Thursday, May 21, 2009

testing, testing.... 1.2.3....

It was testing week in our house. In Illinois we're not required to do testing, but I do it just for our own records each year. We use the CAT/5 test... just because (I really don't have a good reason). :-)

I really wonder some times why I do this each year. I'm not exactly sure how much stock I put in a standardized test as a measure of what my children know. But I feel compelled to do this every spring.... something that will give me some form of "official documentation" that we're doing okay. It is incredibly exciting and extremely frustrating to administer these tests. You sit there and watch them get questions right that you expected them to miss and miss some you expected them to get. It's hard to keep quiet... but I do. I even managed to complete the crossword puzzle from the Trib the other day... something I hadn't done in months!

We finished today. I just have to mark my back-up answer sheet and send it off tomorrow.

It's funny to see how the general school population's scope and sequence for science and history/social studies varies from what we have covered. Even Alex's test was mainly about the community, with the only history really being the pilgrims, Christopher Columbus (which he's not so sure about after reading a book he just got at the library) and George Washington. The science seemed to have a lot about good nutrition and pollution/environmental issues. It's just interesting.

I've been saving this part until the last because I wasn't sure if I was even going to blog about it. But, in the interest of being open and honest, I will.

Taking this test brought to light some issues with this one...
... that have been plaguing me for a while. She's different... she's an "unconventional learner". She has flashes of brilliance that will utterly amaze you at times.... and then other times she'll be completely stumped by the simplest of concepts.

On her subtraction portion of her test today she aced it.... however I cannot make heads or tails out of HOW she got her answers. I watched her work on her scratch paper and what she did makes no sense to me.... but somehow it does for her.

She learned to write and read early.... but has completely stalled out. I'm not sure either is any better than it was this time last year. Although, last year she was ahead of her peers, this year she's on par.

I have to tell you, after we spent entirely too much time arguing about what it means to "fill in the circle" and what they meant by "dark" in regards to the marks she was supposed to make.... I found it rather therapeutic to spend the rest of the day researching schools to send her to next year. It was eyeopening.

I came to the conclusion that she will not be going to school next year. She doesn't want to go, she wants to be homeschooled and each spring we give them each the choice about the upcoming school year. I also can't send the message to her that "the good child" gets to stay home with me all day, while I'm sending her, "the problem child" away. I need to do this the right way.

So armed with the cost of the private school we would most likely send her to (if we were to send her)... I started researching tutors. Right off the bat, I began communicating with an occupational therapist who is a handwriting specialist. Clara will have an evaluation with her in about two weeks, then we'll go from there. I'm also looking to have a learning assessment done. I have heard that we can have this done through the neighborhood school, even if we are not enrolled in the public school system. If not, I have found another place that will do it and they take our insurance. Pricing out tutors and such, we can still come in well under what the private school tuition would be, still allowing her to be home with us but getting the help she needs.

It's been an emotional week... but after hitting the bottom, I've bounced back and I'm excited that we have a plan.... a plan that's on the path to figuring out what makes her tick and will help her unlock her potential (that sounded a little cheesy didn't it... but you know what I mean).

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