Being a home school family we do assessments differently than schools. We do not have the standardized state testing most schools have yearly, but I do feel that assessing my kids often is necessary in seeing where they are and making sure I haven't overlooked something. That being said, because I only have 3 students I can focus more time on each one and know where they are academically without giving weekly tests, quizzes, etc.
Reading is one area where we don't do written assessments often. I find that sparking a discussion with my kids gives me a wonderful chance to clarify things they didn't grasp and to see how well they did understand the book. We do novel studies several times a year. Last year we read "Mr. Popper's Penguins" and completed a fun lap book along with it from Confessions of a Homeschooler.
We do have some reading workbooks that my kids often complete on their own that are broken down into different reading categories (i.e. sequence, context, main idea, inference, etc.). This is also a wonderful reading assessment tool.
Spelling and math are two subjects that we do have frequent written assessments. Spelling is weekly and math is after completing a chapter. Even homeschoolers don't get out of some things! ;-) We enjoy using these FREE and fun spelling tests from 1st Grade is WeinerFUL!
I love using this "Number of the Day" activity with my 1st/2nd graders each day. It's a quick and easy way to see how well they are understanding numbers. Get it HERE!
Self-assessment is a great way for students to begin recognizing their own mistakes and correcting them. I love the activities that use QR codes for students to check themselves. There are many out there, THIS is just one that we have used from Kristen Kennedy.