In the past I have worked in the the public schools, child development centers, early childhood classrooms and even had my own home daycare. And while I enjoyed things about all of these settings and experiences, the learning environment I love the most is our own home! I never in a million years thought that I would ever want to homeschool my children, but now I can’t imagine doing anything else. It’s funny how things work out like that isn’t it?
I love being able to watch my children learn and grow, which I would miss if they went off to school everyday. Yes, we have our days when I just want to throw in the towel and call it quits, but those days don’t happen very often (thankfully!). When they do, we just deal with it the best we can and move on; “tomorrow is a new day” is a great motto for days like those!
There are many reasons why I love to homeschool my kids, and one of the big reasons is that I can tailor what we do each day to what they need at any given time. When my daughter needs more practice with adding and subtracting, we can put the math book aside and find activities and games where she can work on those skills more.
I also love that I can assess my daughters level of understanding on a subject or topic we have been learning about without having to rely on a test. I have no problem with having children take a quiz or test to see what they have learned, but not as the only form of assessment, especially with younger children. I know that my daughter hates taking tests. The mere thought of a test, or even seeing the word on her paper truly freaks her out!
I know that throughout her life there will be times she’ll need to be able to take tests effectively, so I don’t want to get rid of them completely. However, I feel that there are plenty of other ways for children to show what they have learned; ways that allow you to informally assess their level of understanding without having to always use a test.
For example, after finishing a unit on gardening, reading a biography, or learning about the United States, your child can pick one of the following ideas as a final project to creatively express what they have learned. You can see what level of understanding they have, but in a way other than a test. At the end of this post there is a free printable with all of these informal assessment ideas so that you can use it as a reference!
Here are 70 ways that your child can creatively show what they know:
- Make a collage.
- Do a diorama.
- Create a jig-saw puzzle.
- Do a mock interview (especially good for a study of various people in history).
- Hold a debate on a topic you’ve been studying.
- Make a pamphlet or brochure.
- Write a series of letters/postcards,written from someone else’s point of view (like letters back and forth between two historical figures).
- Design own T-shirt with information about topic.
- Make a travel guide or brochure for a place you have been learning about.
- Do a show-and tell and answer questions about your item (an item that relates to what you’ve studied).
- Make your own board game.
- Make a time capsule with items relating to what you’ve studied.
- Write a myth or fable about your topic.
- Hold an art exhibit showing your own pieces of art related to what you’ve learned.
- Make a recipe book with recipes from different time periods or places around the world.
- Make an interactive notebook.
- Do a paper mache model.
- Give an oral presentation or speech.
- Write a newspaper article.
- Make your own picture book or children’s book.
- Write a poem or collection of poems.
- Make up your own game show with questions relating to your topic.
- Hold a mock trial or court case/hearing.
- Write a “chose your own adventure” book.
- Do a book report.
- Make a mobile.
- Write a mock “letter to the editor”.
- Make a poster (any kind will work, but here is a great idea for a creative poster from Let’s Explore).
- Make your own audio recording.
- Do a news report.
- Make up your own play or skit.
- Write a research paper.
- Put together a scrapbook or photo album.
- Create a timeline.
- Write a short story or collection of stories.
- Make your own movie/video.
- Do a power point presentation.
- Make your own advertisement.
- Do your own commercial (radio or television).
- Write your own song lyrics.
- Make a CD or music video.
- Do a collection of note-booking pages.
- Create your own video game.
- Do a lapbook about the topic.
- Write a comic book.
- Make a crossword puzzle or word search.
- Write a journal or diary entries (written from your own point of view or from the perspective of a person/people you’ve studied).
- Write your own quiz or test complete with answers.
- Write a newsletter.
- Make your own instructional book or handbook.
- Make a map.
- Hold a discussion with a panel of “experts.”
- Create a model of something you studied.
- Gather items and/or create your own items related to the topic and have a museum/artifact exhibit.
- Do a Venn diagram.
- Make a quilt, with each square showing something you have learned.
- Put the information you’ve learned into the format of the social media sites (iTeach Third has a good description on how to assess students learning this way).
- Create own flashcards on the topic.
- Make your own short documentary.
- Write your own advice column.
- Put the information learned into a form of word art (a good example of how to do word art can be found at The Literary Maven).
- Make a sketch book with art related to your topic.
- Do your own demonstration on how to do the things you’ve learned about.
- Put together your own portfolio of the different pieces of work you’ve done.
- Create a wanted poster.
- Do a mock radio show.
- Sew something related to your topic.
- Make up a trivia game.
- Do a family tree for a historical person.
- Create a presentation using a display board.
Here is a printable version of this list so that you can have it to refer back to whenever you need alternative ways for kids to show you what they have learned!
I hope that this list will be helpful to you and your children whenever you find yourselves looking for a creative way to show understanding of a topic that you have been studying. I know that I will be referring back to this list quite a bit as I look for alternative ways for my children to “show what they know” in methods other than a test. What are some other fun things that you use to check for understanding with your children?