Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Math Assessment

Some homeschoolers opt to work with local school districts, buy packaged curriculum or find help from any number of sources. I find a lot of my help online through a wide variety of agencies including (but certainly not limited to) the state's department of education. While we currently homeschool, there's no telling what the future will bring, so I keep an eye on state standards. I rest assured that, if/when our girls attend the modern traditional school, they won't be caught off guard.

On that note, this week I printed out the California math standards assessment for third grade and first grade. (The grades they would start next fall.) Each day, the girls are work their way through a little more of the 1/4-ream of paper the assessment requires, and I take notes on the areas that need work, and the new (to them, so far) concepts. I don't grade the assessment or give a score (though V will do just about any amount of math in exchange for a unique smiley face), but use it as a tool to help me see where we may have been lacking. Still, I remind myself that we're looking at NEXT year's grade level, and I remind them, too.

With the help of one of the sisters, I discovered some holes in the older girls' language arts skills. While we've covered a lot of spelling through our various activities, it never occurred to me to go over the spelling of colors and numbers! Since the oldest one can read just about anything now, it seemed a given that she'd have these basic words down. Well, a quick review over the course of a couple of days took care of it...I think. ;)

So, what's up with us in coming weeks? Well, our interactive history lessons will kick up a notch. During our Stone Age lessons, we built cave dioramas in our garden, learned to build fire (and just how tough that could be if you let your coals die out), began making pottery and built a bow & arrow. The girls made their own simple dresses, and the oldest went on a bear hunt. As we discussed Ancient Times, we visited museums with ancient wares still in amazingly fantastic condition, but with avid readers, we fell out of our hands-on tradition a bit more than any of us liked. So, stay tuned for news about our Medieval Adventures as we march forward in time.

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