Every year in March, we take the kids to Berean Christian School in Knoxville for the Terra Nova 3 nationally standardized test. In Tennessee, one must be registered with an umbrella school. We chose Berean for several reasons, but mainly because we trust the two coordinators.
Ed and Lisa Lee are a husband and wife team who homeschooled their children in the 80s and 90s, when it was not cool to homeschool. They were called to this ministry of coordinating the Berean Homeschool Umbrella program and have been doing so for many years now.
Lisa coordinates the K-8 program and Ed covers the high school years. Berean will issue not just transcripts for us, but also a high school diploma that does not have the word homeschool in it. Instead, the high school years are called ISP, i.e. Independent Study Program.
The Lees are wonderful Christian people who love children and homeschooling. They are a pleasure to speak with and they help out with not just administration, but also planning and educational counseling, if needed.
About 800 homeschoolers are registered under Berean’s umbrella program and the Lees do not want to take any more. They want to make sure they have enough time to know everybody by name and to understand every family’s particular homeschool, so they can serve them better.
By the way, Berean is only one of six Christian academies in Knoxville which operate a homeschool umbrella program. They all have hundreds and hundreds of homeschoolers.
When we had to test, the Berean campus buzzed for four days. When the day school goes on spring break, the homeschoolers show up for testing. There are two sessions, Mon-Tues and Wed-Th. In each session, you can choose to test in the morning or in the afternoon. So, really, there are four choices.
We receive the dates one year in advance, so we can solicit a particular session if we know we will have a conflict. Sometimes we can even switch at the last minute, as others need to switch as well.
My children enjoy testing. They get a bit nervous, of course, but I tell them, “Show what you know. There will be no consequences for a lower percentile. This test helps you learn how to take tests and it helps me know if we are covering the right materials.”
We celebrate by doing something fun afterwards and then our spring break begins. This year, we went to see Carmina Burana at the Tennessee Theater. OK. I loved it more than they did, but that’s to be expected.