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Rethinking Achievement Testing

A-Testing

 

As you were growing up and receiving an education, you were taught in certain ways, using systems and procedures that you eventually assumed to be the “correct way” to teach and evaluate students. Public schools teach using the curriculum of the state; that is, subjects that can be evaluated through national achievement testing. As a child, you might have been allowed to pray in school, but Bible or spiritual training was not a part of the state’s curriculum.

This “measurable academics only” approach is based on Greek philosophy. Today’s parents generally believe that achievement testing is the only or the best way to assess a child’s development and educational advancement.

An old story illustrates how easy it is to be conditioned into a wrong thinking pattern. A husband asked his wife why she always cut off the end of the rump roast before roasting it. She replied, “I’m not sure why. I’ve never thought about it. My mother always cut off the end of the rump roast, so there must be a reason.”

A few weeks later Mother visited the family. The man asked his wife’s mother, “We were wondering, why do you always cut off the end of the rump roast before you roast it?” She replied, “I don’t know. I have never thought about it. My mother always cut off the end of the rump roast, so there must be a reason.” This made them all curious.

PrimeRibRoast5They decided to call the wife’s mother’s mother—the grandmother—to ask her. Grandmother answered the phone. The husband asked her, “Your daughter, granddaughter and I were wondering, why do you always cut off the end of the rump roast before you roast it?” Grandmother replied, “Oh, my roasting pan was too small. I had to cut it off it for it to fit in the pan!”

Many of us have been conditioned to believe that “the state” has all the answers and that a staff of very educated people created the state standards. These educated people, chosen by the state, surely know more than parents know concerning what children need to prepare for life.

There are many good home-school books, support groups and workshops available to help re-condition (un-brainwash) parents who realize that the state system does not work. It does not do a good job of educating our children or evaluating our children— there are better ways. It is possible to train and educate our children while maintaining God-honoring perspectives.

Why do I think there are so many misled parents? For many years, I have presented a monthly workshop for parents interested in home education. Each session included a question-and-answer period. Even though the majority of the parents were considering home-education for religious reasons, the questions asked made it easy to determine that most parents have been indoctrinated with a “public school mentality.”

faqThe most frequently asked questions pertaining to teaching and evaluating home-schooled students are:

  1. How do I find out if my child is required to take the achievement test?
  2. How do I know if I am meeting state standards?
  3. How do I know if the curriculum I am using includes everything on the Achievement Tests?
  4. Shouldn’t I use textbooks, such as the schools use?
  5. What about college?
  6. What about algebra, higher math, and lab sciences?
  7. How will Goals 2000, Outcome-Based Education (OBE), or the new national standards affect the achievement tests?
  8. How do I know that the material I am using will prepare my child for life?
  9. How do I motivate my child to learn?
  10. What about grades?
  11. How do I really know if I am doing enough?

It seems that the state has conditioned many parents to fear teaching their own children. Even the parents looking into teaching kindergarten or first grade at home fear they are not qualified to teach simple things such as the alphabet and basic addition.

Of course, we all want our children to do the best they can do in all areas. But, what is the most important thing you can do to prepare your children for life? Teach him algebra, computer skills, writing skills? In all the workshops I have given I have heard the previous questions over and over. But never once has anyone asked:

  1. How can I find out what God’s will is for my child?
  2. How do I determine my child’s God-given gifts?
  3. How will I know if my child is saved?
  4. What does the Bible say we should teach to our children?
  5. How did godly men and women teach their children in Bible times?

Many people tend to view life as quartered: partly religious, partly educational, partly professional, and partly leisure-oriented. Yet, everything we do, regardless of occupation—home-maker, businessman, ditch digger, dentist—we should do unto our King. We should be praising and acknowledging Him in learning, work, recreation, and worship—in all things. In the same way, our children need to see their lives revolving around our King—their writing, reading, daily routine, studies, experiments, and friendships. We need to renew our minds—consider God’s ways first!

Before planning the school year, reflect and pray. The Bible says that no one builds a tower unless they first consider what is necessary (Luke 14:28).

The primary purpose of education should be to train the whole person for lifelong, obedient service, just as it was in Bible times (home was the center for education then). God never changes. He still has the same desire for us to know Him.

Our first goal must be to teach our children God’s ways and His paths. We home schoolers cannot be so worried about fractions or spelling that we skip the one needful thing: sitting at the feet learning from our Master, through Bible study and prayer. We can prepare our children for whatever direction their gifts and talents lie; however, God may take your child in another direction.

A Christian who is striving to find God’s Will for his life will be equipped in the important traits, prepared for anything in life.

Knowing the facts and scoring high on achievement tests is not a formula for success. The education required by the state is not true education. Christians’ questions should not be, “What score did she get on the achievement test?” or “What job or college is he prepared for?” The questions should be, “Is my child prepared to use the gifts and talents God has given her to carry out His Will in her life? Is this child seriously directed toward holiness, right relationships, and fruitfulness?”

SUMMARY

In our achievement-oriented society, significance or importance is equated with intellectualism. Even Christians tend to evaluate worth on the basis of achievement scores instead of who we are in Christ. Is it right to put our children on a performance scale to measure their worth and significance?

We’ve got to give up cookie cutter academic achievement goals and seek God’s standards. We must view each child as a unique individual (with different gifts and talents). God gave us these precious blessings with an instruction Manual —the Bible. The more familiar we are with the Manual, the more effective we will become in our teaching.

God promises to show us the way when we obey Him. F. B. Meyer writes about Abraham’s obedience, “There is nothing that God will not do for a man who dares to step out upon what seems to be the mist; who then finds rock beneath him as he puts his foot down.”

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This post is an excerpt from What Your Child Needs to Know When: According to the Bible/According to the State

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Socialization Starts at Home

Every once in a while that old question about socialization comes up:  How will your kids learn how to get along with others if they don’t go to school?

Because we all know that siblings come from the womb full of love and eternal patience for one another.  They never argue.  Never glare at one another.  Never annoy each other in any way.  We’re all just one happy family who are never challenged by each other.

{wink}Socialization Starts at Home @The Homeschool Post

From dictionary.com:

so·cial·i·za·tion

noun

  1. a continuing process whereby an individual acquires a personal identity and learns the norms, values, behavior, and social skills appropriate to his or her social position.
  2. the act or process of making socialistic: the socialization of industry.

I think when most people talk about socialization, they are referring to the 1st definition.

Learning how to get along with other people is a part of being human.   It’s a part of learning to be a productive member of society, allowing  us to work, live, play, and have a fulfilling life.

Now, when I was in school, I did have to learn how to deal with other people.  Sometimes it was a matter of self-preservation.  It would have been impossible to avoid the society of others in a building with hundreds of other people.

But my children are also continually learning how to get along with other people.

It happens when the 14-year-old decides to avert his eyes while the 5-year-old attacks her PB&J in her preferred manner (from the top-down and inside-out) instead of sneering at her.

It happens when she decides to eat it the way that’s been modeled for her by her family.

It happens when the 10-year-old gently directs her younger siblings to knock on the door before bursting into her room when she’s changing, instead of screaming bloody murder.

It happens when the next time they actually do knock on the door.

Kids who live together, play together, and learn together also have daily practice in:

  • respecting the differences of others
  • respecting the privacy and personal space of others
  • conflict resolution
  • the consequences of conflict escalation (ahem)
  • compromise
  • repentance and asking for forgiveness.

I’m not saying that children who attend school don’t have the same opportunities, as they surely do.

But the stakes are higher at home.

Your family is a part of you.  Those knuckleheads at the local school may have a lasting impact on your child’s development, but I’ll tell you something—I’m in contact with exactly one person I went to elementary school with and a couple of people I knew in high school  and college (and only in the form of occasional FB comments).  I can choose not to deal with those people if I want.

But family relationships that don’t work out can leave a gaping wound in a person.  It may seem like you can get away right now, but eventually you may want to come back.

Family life is hard.

Extending grace to those who haven’t caught up to you developmentally stretches you.  In a way, homeschooled kids can be naive if they haven’t had to deal with some of the social ugliness that can happen at school…but in other ways, they can be more mature in their ability to accept other kids of different ages.

I won’t lie to you—sometimes they don’t get along at home.

It’s been a bit hairy at our house lately with the teenaged hormones flying around.  The heat and other stressors also come into play.  But in the real world, people sometimes have difficulty getting along.  This is another opportunity to learn.  As difficult as it is to see my kids fighting with each other, I know that we’re on the right track whenever I see them interacting with other people.

The other night we visited with some friends.  Six kids altogether and only four adults.  Yes, we were outnumbered.

But all the kids (ages 5 to 14) played together without incident for over 2 hours while the adults hung out and talked.  This wasn’t a case of the bigs watching the littles, but people being actively engaged with one another and enjoying one another’s company.  The only tiff happened at the very end when everyone was tired and we were getting ready to leave (and it was between two of my kids).

I see daily evidence of my children finding their place in the world.

I see it when they interact with other kids at the pool or park.

When they talk to the lady at the post office.

When they ask the librarian for help locating a book.

I see it when my oldest child leads his fellow Boy Scouts.

My kids are growing up in a safe home environment, not sheltered from dealing with the rest of the world, but supported in their growth.

How do you respond to questions about socialization?

 

Susan Anadale (6 Posts)

Susan is a wife, a mother, a Catholic, a teacher, a writer, a philosopher, a seamstress, a maker of things, an imaginer of worlds...I blog about our lifelong journey through learning at Homeschooling Hearts & Minds (my brain on the web).


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Homeschooling in Ohio, the Buckeye State

Laws for Homeschooling in the Buckeye State

Homeschooling in the Buckeye State, laws and information

Every state is unique in its legal requirements for homeschooling. Homeschooling in the Buckeye State, Ohio, is considered to be a moderate legal requirement state. This is because notification to the local school district is required as well as follow up assessments at the end of the year. It sounds worse than it is. Really.

I’m going to break down each step of the requirements for homeschooling in Ohio so you can see that while moderate, the freedoms written within the law are very beneficial to the homeschooling parent.

When notifying the state of the intention to home educate your child, it is just that –  a notification. It is not a request for permission. While you are required to assert a few stipulations and you must provide a list of curriculum and materials that you plan to use, doing so is used as a reference by the school district. Basically, they need to see that you have some sort of an educational plan.

  • Notification Form 3301-34-02: this is a basic governmental form that allows you to checklist the specific requirements. Include the names of each child as well as their birth date. You are not required to provide a grade level. In lieu of this form, a letter of notification, containing the same information is also valid.
  • Brief outline of the intended curriculum for the current year. (Such outline is for informational purposes only). Submitting this outline, is in no way limiting you to the list only. You have the freedom to change plans throughout the year, and again, you aren’t getting approval for the plan. It is a simple listing of a plan.
  • List of textbooks, correspondence courses, commercial curricula, or other basic teaching materials that the parent intends to use for home education. (Such list is for informational purposes only.) This list of materials is again, simply showing that you have a plan for your homeschool year and you are in no way required to stick to the plan if you find something isn’t working or you want to add to it.
  • Assessment Report form 3301-34-04 for previous year. (If you are homeschooling for the first time, you will not need this report; it is for ongoing home education). An assessment is required at the end of each full year of home education. With an assessment you have 3 separate options.

Option #1: Standardized test results submitted to your district. With this option you can choose to have your child participate in the local school district testing, or you can submit test results from any nationally standardized test. Often co-ops will host a testing day and such results can be submitted. Or you may utilize a standardized test packet at home that is scored via the publisher.

Option #2: Portfolio Assessment. This assessment may be performed by any state certified teacher. Upon review of a portfolio, the teacher signs a document, available from the state Christian Homeschoolers Association, that states the child is working at their level of ability.

Option #3: This is a little known option that allows a homeschool parent to make an alternative arrangement with the superintendent of the local school district.

As you can see, while there are specific requirements for homeschooling in the Buckeye State, there is a lot of flexibility and freedom written into the Ohio homeschool laws. {Tweet That} Ohio is blessed to have an active Christian Home Educators of Ohio association (CHEO) that monitors legislative law, and lobbies on behalf of home educational freedom. There was an additional law passed within the last year that now allows for home educators to participate in public school extra curricular activities without any additional requirements.

Homeschooling in the Buckeye State Learning Opportunities

Ohio is a large state with 88 counties, 3 major cities ( Columbus, Cleveland, and Cincinnati), as well as a wide variety of smaller cities such as Dayton, Toledo, and Akron. From banking to tires and farming to clothing manufacturers the Buckeye State is home to a wide array of businesses and industry. Science and the Arts are also well represented in each corner of  the state; while the history of Ohio has played a key role in much of the nation’s history. Below are a few of the historical reference points.

Homeschooling in the Buckeye stats; Historical Notes about Ohio for Homeschoolers

Photo Courtesy: Flickr.com/photos/jamiedfw (text added)

History Notes for Homeschooling in the Buckeye State

  • Native American History abounds in the state.
  • Ohio was first settled in 1788 in Marietta.
  • The 17th state in the union.
  • Ohio was the front-line for the war of 1812.
  • 8 U.S. Presidents were from Ohio.
  • Ohio was pivotal in the Underground Railroad.
  • Ohio was home to Harriett Beecher Stowe.
  • Ohio’s River Canal System was pivotal in the expansion into the western front.
  • Thomas Edison was born in the Buckeye State.
  • Ohio is the birthplace to the Wright Brothers.
  • Ohio houses the National Airforce Museum.

As you can see Ohio offers a wealth of learning opportunities. Every county, every town and each city is filled with historical museums, theaters, libraries and industry. The educational offerings are endless. That’s why I took it upon myself to write an ebook guide for the state of Ohio concerning homeschooling in the Buckeye State and included links to enhancement class options, co-ops, field trip opportunities and more: Ohio Homeschooling Guide & Directory.

Ohio Homeschooling Guide and Directory

 

 

How about the laws in your state? Are they similar, easier or more involved? Share yours in the comments.

Image Courtesy: Thanks to Philipmartin.com for the Ohio Flag and Buckeye clipart.

Renée (16 Posts)

Renée Brown is author at her personal blog, Great Peace Academy. She is a homeschooling mom to her one amazing son, Jonathan and has been the wife of her Beloved Michael for 21 years. On her blog you will find discussions about her work as a homeschooling mom, her family and her faith.


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