Friday, February 1, 2013

Teacher Notes

This week had its share of interruptions.  On Tuesday we decided on a snow day since we got dumped on with a ton of snow.  The kids played in our yard all morning making forts and tunnels and skiing and snowball fights.  As I was thinking maybe we'd get some school done in the afternoon, Knut asked the kids if they wanted to go out to the ski gaard with him.  Maybe we'll just call it a physical education/nature day.

On Wednesday, we got Silje's assessment test in the mail, and since I have a tendency to forget things, I decided to just do it the next day before it got forgotten.  This was our first year using the California Assessment Test (CAT) as it seemed pretty simple.  I don't think it was the best choice for us if we wanted to find out exactly where she is academically.  It just tests her 3rd grade skills, but not beyond.  But, it fills the state requirement, and I was able to proctor it myself, and it's one of the cheaper tests, so I picked that one this year.  Other tests are more in depth and tests what grade level your child is actually at, but I'd have to get a proctor for that kind of test, and that involves scheduling and traveling, and I just wanted to keep it simple this year.

It looked as if it would take her pretty much all day.  Since we don't do a lot of testing in our curriculum, yet test-taking I think is a valuable skill for college prep, I was curious to see how she did.  She normally stresses over things like tests, and she did have a deer-in-the-headlights look at first.  I told her that no one was going to see the results except Daddy and me, and the test is just for us to see what she knows.  If you don't know something, then the worst that will happen is we'll say "O, Silje doesn't know this.  We should work on that subject more."  No one is getting in trouble.

After that talk, she just had a blast taking the test, which cracked me up.  It was all multiple choice, and filling in bubbles, and she just whipped through it.  It took most of the morning, and then we took a big lunch break to make and serve and clean up lunch.  Then she pulled me back into the test, and we finished around 3 in the afternoon.  It brought me back to my classroom tests when my teacher would stand up in the front of the class and read the script "turn to page 17 and look at sample D..."  I did a lot of script reading.  It wasn't too bad, and there may have been some giggling between Silje and I.

I had no intention of helping her, because what's the point of paying for a test if it just finds out what I know. I know what I know.  The test is to find out what she knows.  Fortunately, she never asked for my help, as I was worried she would.  She stresses out when she doesn't know something.  I take this as a sign that she did well.  I looked over her shoulder to check the answers in my head a few times, and I didn't see any questions being answered incorrectly, so that's also a good sign.

So I need to pop that test in the mail to be graded as soon as I dare go outside in this sub-zero weather.  I have 2 weeks to return it for grading at this independent testing company, and so I'm going to try to do that very soon.  In our state the homeschool requirements are fairly simple.  We have to notify our school district of homeschooled children in between the ages of 7 and 16, and we need to do a standardized assessment test (basically of our choice) with each child in between those ages every year.  That's basically it.  We do not need to send the results to the school district.  The point of the test is to make the "teacher" (parent) aware of where the student is at.

David is 7, but he didn't turn 7 until October.  You need to be 7 in September in order to require testing.  So next year will be his first year of standardized testing.

David is finishing his last math sheet of 1st grade as I type this.  He's super excited about that!

It's been a lot of juggling, but it's been exciting around here too.  Knut has been around a bit during the day here and there, and has been able to observe me teach, and observe the kids.  He's come up with some really fun ideas to improve the kids here and there, and I've really been appreciating that.  Sometimes he has all of these expectations, but doesn't see the issues or problems in reaching those expectations.  When he is around to see, he can say "I see that the kids are having a tough time doing math in their heads, and are constantly writing it out over and over...even simple problems that they should know."  Then I'll say, "Yes, we're working on memorizing the tables, but it doesn't seem to be helping.  They can recite the times tables, but they have a tough time trusting what they know when it comes to writing it out."  Then he'll say, "You know, let me see if I can find a math game on the iPad that will help them work on speed.  I bet that would help them with push their brain a bit.  You could use the game as some reward for getting so much done."

It's just nice.  Not only does he have a suggestion, but he is willing to make that suggestion work, and it's not more work for me.  It makes for a nice team.

So this weekend, I REALLY need to write out the lesson plans for the month of February in the kids assignment books.  January was a success because of my work in the planning over Christmas, and I can't let February slip through my fingers.  So that's my homework.

Knut is taking David to a hockey game with the mens' group from our church.  That's they're homework.

O, and the new chore lists?  They've been fantastic.  My house hasn't been this clean in years.  I suppose with these extreme temperatures outside, the kids have been bored after school at home, and have welcomed a job to do.  David asked at first what they would get if they did all their jobs.  I said: "What will you get if you do your chores?  You'll get a clean house, that's what."  Then he said, "Yeah!  A clean house?  I love when the house is clean!"

Right answer, bud.  Right answer.  A+


4 comments:

Mom said...

Great post! Sometime, when you get a chance to brave the snow, it would be fun to see pictures of the snow fort (that is, if it hasn't already been dismantled). :)

Anonymous said...

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Katie @ Lady Bird said...

I am happy Ginny's yarn along brought me to your blog this week! I enjoyed reading about the chore charts you created. I have been working with my kiddos on consistent helping with a happy heart, but I think a visual reminder with a place to check would be so helpful for them.

And, the baby's suit is just beautiful!!!

Katie

Mama Bear said...

I love your blog...still! I know this is really off-topic, but I bought some of your really great diaper covers in August 2011 (remember? Your hubby left them in the trunk for a while? I still think of that and it makes me feel better when I am way late in shipping something!) and I wanted to know if you are still making them. I couldn't find them in your 'store'. I am considering ordering some more for you, and I have shown them to a neighbor and she would like to get some pricing, too. Can you email me at christinaskitchen (at) yahoo (dot) com? Thanks!