Resolutions for Change: Conducting Teacher Evaluations for Homeschoolers
Happy New Year! When January 1st rolls around, homeschoolers have the opportunity to hit the reset button, and get a fresh start by creating resolutions together. Doing this well takes intention, motivation and careful conversation with your children.
Now that you are half-way through the homeschooling year, take inventory of how things are going. Carve out time in your busy schedule to pause, reflect, and pray about the last few months. Ask God to highlight the strengths of your family and homeschooling—and to graciously point out areas to improve in the coming year.
One way to identify where to improve is to invite your students into the reflection process. Consider writing a mid-year teacher evaluation and giving it to your students. Biola University professor of Communication Studies, Arianna Molloy notes that such midterm teacher evaluations “are essential for keeping perspective and maintaining motivation, for both the instructor & students!”
If you’ve structured your homeschool curriculum with clear, concise and measurable objectives, then you will be able to evaluate your student’s work against the goals you’ve set. But, teacher evaluations allow your students to share valuable insight into their experience as a homeschooler.
Teacher Evaluations for Homeschoolers?
As a homeschooling family, open communication, trust, and adaptability are vital to retaining cohesion, and flourishing each year. Veteran homeschooler, Michelle Eastman reflects,
How miserable my children would be if they lived under the oppression of being driven to perform and succeed by a mother who refused to let go of her “perfect vision of homeschooling” simply so she could check each box and say, “DONE!”
One way you, as a parent and as the primary educator, can model this open communication and adaptability is by asking your students to evaluate your “performance.”
Wendy at Hip Homeschool Moms writes, “As our children get older, we need to treat them more and more like the adults we want them to grow up to be.” While this is especially true of teens, your elementary students also need to know you trust them and value their input.
Before asking her eight year old and five year old for feedback, Rowena Mabbott states,
I figured I was doing okay if the kids were happy. My measurable or ‘KPI’ (key performance indicator) was “is my child alive and happy?” A reasonable measure, but not brilliant. Certainly it wouldn’t stand up as a KPI in the corporate world!
By pressing pause on the busyness of parenting, and asking for feedback, Rowena received actionable advice to help fine-tune her parenting and create a family culture that had more fun together. After all, “The days are long but the years are short!”
Crafting Your Feedback Form
According to Vanderbilt University’s Center for Teaching, soliciting feedback midterm enables “you to hear your students’ concerns while there is still time in the semester to make appropriate changes.”
They offer Teacher Evaluations in pdf form for you to print and give to your students.
- What would you like to change about the course?
- True or False: The problems worked in this class help me in working other problems on my own.
- What do you think the instructor’s greatest strengths are?
- True or False: I find that this class stimulates my interest in reading about this subject outside of class.
For questions about parenting, consider questions Rachel Jones asked her nine year old:
- How am I doing as a parent?
- How do I show you that I care about you?
- What could I do better?
When we ask for honest feedback from our students, we model a posture of humility, a love for learning, and a willingness to listen to their insight and experience.
Reflect and Pray
When considering asking for a performance review from your students, first pause and ask the Lord:
- Am I willing to listen to my children’s critiques?
- What emotions am I feeling about this evaluation, and why?
- Will I hear their feedback — both positive and constructive critique alike — as insight from their ever-developing God-given wisdom?
Perfect Teacher, help me to embody the fruit of your Spirit toward my students. Help me also to not place my identity in appeasing my children or in what they have to say about me. Rather, help me to have grace with myself as I do with them, as they do with me, and as you do, Lord, with us all. Amen.