If you have spent any time on my blog, then you know I firmly believe that your child is much more than a score on a standardized test. Your child is a creative, unique, and sparkling individual with a plethora of personality that cannot be measured by a test.
But that doesn’t mean testing is a bad thing. It just isn’t the only thing.
Standardized testing can provide valuable feedback about your child’s academic strengths and weaknesses. For the homeschooling parent, these strengths and weaknesses are usually not a surprise but testing results can help pinpoint specific areas that might require extra support in the future.
I live in a state that requires annual standardized testing so I administer a standardized test each year. The scores my children receive for various subject areas typically do not provide helpful feedback or information, but they have met the state requirements in North Carolina. I have researched testing options that provide more specific and valuable feedback but they are usually quite expensive.
But this year, I came across a solution that was affordable and would provide valuable feedback.
Conversation is an important part of our family life and an important part of our homeschool.
Meaningful conversation contributes to the atmosphere of learning in our homeschool and it enhances our relationships with one another. My kids are encouraged to share their thoughts, feelings, and ideas with me and others. They learn to defend their point of view, explain their reasoning, and consider what someone else has to say.
Conversations give my children the room and freedom to process what they are learning. We might talk about current events, the plot of a book, or whether parallel universes truly exist.
Our Brave Writer Lifestyle has taught me to value our conversations just as much as I value any part of our homeschool, sometimes even more. I’ve learned that everything doesn’t have to be in a book, on a worksheet, or written down at all.
Most homeschool days follow a typical routine. These semi-predictable routines keep the lessons moving forward and help parents maintain their sanity. This is a good thing.
But it’s far too easy to fall into a routine trap and allow things to become boring and mundane if we don’t flex our homeschool freedom muscles every now and then.
Remember that you are an educational innovator and there are so many options at your disposable when the drudgery of the routine is bringing you down.
Do you ever feel like all of the wonderful math manipulatives and hands-on activities for teaching mathematics disappear by the time your student reaches Pre-Algebra and linear equations?
Gone are the days of snap cubes, base ten blocks, and geoboards because now it is time for “serious math”.
Well, guess what?
That’s just not true. There are still math programs that introduce and reinforce concepts through the use of manipulatives and Hands-On Equations is one that we have had great success with this year.
Hands-On Equations is an affordable and effective program to introduce your 3rd-8th-grade children to linear equations in a visual and tactile way.
Our family began a simple tradition many years ago that has had an incredibly positive impact on our dinner conversation.
We stopped asking our kids how their day was or what they did that day. Instead, we asked two simple questions:
- What was the highlight of your day? (or what was your favorite part of the day?)
- What was the hardest part of your day?
Our oldest child was only around 8 years old when we began to ask these questions on a regular basis and these two questions became the foundation for our current family conversation starters.
Our house is bursting with creativity and tons of art supplies this year.
We kicked off our year with several Mixed Media projects from the Art of Fall and we have continued to create new masterpieces each season.
Recently, I incorporated art appreciation into our studies so that my kids learn to recognize and appreciate the work of well-known master artists.
Of course, I didn’t want to stop creating our own masterpieces so I decided to find a way to incorporate both art appreciation and art creation.
I’ll admit that my favorite homeschool days are the ones we spend at home with no outside commitments or activities on the schedule.
I protect our days at home as much as possible.
But there are days that we have to take this show on the road.