Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Finals Week {+ Annual Testing}

It's that time of year again~time for our home school students' annual standardized tests.  Coinciding with Zachary's final final exams for high school (at the community college), our household theme this week is EXAMINATION.

The ONE law for home schooling in Washington State requires every home school to provide annual assessment for each student of the compulsory attendance age (8+).  This testing and the mandatory form filed with our local school district each school year formally declaring our intent to provide home based education are only things we are bound by law to do as home schoolers in Washington State. I guess there could also be a law requiring us to feed and water our students and provide them recess, but I've never seen it in print.

So long as we home school teachers here in Washington have either a year of post high school education or have completed a home schooling certification course, we are deemed worthy by the powers that be to provide our children with a custom home-based education in whatever way we see fit.  So far we're seeing great results academically, socially, morally, and corporeally with our own eclectic Catholic home school program which we continually adapt according to each student's needs and interests (with an ever sharper eye on university entrance requirements thanks to Zachary's recent college application process).

The results of our students' tests are ours to keep and do not go anywhere other than into a file cabinet for proof that the tests were completed.  Often, the tests reveal what we already know in terms of which subjects are strengths and which are weaknesses.  For example in about 5th grade when Zachary dipped a few percentile points in the math computation section, we decided it was time to start using a math curriculum. 

When the timer goes off, the boys depart rapidly from the testing table (otherwise known as the dining room table) and enjoy a bit of mayhem (or a snack) before I call them in to report for the next section.  They take their tests as they spend their school days ~ doggy distractions, neighborhood noise, etc.  When the annual tests are completed, the boys current grade level 'officially' ends and the new grade level begins.  This means I am about to have another high school student as Joseph wraps up the final days of his 8th grade year and launches into the realm of Freshman.  Peter will complete 6th grade and move up into the 7th.  Zac will begin packing for his first year at the University of Notre Dame, and his years of home school formally come to an end this Friday as he graduates in a cap and gown from Whatcom Community College having completed his high school (home school) diploma and his AA degree.

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