Q: Who decides when a homeschooled child moves on to the next grade? Is it after the evaluation?
A: You, the parent, decide what level of materials the child uses. Honestly, you'll find lots of jokes on the internet about homeschooled kids who don't know their grade level. Why? Because grade levels aren't really important when homeschooling--not like they are for schooled kids. In fact,
Florida law does not require a parent to include a grade level in the letter of intent. So you are never required to report which grade level a child is in.
Grade levels are important in schools because they are dealing with so many kids that they have to have a way of placing kids together, a way of moving them on when they are all more or less ready for slightly more advanced materials.
When working with a child at home, you the parent can move the child to the next level of material if:
the child finishes a book.
Or if the child finds the material too easy or too boring.
Or the school year has ended and you want to use something new.
Or whenever else you decide it is in the best interests of your child.
(Note: if you move the child on to a new level of material before an evaluation, that can be used as evidence of educational progress--which is the legal guideline for determining passing an evaluation.)
At home, you can have a child who's working on different grade levels in different subjects. If a child is excelling in reading and is ready for the next grade level in reading, but isn't ready to move on yet in math, it's okay to move the child on in just one subject area. And if you want to use materials that don't have grade levels on them because they weren't designed to be textbooks, you can use those still in your homeschooling. There are a lot of fabulous books that are just as educational (if not more so) than textbooks. Homeschooling gives a lot of freedom and labels like grade levels just aren't that important (except perhaps when talking to friends or relatives--then the child can just state the grade level that his or her age would be in a school.)
If you were to put a child into a Florida public school after homeschooling, the school will base the child's placement primarily on the child's age. They may ask to see the child's evaluations but if the child is the age that, say, most 5th graders are, they'll place the child in 5th grade unless the child didn't get positive evaluations each year.
It's hard for some to understand this sort of freedom that comes with homeschooling. Hope this makes sense. 🙂