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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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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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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Family Funnies

Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year! One of my favorite parts of the Christmas season is receiving Christmas cards, photos, and letters from family and friends. To return the joy, we have made it a tradition to send out a family newsletter each Christmas, in which we include the amusing things our kids have said during the year. Kids can be so hilarious. Here are some of the Cooney and Clement Family Funnies:

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Books to Give Your Kids this Christmas

Around this time of year as I think about Christmas shopping, I know I have to tackle the toy closet in order to make room for more stuff. However,  one look at our toy storage, which is a dangerous undertaking, makes me want to revolt against plastic toys, toys that need batteries, toys with a million little pieces, and toys in general. The thought of having to buy even more toys makes me feel like this:

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