Most of the time, our homeschool days bear very little similarity to my days as a public-school teacher. Oh yes, we read ‘n write ‘n cipher… but it’s one-on-one (plus a little sister and a baby sister underfoot) so it’s different. Jonas FLIES through some coursework and we linger in other areas. We do a lot of learning “off the record” when a snippet of information he picked up somewhere sparks his curiosity and he wants to know more.
But today was the first day of Jonas’ very first standardized testing, and it was so odd to have this part of my “old life” show up here. As a credentialed teacher, I was certified to administer the ITBS test in our home. The state of Kentucky doesn’t actually require standardized testing for homeschoolers, and because of Jonas’ age he isn’t technically registered as homeschooler yet anyway. (KY requires reporting from ages 6-16; since Jonas turned six in February, this coming fall will be the first year we will need to report to our school system as homeschoolers.) However, we decided that we’d like to see where he tests in terms of grade-level, both for our own information –are there any areas where I might have a ‘blind spot’ that he needs improvement?– and in case we need documention in the future if we choose to enroll him in a public or private school. So, we ordered the first grade level exam and picked a date to begin.
Of course, there are still some differences when doing this test at home; passing out test booklets and pencils to ONE kid instead of twenty goes much faster. And we only had to wait until Jonas finished each section before moving ahead to the next (in a classroom, I’m pretty sure he’d be like I was at that age: first one finished, twiddling his thumbs until he could finally move on when the rest of the group was done).
It’s also okay for him to talk aloud during the test, because he won’t be giving away the answers to anyone else. Halfway down page 3, for example, he bubbled in his answer and exclaimed happily, “This is SO MUCH FUN!”
We completed vocabulary, word analysis, listening skills, and reading today. There are still several sections in to go: language, mathematics (math concepts and computation), science, social studies, and information resources. We’ll be testing tomorrow and, if needed, Friday. Then we’ll mail off the booklets and wait for his scores.