriculum would be the perfect fit! An educational screening assessment and/or a psycho-educational assessment can do just that!

An assessment will give you a complete profile of your child’s strengths and weaknesses, with a host of recommendations for using the strengths to build the weak areas of need. In essence, an assessment will help you create an Individual Education Plan (IEP) to be implemented in your homeschool for your unique learner.

 

Determining the Need for Assessment

Homeschool parents want their children to succeed and will do whatever they can to support their children. We see the absolute brilliance and potential of this child. Yet, despite all the great homeschool intentions and plans and schedules, discouragement and frustration set in, and we wonder, “What am I doing wrong?” “Is this child just lazy?” “If only they tried a little harder, they could do this!”

Perhaps your shelves are lined with a host of curricula that you’ve tried but didn’t work. Perhaps you’ve asked advice from veteran homeschool moms and even implemented their suggestions, but those ideas didn’t work for your child.  Perhaps you’ve thrown it all up in the air in the hopes that a little time and maturity would change it all.

Be encouraged! Your child is unique! Your child can succeed!

This is where an assessment can change everything for you and your child. You are both given new hope! No more stabbing the dark to find the right curriculum or to force your child to meet expectations beyond their present ability. Instead, you have a concrete plan for moving forward.

What’s Included in an Assessment?

Formal, standardized assessments can help us understand why our hard work isn’t working. And, these assessments also help us understand why our student’s hard work isn’t working. We know our child has unique strengths and we know that they have some areas of need.

Perhaps your child has strengths in verbal communication, but is weak in written expression?

Perhaps your child can recall verbal directions verbatim, but can’t recall the spelling patterns on his weekly spelling test?

Perhaps your child is first to finish his chores, but takes an extraordinary amount of time to complete just one math lesson?

A formal assessment will help give you the tools you need to guide your student more intentionally on their learning journey.

An educational screening assessment is a mini assessment, administered by an educational therapist or a psychometrist, that assesses your child academically in the areas of reading, writing, and math. It can also include a screening for auditory or visual processing difficulties.

A psycho-educational assessment is a complete assessment by a psychologist that assesses your child’s intelligence quotient as well as academic areas and emotional/behavioural areas. A battery of tests is administered by a psychometrist and includes tests in Verbal Comprehension, Working Memory, Processing Speed, Visual Spatial, Fluid Reasoning, and many others.

Both of these assessments are available at GeerLINKS Educational Therapy.

Of course, there are some free online template versions of screenings or warning sign checklists. The results can certainly give you a general idea of what’s going on for your child, but please note that these screenings are NOT a diagnosis. Only a psychologist can make official diagnoses.

Developing an Individual Education Plan (IEP)

As a homeschool parent, you know your child so well! You will not be completely surprised at the results of an assessment, but instead, it will confirm what you already knew. And that will be a relief, both to you and to your child!

However, it is true that all the information can be overwhelming, so you may want to find a professional to help you weed through the information to help you create an individual education plan for your child.

The good news is that you will be armed with new strategies for homeschooling your unique learner!  He needs you to understand his strengths and his weaknesses. She needs you to embrace her learning differences and find new ways for her to show what she knows!

And remember this…

Diagnosis does not have the last word! The label is just a label…the important part is learning how your child learns and processes new information so they can succeed and reach their life goals.

 

There are many benefits to homeschooling a child with exceptional needs. We offer professional advice in this area in the form of consultations, Member Site content, and group connections. 

Discover more about the many services we provide to homeschooling families.

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