To Test or Not to Test? Homeschooling and Standardized Testing

With the advent of Spring, our school year is beginning to wind down. I begin to think about books we want to read this summer and next year’s curriculum. But first I remind myself, “It’s time to order those tests.”

Standardized testing. Some states require testing, and others don’t. For those of us who are privileged enough to be given the choice, the decision is worth consideration. If not required, should we make our homeschooled children take standardized tests? What are the pros and cons?

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Hey Tiger Mom, Tired of Being Tough?

Have you ever heard of The Battle Hymn of The Tiger Mother by Amy Chua? A controversial New York Times best-seller, it tells the story of a Chinese Yale professor who raises her children “the Chinese way”. I have not read the book, but I am well acquainted with this Chinese way. When I taught piano back in the days when I was single, I had several Chinese students who were being raised by Tiger Mothers. These kids were amazing. They were respectful and hard working.  They listened carefully to everything I  told them and were very diligent about practicing exactly the way I instructed them to, every day, seven days a week. No wonder they made rapid progress and performed beautifully. I loved teaching the children of Tiger moms. They were dream students.

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Practice Makes Perfect

When my oldest daughter, The Musician, was 4 years old, she came to me and said, “I am going to need a little violin and a little stick.”  She wanted to take violin lessons so badly that it was all she talked about for weeks on end.  Seeing visions of the New York Philharmonic in my mind, I dutifully signed her up for lessons.  Everything went very smoothly for about 6 months.  She willingly practiced every day, sometimes even twice. Getting her instrument out of its case brought joy and happiness.  After her first concert, she came home beaming and even more excited.

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The Parable of the Good Shepherd According to Calvin and Hobbes

I just had to share this one with you. My kids really enjoy reading Calvin and Hobbes. I think they relate to Calvin’s over-blown imagination and boundless energy. Inspired by this wacky and lovable cartoon character, Big-Sis and my niece drew this for a church youth group project:

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Loving the Difficult Child

Once in a while, one of my kids fall into a funk – a period of negativity and difficult behavior which makes parenting, especially homeschooling, a real challenge. When this happens, not only do I feel sorrow for my child, but I also feel discouraged and inadequate. And yet, I know that this is a common experience among parents.

Perhaps it’s a hyper-sensitive  child who  whines and cries over the smallest vexations. Perhaps it’s a strong-willed child who fights you tooth and nail whenever you tell him to do something. Perhaps it’s that hormonal middle schooler, who has suddenly become moody, disrespectful, and ultra-critical. Or perhaps it’s a child whose health issues makes her irritable and crabby.

Whatever the situation, although you know deep-down that you love this child, there are times when it can be a real challenge to be patient and loving. So what can we do?

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Free Classic Literature Guides!

When my oldest daughter entered middle school, I wanted to discuss the books she was reading.   When I was a kid, I loved to read and even more, I loved to discuss the books I was reading.  It helped me to discover details that I missed and look at the story from a little different perspective.   So I began a quest to find curriculum that would serve as a basis for these discussions.  Kolbe Academy has an extensive literature program with reading comprehension questions as well as paper ideas.   Rainbow Resource has Christian Novel Studies that include questions, vocabulary, recipes (in some cases), and background information.  I own parts of each of these program, but for sheer money-saving purposes, I felt that I needed to write some of my own.

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Preparing Your Child for First Holy Communion

This spring Rascal will be receiving his First Holy Communion. Happy, happy thought! So I thought I’d share with you some ideas and resources that help prepare our children’s minds, hearts, and souls for the most  blessed event of their childhood: their first Holy Communion.

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Evangelizing Our Children with Joy!

It is with great happiness and excitement that I announce the debut of my new book  Evangelizing Our Children with Joy, released by Scepter Publishers. This book is all about raising our children to be saints despite our own shortcomings and tribulations

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