Today's "I Want to Be" series features Julie Capaldi, who is a Pennsylvania homeschool evaluator. She received her degree in education in 2003 and has been homeschooling her five children, ages 16, 8, 7, 4 and 2, since then as well. She's been working with home educating families for over five years. Find out how to connect with Julie at the end of this article.
Editor's note: Pennsylvania requires that a homeschooling family submit a portfolio at the end of every academic year that includes attendance records, curriculum log, state testing, and a collection of samples from the subjects taught that year. Julie evaluates these portfolios and then writes a report stating whether or not learning took place that year. She also provides curriculum consulting, mentoring for new and current homeschool families, and proctoring for state exams.
How long have you had your business?
I've been providing evaluations for over 5 years now, but made it officially a business in early 2012.
What led you to pursue it?
I wanted to be a blessing and benefit to home educating families state wide. Some families are unable to travel for evaluations, such as medical needs or only 1 vehicle, so I offer to come to their homes. I also wanted to be accessible long distance. So I also offer distance evaluations to all families in Pennsylvania. My goals are to provide excellent evaluations and other services to families at a family friendly price.
Are you full time or part time? If part-time, do you anticipate switching to full time?
For most of the year, I am part time. But from May - July I am definitely full time.
How do you market your business?
I have a Facebook page, a website and advertise at Pennsylvania homeschool conventions as a vendor. And most importantly, by word of mouth.
What is your favorite part of the business?
Meeting home educating families from all over the state and seeing what their educational style is.
What one question do you get most from people about your business?
"How do distance evaluations work?" I can be a resource for families statewide by having families either e-mail me or mail me their portfolios. Then I evaluate the portfolios and send them back to the families.
What one myth or misconception do you want to dispel about the work you do?
That evaluators are strict. My clients and families are always so anxiety ridden and worried when sending in or meeting with me for their evaluations. I am very down to Earth, relaxed, and am here to be an asset to families.
What advice do you have for others who want to get into a similar opportunity?
Getting clients take time and a lot of self promotion. You must also make sure you comply with all state laws or your evaluations won't be legal. This will not only ruin your reputation and trust level these families have for you, but it can get you and the families in trouble.
What is the first step?
Making sure you are legal to evaluate based on the standards Pennsylvania (or your own home state) has set for home education evaluators.
What websites or books do you recommend for tips?
Cathy Duffy's book, 100 Top Picks For Homeschool Curriculum: Choosing The Right Curriculum And Approach For Your Child's Learning Style. It is essential for all home educators, especially those first starting out. It will give you an easy to follow guide on how to choose the best curriculum based on your wants and needs.
You can learn more about what Julie does at her website. You can also connect with her on Facebook.
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