Whether you're looking for an evaluator because you want to or because you have to, here are a few tips for choosing one. Firstly, if your state requires or allows you to have your child evaluated to satisfy your legal homeschool requirements, you'll want to give yourself plenty of time to find an evaluator. It's not unusual for homeschooling parents to wait until the last minute to arrange evaluations, but submitting evaluation results late can create serious legal issues. The sooner you can find an evaluator, the better. Evaluators have different evaluation styles and expectations and knowing what your evaluator would like to see in your child's portfolio in advance will alleviate stress for both you and your child when it comes time for the evaluation.
Finding an evaluator who understands your philosophy on education is important, but finding an evaluator who is a good fit for your child is, too. We encourage you to shop around and ask other homeschoolers in your area who they recommend. Be sure to check your state's homeschool laws to find out what your record keeping requirements are and what qualifications your evaluator must have. Schedule interviews (by phone or in person) and don't hesitate to ask questions and for references. You'll want to be sure the evaluator meets your family's needs, supports your teaching style, and that your child will feel comfortable during the interview. Take a look in our State Directory to see if we have any information on evaluators in your area.
Besides the evaluator's qualifications, evaluation method, and portfolio requirements, you may also want to consider where the evaluation will take place, how much time it will take, and how much it will cost. You may also want to see a sample (or get a general idea) of the letter/report that will be provided to you (or submitted on your behalf) if your state doesn't have a specific requirement. You may also be interested in knowing whether the evaluator offers any other services like curriculum counseling, tutoring, or standardized testing.
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