Here in West Virginia, the home schooling laws are not as relaxed as some states. You have to notify them of your intent to home school each year at the beginning of the school year and you have to either keep of portfolio of work and have it graded by a teacher or take the standardized testing each year.
When we first moved here I wasn’t too happy about the whole “testing thing” at first, but after nearly 5 years of testing (this year in April will be our 5th time taking the test) I have come to accept it and to a certain extent even enjoy it believe it or not! The whole thing is treated like a big party, with testing and then a break for lunch, and then more testing, and then cake and other treats and playtime with at least 30 other kids after all the testing is done. My kids have a blast every year 😀
Each year, the child takes a test corresponding to the grade that he is in. This year Solomon takes the 2nd grade test and Elijah takes the 6th grade test (yes, Elijah is ahead, and that is another great thing about the testing, you can have your child take whatever grade test you think they will pass, it does not have to correspond to their age level..). Matthew is in school too now but he doesn’t have to take any tests until 2014.
To make things easy, we buy the practice tests off Amazon.com and at the beginning of the school year we give each child the proper practice test corresponding to their grade level for that year, being as “true to life” as possible in order to get as accurate a result as possible. Doing this, we can then determine what the child’s current strengths and weaknesses are and then put extra emphasis on their weakness while continuing to build up their strengths, in this way our whole school process becomes very streamlined. We then flesh out the bones with more fun and real life skills…like gardening, proper land stewardship/management, animal husbandry, wood working, cooking, sewing, learning a foreign language (Spanish), art like origami or pottery making or calligraphy, and exciting science experiments using microscopes and chemistry labs…it is these types of things that actually make up the “meat” of our home-based education system 🙂
I know that some people in the home school communities have issues with testing, saying that it is an inaccurate way of judging what the child knows… but I tend to look at it this way, tests, for better or for worse, are the way of life in this world. Eventually all of our children, whether home schooled or not, are going to have to take tests…tests for college, tests for job certification in skilled work like that of an electrician or plumber etc. and, if they wanna drive, a test to get a license…so, in reality, it’s actually in the child’s best interest to become comfortable with and skilled in the art of the test.
Because test-taking really is an art form. There are certain skills involved, deductive reasoning and the ability to be able to read into a question so as to know what the question is expecting…what I call “The Art Of Bullshitting” and it was the main way that I managed to graduate 6th in my class when I was in high school (I started 11th grade as valedictorian of my class, but there is only so much bullshit a girl can take! LOL I became so sick of school that I pretty much stopped doing any form of work, other than showing up everyday and taking their stupid tests when I was forced to…but because I was good at tests I still managed to graduate 6th in my class…not too bad, if you ask me…)
So, new for this year, one of the subjects that we are focusing on is test-taking skills, secrets, tips and tricks and I find that it has been quite fun to be able to relive all the methods and techniques of bullshitting one’s way through a test…and it has served as a hilarious reminder of just what a farce all of man-centered knowledge is!!
Each and every culture, from the high tech western world to the primitive tribe living in a hut in the rainforest, has it’s universal agreed upon myths and perceptions of reality accepted as “normal” (a collective dreamstate, aka brainwashing or mind-control..) …simply understand your own culture and what they want to hear and what they expect, whether you actually believe the bullshit or not, and repeat it back to them and you’ve basically won the battle…
Sadly, this is what “education” has been reduced to in our society…don’t dare try to think for yourself and if you do, you better not say it out loud! 🙄