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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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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Teaching Kids who Can’t Sit Still

Rascal: 7 years old. Highly imaginative. Fidgety. Fun-loving. Full of energy. Easily distracted. Affectionate. Attention-seeking.

Sound familiar?

He’s the lovable little guy who is smarter than you think but is so wiggly and easily distracted that trying to teach him is…. well,  let’s be honest… sometimes plain torture.

How can we teach these kids who can’t seem to sit still? Here are some ideas that have helped with my irrepressible, spirited Rascal.

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Thoughts and Tips on Teaching Singapore Math

One thing that surprised me about this blog was the wide interest in the Lesson Plans that Simplify Singapore Math. Almost every day, people are downloading the lesson plans. So I decided to share some thoughts and tips on teaching Singapore Math, specifically Primary Mathematics, Standards Ed.

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How to Avoid Homeschooling Burnout – Part 2

In last week’s post, I offered some suggestions about running the school part of homeschooling to avoid homeschool burnout. This week, I want to talk about managing the home part of homeschooling. For many of us, it is not the schooling part that’s throwing us over the edge, it’s the household work and the outside activities that we have to do in addition to educating our children at home.

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How to Avoid Homeschooling Burn Out – Part I

When I was a highschool teacher, I noticed that many teachers would burn out by February. Being a highschool teacher was challenging but it was not nearly as difficult (or rewarding) as homeschooling. In my experience, homeschool burn-out was not something that only happened in the month of February. When my kids were really little, I was often burnt out even by the end of the day!

Granted  I no longer have any toddlers or nursing babies. I can actually sleep at night, and that makes a world of difference. But over the years, I have  also learned that avoiding burn-out really begins at the start of the school year. Here are some tips about managing the school part of homeschooling:

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Screwtape Intercepted: An Angelic Letter for a Homeschool Mom

I hope you enjoyed last week’s post, Screwtape Letter for a Homeschool Mom.  I wanted to write an Angelic letter as well, because as Lewis put it:

Ideally, Screwtape’s advice to Wormwood should have been balanced by archangelical advice to the patient’s guardian angel. Without this the picture of human life is lop-sided. But who could supply the deficiency? Even if a man – and he would have to be a far better man than I – could scale the spiritual heights required, what ‘answerable style’ could he use?

Of course, there is no way I can scale the spiritual heights required, and I have no ‘answerable style’. But since this is just between friends and just for fun and encouragement, I thought I’d give it a try. Here it is:

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