We decided to take our Testing early this year. In Oregon we test for 3rd, 5th, 8th and 10th grades. They count 1st grade when your child is 7 in September. So, even though the boys are working through 6th and 9th, they tested 5th and 8th this year. It’s OK, I’m the only one that needs to keep it straight.
It is the time of year that I start to question Charlotte Mason, Delight Directed, Relaxed Learning. I start to wonder if we are doing ourselves any favors when we switch Math curriculum 4 times in a year because of review products. Or Writing Programs 3 times in a year for the same reason.
We are more of a goal oriented learning family. We pray about, write out, and research our family leaning goals. Music, Science, History, Geography, Math, Writing, Logic, Language, Character, Serving – and strangely enough, none of those topics were on the test. The math they tested on, was not the same as we are studying. We have been focused on Grammar and Writing, and they were focused on reading comprehension and words. So the testing doesn’t show me if we are hitting our goals, our family meetings, conversations and their response to learning are my indicators.
That being said – they faced the Terra Nova test and did just fine. High scores in Math and Reading, a bit lower score in the Language Studies – but I expected that. They got a great passing grade. Now Nate’s next test will be in 2 years and Jon in 3.
I’ve been meaning to write about what we have learned and how they have grown through being on the surf team. Last evening, after a large chaotic storm swell – Jon’s surf coach talked about the courage and confidence that surfing gives a kid. This year he is a lot more confident in what he starts. He is performing at a higher level in Baseball and with his chores at home. Physically, he is maturing, but a lot of what he has accomplished this year has been mental. Hard to put into words, but he knows he can go out and face these head high waves, and just keep trying. Keep paddling harder. It has moved to other areas in his learning and character training as well.
Yesterday’s swell was too aggressive to make it to the outside. So Jon spent couple of hours practicing his drills and riding the white water in to shore. And such is the way with our learning. We don’t ignore the harder subjects, but we are still laying foundation in Middle School to be able to ‘make it to the outside’ in High School and really drop in to those topics. We’ve seen this with Nathan, going into 10th grade now. Each year is getting easier instead of harder.
So as we move into summer – we are still on The Old Schoolhouse Magazine’s Schoolhouse Review Crew. We have Geography, Writing, Computer Programming, an Science/Literature products that we are reviewing. So we’ll start our mornings with intentional learning before heading out to the surf and adventure. We’ve had a great learning year, and I am so stoked to continue on with our home learning adventures.
That’s a great point. The only reason for the test is to see if state intervention is needed. I will keep that in mind.
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This was a huge encouragement for me. They require testing in the same grades here in Hawaii and this was our first year. I’d never seen one of these tests before (Terra Nova) and when I skimmed over an older version on-line, I was terrified. None of it looked anything like what we had been working on all year. I think it’s normal for homeschoolers to set inordinately high standards and I had to convince myself that it was okay for my son not to do great on this test. The fact is, most of the students who take these tests in the public schools don’t do great either. He ended up doing just fine but is still a little bitter at me for making him go to a “real” school for a week where the test was being administered. Sure made him appreciate the relaxed environment we have here!
The hard part, for my k ids, is that we live a ‘living education’ sort of environment. Many things are read aloud, to each other, with constant verbal communication. My older son does a bit more study on his own, but still with alot of verbal checking with me. The Terra Nova test he took was in 4 sections. Language Arts two times at 35 minutes each, 10 minutes of arithmetic and 25 minutes of math with graphing and such. The entire test is essential a reading comprehension quiz. Each question had it’s own set of instructions, and then the actual question. Each question was in a spiral format, so it did not pertain or build on the question before. My youngest does not do well with jumping from topic to topic. He has done Daily Grams most of his life, so he did OK, but he still likes me to do them with him. We are going to have a goal for him this summer, to have projects where he needs to read the instructions on his own, and try it a few times before asking for help. I am using a computer programming course for this right now. I will be looking for opportunities where he needs to be the ‘reader and figur-er-outer’. All in all, they scored high enough to not have state intervention, and that is all the test is for.
On Tue, May 14, 2013 at 11:04 AM, Petra School