Lessons from the 36th Week

Posted on

We have come to the end of another school year at home – our seventh. Two more years and poof, our eldest will be in high school. Time flies when you are having fun.

Thesaurus and Boy

Learning to work with a thesaurus

This week, we received news that they canceled the nationally standardized test our children take at our umbrella school. In a way, I felt relief. But in another way, I felt robbed of the opportunity to check where our children have managed to arrive in their studies. Continue reading »

Standardized Test

Posted on

Last week, the kiddos took their annual standardized achievement test. We have done this for five years now. Our umbrella school makes it optional for first grade, but they ask that you bring them in for testing starting in second grade and on.

Well, we wanted them tested in first grade, too. There is a lot of water under the bridge between kindergarten and second grade. So we have been doing it for five years and use the results to help us in planning the following school year.

Boy and girl in front of evergreens

They were very relaxed before the test.

We do not stress too much about this test. Of course, we prepare for it, but we do not make it into a big deal. It is an assessment of their mastery of different learning objectives. As such, it paints a picture of growth areas and strengths. Continue reading »

Standardized Testing

Posted on

Last week, my children took their annual standardized tests at our umbrella school in Knoxville. In Tennessee, one can sign up under the local school district, or with an umbrella school. Umbrella schools come in different shapes, forms and sizes. Some are remote places that will not require much of you in exchange for the piece of paper which shows that you are not truant.

Terra Nova 3 test prep materials

Test Prep books we used – our test is called Terra Nova 3.

Others are local brick-and-mortar schools with a homeschool umbrella program. As such, they will give your child a diploma when high school graduation comes around. The diploma will not even mention the word “homeschool,” which makes the umbrella school hold parents to a high standard. Many such local umbrella schools require annual testing.  Continue reading »

Thoughtful Thursday Week 17 – Test Results

Posted on

We received our son’s Terra Nova 3 test scores and we were very pleased. His scores were excellent, way above the national average and showing that he does work beyond his grade level. We are very proud of him indeed. We will continue doing what we have been doing.

Thoughtful Thursday - Test Results

We learned several things from his test scores. Even though he did not score low in any one objective, he scored lower in some objectives and higher in others. Looking back at our school year, some of the scores surprised me and others confirmed what I already knew about him; all the more reason to keep testing every year.

We are not in this situation, but we know that if a child tests lower than expected, we should all consider several reasons. It could be that the child has never learned the subject matter presented on the test. Or, perhaps, the child never really understood what was taught to him. Last but not least, the child may know the subject, but he may very well just be so nervous about the test, that he freezes and forgets the answers.

All this to say that tests are good tools to assess where your child is, where you are, where you need to grow.

Thoughtful Thursday Week 12 – Standardized Testing

Posted on

In the US, one cannot go very far in an educational quest before coming face to face with the concept of standardized testing. My son is enrolled under the umbrella of Berean Christian School Homeschool Program. In the state of Tennessee, where we live, umbrella schools mean something very different from California, for instance. Umbrella schools in Tennessee simply keep your cumulative record and administer standardized testing. Some will offer more assistance than others.

I interviewed several in my area and Providence seemed to be directing me to Berean. The coordinator for K-8th is Lisa Lee, a teacher by profession who homeschooled her own children in the 90s. After a few interactions with her, I knew I wanted to place our homeschool in her hands.


Homeschoolers under the Berean umbrella program must test every year at the school, starting in the second grade. Testing is available, albeit optional for first grade. We decided we wanted our son tested in the first grade because:

  • We can. Really. Why not?
  • I want to know how I am doing.
  • I also want to know if my son can handle a test.
  • I want to find out if my son does work on his grade level, higher, or lower.

Continue reading »