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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Week Two of homeschooling

Homeschooling is going rather well, thank you. I've learned that the best way to not try my patience is to simply let them take their time and not push them. Amazingly enough, they get done faster that way. Even with the spacing off and distraction, if I just gently remind them that we are in school right now, instead of nag them about it, they get their work done at a faster pace.

And I realized today that they are not at all behind in Math. The Math program we are using is a British Math program, which means they are one grade level ahead of our Math programs here in the States. So what is 4th grade level in the British program, is 5th grade level in the US program. So that means my boys are doing the same grade level they were doing when I pulled them out of school. Not TOO important, it's just nice to know they weren't as far behind as we thought they were, they just needed fewer distractions and the ability to work at their own pace.
I'm also excited about a hearing for a homeschooling bill that homeschoolers WANT to pass here in Oregon. Currently, Oregon homeschoolers are required to take the state issued exams at certain intervals. The problem with this is that if the child falls below what the Educational School District has deemed appropriate, you risk having to put them back in school. There is a little bit of leniency and time to bring their scores back up, but it's still not reasonable enough.

The new bill that I PRAY passes would negate the homeschoolers requirement to take those intervalled state issued tests. You can take them privately if you like, but you wouldn't be required to take them at those intervals (or at all, for that matter). And I think that would be WONDERFUL, because in order to get a "decent" score on those tests, you have to have learned all those things in those tests for one thing. Public school teachers teach for the tests, not for retention. Or they teach the kids how to guess their answers, and the kids never REALLY learn anything.

For another thing, my kids are NOT test takers. They're like me and flake at the sight of a test. Oh sure, when I was their ages I did the Iowa tests excellently, scoring well into high school, sometimes college, with some of them (Reading, mostly). But not all kids are test takers. It doesn't mean they aren't LEARNING, it means they can't test. Too much pressure shuts them down.

Thirdly, I am letting them learn at their own pace, with minimal pushing. They continue to learn, but it's not rushed so they learn a certain thing by a certain time. As long as they learn what they need to know by high school in order to take high school level courses, it is all good. And they will, but they will learn to RETAIN, not to pass a test.