This was hands-down my most positive review experience out of the eight I have had. There were no extraneous comments or suggestions, no questions about how many chapters we completed or what page we are on in a book. She looked at what I brought and gave me information for the next year and that was that.
Last fall, my county homeschool office decided to assign a reviewer to each family for a more consistent experience. So this was the second time reviewing with my assigned reviewer. I did have a coincidentally repeat before, but that reviewer didn’t even pretend like he remembered me because it had been a year or more since I had last talked with him. This time, there was at least a hint of her having looked back at the fall review to give an illusion of actually remembering us.
For my reviews in Fall 2018 and Spring 2018, I had created a PowerPoint for the portfolio. This time I went back to just a 3-ring binder with dividers for each subject. It was much easier to compile that way by just pulling work out of my son’s binders. There were still a couple of items I photocopied out of workbooks, but it was a lot less effort than scanning everything for the PowerPoints. The binder included 3 samples of work for math, science, history, and English, as well as a list of resources and a list of topics covered for those subjects plus for health. For art, music, and PE, I just provided an activity log printed from my planning program.
The reviewer pretty much just typed up the list of topics I provided for each subject. I didn’t say much and she didn’t ask much. She merely flipped through the work samples without giving them much attention. She made some conversation around a couple of the topics of the samples, but made no comment about my son’s work. Last fall, she had certainly spent much more time actually reading each piece of work.
At the end of the review, she explained to me how the reviews change for in high school. They only look for one year of PE, health, and music or art, instead of all four of them every year. She also informed me that the GED age for homeschoolers is 16 rather than 18, to which I firmly stated that we have no intention of pursuing that route. I asked her about her expectation for kindergarten review for my younger child next fall. Surprisingly, she said that current kindergarten expectations in public schools are absurd and that lists of activities done, rather than worksheets are perfectly acceptable.
To cap it all off, she emailed me the write-up the following day. Everything was recorded correctly and proof-read! The email also came directly from the reviewer, instead of passing through the secretary of the homeschool office.
I have been on the fence about joining an umbrella next year because of our shift to high school while adding a kindergartner. However, there is only one umbrella that is not tied to a church and that one cost at least twice as much as those that are church-sponsored. I am not convinced that spending that money would get me any benefit other than not having to talk to school officials. Between those considerations and the fact that I have done a practice year of doing preschool with my rising kindergartner, I am going to stick with school district reviewers for the next year.
If you are interested in reading about my other review experiences, here is the full list of the others I blogged about: