Part 1: Introduction – Real People
The following is the first part in a series of posts about our Evaluation Service. The aim is to help you as parents help your children to get the best from Tree of Life evaluated courses.
Evaluation of student work is one of the most important things we do. In the early days of Tree of Life, we called this service ‘monitoring’ and the purpose was to help homeschooling students keep on track and to provide helpful feedback for their written work. Those general goals haven’t changed, even as we have developed our courses, format, and means of communication over the years. But to get caught up in the technology and content would miss the human side, and that is where we’ll begin.
The heart of our Evaluation Service is real people: growing students and caring evaluators.
First, we understand that every one of our students is a real person with a soul, who carries gifts and talents, flaws and struggles, experiences and hopes. They deserve personal attention and individualized feedback for their own efforts, whether it is a paragraph describing a story plot, or a high school logic test. Much of the time, assignments and tests are just that, ephemeral school work, yet we remember that these words on paper proceed from hearts and minds made in the image of God.
The second real person in the equation is the Evaluator, one given to patient and individualized attention to the student’s work. Competent if not expert in their subjects, evaluators also bring heart, perspective, and experience. Their observations and advice are not infallible because all human work involves judgment. As in post-secondary education or in the workplace, this is reality. In that light, each evaluator aims to offer something honest and helpful for the student’s benefit. While that may not occur with every piece of work, that is our general aim.
At this point, it might be helpful to offer a word related to evaluation: “assess” or “assessment”. While this might conjure up thoughts about your property taxes, assess is actually a powerful word for education. It is derived from a Latin word meaning ‘to sit beside’. So, think of a tutor or coach coming alongside a struggling or an excelling student. Our evaluation is not sit-down tutoring, per se, but this picture captures the kind of periodical ‘check-in’ help we provide.
So, in using our Evaluation Service, expect personal attention to the honest efforts of real students.
Next Month: Part 2 – Not Replacing Parents