When should you assess your child when homeschooling? Do you wonder when and how often? What is the right way?

In homeschooling there can be times when you start questioning your child’s development and, maybe like me, you start overthinking everything. Is my child learning to their potential? Are they falling behind? Am I doing the right thing? Even if you are feeling good about what you are doing and the reasons why (like me unschooling/eclectic schooling), there are days that doubts can plague you. 

This can be a common question because, especially if you are new to homeschooling, the style of learning is different to traditional schooling. You have to find either creative ways to assess, do more testing, or include standardized testing. What is the right way? What works for you.

Schools are going to rely on quizzes and tests, pop quizzes, standardized tests, presentations and written assignments like essays. You could choose to do that too. But you are also free to assess your children in a way that suits them best.

question mark


There are several reasons families will choose to formally assess their children when homeschooling. One of these is whether or not their child is up to grade standard, or is progressing well. Have they fallen behind? Is there anything they are lacking? This can be particularly helpful in easing anxiety.

Another reason is to assess strengths and areas of weakness or “holes” in learning. It can help you to see if foundational areas are missing so you can repeat them and make sure your child has what they need to move forward with success. This is where standardized tests can be beneficial. 


There are many different homeschool curriculum that have built in quizzes and tests at the end of units, especially in upper grades. You can definitely rely on these to see if your children are taking in the material and synthesizing it well. For many this is an easy, and helpful, tool to keep quantifiable records.

child talking to lady


You don’t have to use the traditional tests to assess your child. That is the beauty of homeschool. Here are some other ways you can assess what your children are learning:

  • Talk to them. Have them tell you what they have learned about a subject. It will most likely not be a linear conversation, and they will jump from point to point, but this is such a great way to also learn their interests and what appeals to them in a subject. 
  • Make them the teacher. Have your child teach YOU an aspect of what you have been learning. 
  • Open book tests. If you want to do a “test” allow them to use the text books or material you have been using to answer the questions. This shows you that they know how to find and utilize information. 
  • Creative projects. Allow them to creatively express what they have learned. 
  • Make your own tests. This way you can tailor them to the content or skills. 


There are times you do need to use standardized tests. Each State has their own requirements, so you need to know what your State has set. For example, here in GA, your child has to sit a standardized test every 3 years at the end of 3rd grade, 6th grade and 9th grade. You can choose to sit them every year. There are several different nationally standardized achievement tests you can choose from in GA. Some of the most common are the ITBS, CAT, and Stanford 10. You do not have to send in the records of the tests, but keep them on file with your homeschool intent forms. But remember that every State is different and you need to know your State’s requirements when it comes to assess in homeschooling. 

doing paper test


If you don’t want to do one of the standardized tests but are curious and don’t want to create your own assessment, there are free or inexpensive ones online. Here are a couple of links that can help you. I have found the scholastic reading assessments to be very helpful. 

Homeschool placement tests
Scholastic tests

So, when should you assess your child when homeschooling? Whenever you like. And whenever it will bring you peace. If you are concerned about whether or not your child is falling behind or perhaps have a learning disability, then reach out to someone who can assist you. Talk to a friend who is a teacher. See if perhaps they will be able to assess your child for you. This is something I have done many times, and I know that it can bring great peace of mind to my friends (or their friends) to be able to tell them how their child is doing, and some things they can be doing to assist their child.

Don’t forget that even if you are homeschooling, if you are concerned your child has a learning disability, you are eligible to get testing through the school system. 

Here is another video on assessing:
Assessing learners: do we need tests?

Michayla Best

For over 30 years I have worked with children in a variety of capacities, whether as a teacher or tutor, a babysitter, a camp leader, or family advocate. I have always found a way to connect with children, to help them understand themselves and the world around.

I am Mummy to trinational twincesses who keep me on my toes with their questions, their commentaries, their shenanigans and acts of spontenudity.

Wife, world traveler, musician, crafting queen and self-proclaimed nerd; I love to take what I see, glean, know and help families to find their groove and be successful.

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