Curriculum/Assessment Tips

If you choose to enroll your child in the Vermont Home Study Program, you may complete your enrollment in several ways, depending on what works best with your homeschooling style. Many people are nervous that their enrollment may be rejected. It is important to realize that you are not sending in a request. You are sending in an enrollment notice. Your curriculum/assessment does not need anyone’s approval; it just needs to be complete. You need to make sure you include everything required by law.

The curriculum you send to the state only needs to cover the Minimum Course of Study required by law – even if you actually cover much more. Curriculums as short as one page have been acknowledged as complete. Just list topics you think you might cover in each of the six areas of the Minimum Course of Study. You can base your curriculum on your child’s current academic level, his/her interests, any packaged curriculum, and/or other materials you will be using. Your curriculum does not need to coincide with that of your local public school, nor do you need to mention grade levels.

According to statute, assessments can be done in several ways. Most are self-explanatory, but questions sometimes arise regarding the parent assessment with portfolio method when children do not yet produce much written materials.

Curriculum/Assessment Tips

During the year, you may want to keep a diary listing all educational things your child did (saw, listened to, read, discussed, etc.) and have a box in which you put any items that you may want to put in the portfolio at the end of the year. Instead of a diary, you can also just add little reminder notes to the box. Keeping track is especially important when you do not use a packaged or otherwise pre-organized curriculum. The more “go with the flow” your homeschooling style is, the more important it is to keep track of what gets done.

When creating an assessment you can start with the curriculum you sent in and report briefly point by point how each topic was (or was not) covered. Your notes will come in handy at this point. When putting together the portfolio, you can get quite creative. Many activities you did with your child may have covered more than one topic. Besides pieces of work created by the child, there are many other things that can be included in the portfolio to show what the child has done during the school year in each of the six areas of study in the minimum course of study.

You can include photographs of your child’s artwork, of him/her playing sports or music, doing science experiments or chores, visiting museums, taking a nature walk, camping, gardening, taking care of animals, reading, story telling or singing around a camp fire, etc. You can include tickets for performances, museums, galleries, ski lifts; brochures from museums, field trips or camps; certificates of participation in camps, lessons, homeschool group activities. You can add anything supporting your progress report. Remember too that you only need 3-6 support items in each of the 6 subject areas of the minimum course of study and that many of the items will cover more than one subject area. (The statute does not require any particular number of items per category, but this seems to be the range acceptable to the Home Study Unit)

When reading the Home Study Statutes and paperwork from the Home Study Unit, enrolling may look overwhelming at first. It really is not that hard to create a good curriculum and your own progress report.

Example of complete curriculum for age 12:

  1. Basic Communication Skills:
  2. Citizenship, History and Government:
  3. Physical Education and Comprehensive Health Education:
  4. English, American, and other Literature:
  5. Natural Sciences:

Topics may include, but are not limited to, the following:

Care and feeding of pets, field trips, nature study and exploration, camping, recycling, environment, biology topics, basic chemistry, and physics (mechanics, electricity and magnetism.)

6.  Fine Arts, Arts and Crafts:

Topics may include, but are not limited to, the following:

Drawing, crafts, museums, art appreciation, live performances, drama, dance, song, musicianship, and music appreciation.