30 September 2009

Testing, Testing...

In addition to some craziness that's been going on behind the scenes at the Mrs. C house, Woodjie must "test" in order to "qualify" for the local special-needs preschool. Um, non-verbal kid? Unable to follow directions? Unable to get a bedtime routine down, let alone start working on the letters of the alphabet and potty thing? That kiddo? We have to "test" him to see "if" he qualifies??

Bleh. We all know he qualifies. Whatever. So my schedule next week is a real bear with four appointments for "testing," six therapy sessions for other children and several doctor appointments for G (bloodwork and stuff. Nothing serious). Throw in a little homeschooling and a couple toddlers and you have...

Me, wondering why I get headaches every night. Why, just when everything is critical, I find the YoVille sweets factory calling me to check the ovens, make a little virtual money, and buy a big-screen TV for my virtual self. Not that I'm escaping or anything, but my place looks reallllly nice on YoVille. :P

We're about done with our Singapore Maths 4B book. We had our last "teaching" lesson yesterday. The rest is review. I'm stretching it out because I want to be sure the concepts we haven't covered in a while are reviewed and clear before we move onto fifth grade. It's hard to believe my just-turned-eight kid is going to go into fifth grade math soon. Well, we'll probably slow it down a bit and start Thanksgivingish. He doesn't need to go to college at twelve.

You know, Emperor is very bright. The odd thing that homeschooling does is develop talents in a child that might be a little uneven. Emperor cannot, for the very life of him, write perfectly neatly. If it became some sort of requirement... he'd fail. Sorry! I'm about ready to just ask him to print everything. If I drag out schoolwork from a few weeks ago, even he cannot read his own writing.

So, it's tough. I've been printing up some interesting little math tests, and they often ask you to show your work when you do the math. Emperor doesn't. There the answer is, almost always correct, written on the line with no work showing whatsoever. And some of these are multistep problems requiring remembering to add, then subtract, then add, then do this or that...

But there is the answer. In fact, it messes him up if he has to write and show his work. He's done before Elf, and there's no answer key to my knowledge. He knows math. Maybe I should start believing the AOL commenters who know kids at the age of nine months who could recite the entire Bible and do Calculus and stuff. Oh, and they coulda entered Yale at three, but there wasn't enough scholarship money so Mom held him back a year.

LOL... ok. I see all kinds of comments like that. And I have to admit I don't really buy 'em. Though I DO think we can have uneven talents and abilities. And I DO think homeschooling can help bring those out. Remember that someday when Woodjie can multiply plenty of things on paper if he still hasn't said "Mama" when he's nine. Maybe he will write me an equation for Mothers' Day or something. You never know.

I'm VERY happy with Singapore Math, though I think Teaching Textbooks might be something to seriously consider as the children get a bit older. (It IS worth your time to click this link and look at some of the Teaching Textbooks samples.) Every now and then, though, I think it's good to expose the children to other curriculum or tests, to get a feel for how other people ask for the same sorts of math from their students. It wouldn't do for my kids to grow up and ONLY understand the question when it's worded as it would be in Singapore Math.

But...

Sometimes the tests are a little problematic. I swore to myself that I would hand the tests over to my children without comment except for laying out the ground rules. No talking. You may use the bathroom without permission but otherwise, please stay in your seats. When you hand in your test, that's it. No corrections once it's in my hand.

Ok.

Here's a question for you: If Jeremy wrote down the numbers 3, 9, 15, 21, 27... what is the next number in the sequence?

"33" written on the answer line. Good job, Emperor. Next question: On the lines below, describe Jeremy's pattern.

"Jeremy's pattern is easy and not quite tricky." I had to laugh. He DID "describe" the pattern, didn't he? And in the next question, he correctly wrote another set of numbers using the same rule (obviously, "add six"). He knows the math. He knows how to "describe." But somehow I think that the NY State people would mark that one wrong. :]

11 comments:

  1. I agree that kids can and do have 'uneven' talents.
    Griffin is a glaring example of that! He is so knowledgable on many many subjects, but when it comes to reading/writing he's so far behind!

    As for Emperor not writing too well.. just let him print it then! Have you ever seen a man who's got beautiful writing? Up to you of course, but if it's causing him grief I say leave it for now....maybe he will get better without the stress of feeling like he can't do it too well.

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  2. LOL John Hancock comes to mind...

    But yeah, it's not the highest priority. Something we work on now and again and hope his little muscles catch up to what he means to say eventually. :]

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  3. MrsC: I am going to have to start reading you when I am properly awake & all coffeed up! lol How I do sympathise. We all know Ditz is mathamatically challenged BUT...every so often she does exactly as Emperor does ~ no working no nothing just the answer & more often than not it's right. I've stopped asking. Her explantations of how she does this spin my head round anti~clockwise!

    As for the handwriting. Put him on the computer. I've had to with Ditz. Shocking handwriting. Her dad says she has a Doctor's handwriting & several people I know who work with *gifted* kids [interpret that however you like] say most have unreadable handwriting.

    The term twice gigted is being used to describe what happens with kids with these uneven learning patterns. I just think homeschooling allows the talents to really shine.

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  4. Ganeida has said it for me.

    Celtic Dingo's writing is APPALLING, but I have had to let that go. Not that we don't work on it, just that it's not the priority it once was.

    I don't have an issue with unevens in education. We all have strengths (talents) and should nurture them.

    You sound like you have alot on your plate. The 'system' and it's testings etc annoy the heck out of me. It's all game playing. We would go through it all, it would be acknowledged that the boys needed intervention, but then I would be told there was no funding :(

    Hugs, prayers and strength to you.

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  5. This is why I finally found a college degree that did not require College Algebra. I can do alegebra and 99% of the time get the right answer, but I can't show the work. It drove my high school alegebra teacher/Vice Principal CRAZY! I can't explain it. Other than that I have no giftings in Math. I wish I had been allowed to focus on my true giftings, rather than struggling so for 5 years (8-12 grades) with math. I think you are doing your children a huge favor! The reality is we all find careers that suit our giftings. I will never be an algebra teacher, but I have half a PhD in psychology. Go figure. Hope that the testing goes well for Woodjie. Let me know about the other--if you need help. Blessings--Bonnie

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  6. You will be in my prayers as Woodjie goes through his testing. I know how hard that is. Christian went to preschool at Easter Seals which was wonderful but I can still remember all the testing to get him in. That is a lot on a little guy. I hope his new school works out well and gives you a little break.
    As for the math I am interested in Teaching Textbooks too esp. for Geometry next year for Tyler. The child can do huge algebra problems in his head but through Geometry at him and he is dumbfounded. We use Saxon now which has went well.
    We continue to work on handwriting too. It took me two years to teach Tyler cursive but mostly I just let him type. It is nice to be able to write well but most things these days are typed and it saves us a lot of additional stress.
    I really hope your week goes well. You sure have a lot to tackle at once. Wish we lived closer and could be of some real help. In the meantime you have my prayers and cyber ((hugs))!

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  7. Didn't Einstein flunk math because he never showed his work?

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  8. I hope that the testing goes well.

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  9. LOL Ganeida, no colour-coding this time...

    Widdle Shamrock, that's what I'm going through with the OLDER kids. The tiny kids are cute and everyone wants to fund toddlers. Gangly teens? Not so much.

    Bonnie, I think that you have a lot of giftings and one of them is your speaking with ladies and praying with them. It won't get you famous, but it endears you to people who need the help. :]

    Bronwyn, thank you and you do know you all are in my prayers, too.

    DF, LOL I hadn't heard that. I heard some story about how he couldn't count change for the bus though. Hard to know if these are stories or true things...

    Thanks, Lisa. If Woodjie suddenly spoke full sentences during the testing, I'd be ok with that, too. The pain in the butt is that short of a miracle, that won't happen.

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  10. "Jeremy's pattern is easy and not quite tricky." [smile]

    I hate tests and their poorly worded questions.

    ~Luke

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  11. Mrs. C., I HIGHLY recommend you get the book "Born on a Blue Day" and read it. It's written by an autisic man in England who has a great math ability. It describes how he sees and works with numbers. Each number, no matter HOW large has a certain SHAPE. If someone gives him a math problem like 3,256 x 1,458,962 = ?, he will still have the answer in less than five seconds. He doesn't do it by CALCULATING, or by SHOWING his work. Instead, he moves the two SHAPES of the numbers together in his mind (exactly like puzzle pieces), where they form a new shape, which is unique to the product answer. He immediately recognizes that shape and can tell you the number name to which that corresponds, thus he has the right answer instantly. There is a lot of other interesting stuff in this book and it is extremely easy to read.

    Best regards,
    Eileen
    Dedicated Elementary Teacher Overseas
    elementaryteacher.wordpress.com

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