April 30, 2011

A time of testing...

It’s that time of our school year when I set aside a handful of days for the administration of standardized tests.  As homeschoolers, one of the requirements expected of us by the state in which we live is to have each child tested to ensure that they have made sufficient academic progress over the past year.  I do my best to keep the kids from feeling any unnecessary stress about this part of school, making clear to them how well it always goes for them, and that we’re simply fulfilling our responsibility in compliance with the law.
As much as I have no objection to such a requirement, I also have no misunderstanding that these tests will fully demonstrate what my children have learned this year.  It will measure their progress in reading, math, etc. with some degree of accuracy since the same time last year, but it doesn’t begin to describe their growth, achievement, and learning.  A printed packet of what they’ve learned would have to include hundreds of photos of all their experiences as well as detailed accounts of those moments of awakening to a new idea or grasping a concept with excitement.  Even then it would only scratch the surface of what our children have learned this year from books, from their parents, from each other, and from life experiences.
But the school district does not require such an accounting of our year, nor would they likely appreciate a package that size being stuffed into their mailbox.  I also do not have the time nor the inclination to share such an exhaustive account.  But I will take this opportunity in this simple forum to share a small sample of what my kids have learned this year, things that won’t be revealed by filling in dots on tests of vocabulary and mathematics…

How to care for a wounded baby bird

How to ride a bike

How to knit

How to play a friendly game of poker

How to shoot pool when you're only four feet tall

What things are like underground

What things were like 150 years ago

How to build an airplane

And how to fly one too:


  1. Did you go to Luray? We went last summer for the first time.

  2. Yes, that's Luray in that picture. Wasn't that a wonderful place? We loved it!