This Shouldn’t Have To Have to Happen to a Homeschooling Momma!


(but FIRST…let me reassure you about the news flash you might have heard online or on TV about the sudden sickness that our female sugar glider barely conquered the other day! giggle
But…after Jim, Zane, and I hand-fed and watered her, rubbed her belly until she was conscious again, and Zane and Jim held quite a vigil for her….she came around! Phew.
Tell me that that last picture doesn’t scream “LOVE!”. My animal-luvin Zane has the sick female sugar glider sitting on his shoulder and the male one inside the “pouch” around his neck so she “feels better with him around.”  Adorable I think …. !!!)

Well. Anyways….

MERCY!

My shoulders are knotted.

My knuckles are still white.

My eyes crossed.

Finger’s crossed.

Still sitting on the edge of my seat even.

DIAGNOSTIC TESTING…for my ‘STUDENTS’. Yup. That’s the reason.

I am SURE it took 15 years off the end of my life today.

If the ‘students’ don’t do well…the finger isn’t necessarily pointed at THEM…but QUICKLY at the ‘teacher’ in a homeschooling situation. (thus the knotted stomach, creased brow, and finger drumming today).

Because…I mean…really….how could “Andrea, a Mom who isn’t trained as a “Teacher”, actually teach her kids successfully?  If the kids’ test scores are not up to “par”… the reflection in that is MINE.  (pressure anyone?)

I understand traditionally-schooled kidlets have standardized and/or diagnostic testing yearly. But, if the results do not come back as good as expected, entire teaching methods are not questioned as it can be by those monitoring a homeschooling family.  
No, unhappy results for a traditionally-schooled kiddos, though upsetting, do not usually result in one person being singled out as “in error”.
As a result, even though it was Trey & Chase who were being tested, it felt ALOT like it was ME, the teacher, on the hot seat. And, in all honesty, it sorta was and, truthfully, sorta should be.  But it was NOT a fun spot to sit in.

I did not want to ‘stress’ the boys out….though I have to admit that a slight part of me, “the loud and cray part” DID want to sorta get in their cute little faces and MAKE SURE they knew how IMPORTANT it was to FOCUS and REALLY TRY HARD…like REALLY HARD BOYS! smile

I managed to control the inner “Crazy Andrea” and refrain from terrifying them about this testing process; however, I did let them know the seriousness of the testing but it was because “if you don’t try as hard as you can on these tests, you will be stuck relearning things you might really already understand and you will be oh so bored!” 

Some of you are wondering “What’s the big deal? Kids are tested every year, if not every semester. Everyone is used to this.”

Hmmmnnn…Well, not in our school. (nor does Indiana state law require that we do.)

In fact, we purposefully do NOT “test” our kids (in the traditional sense) until they hit the higher grade levels…such as 6th and over.

I have given the boys tests to see where there are ‘gaps’ in their understanding (IE in their reading abilities, comprehension, etc) but it is never a ‘stressful’ time. 
Those tests are used more for my purposes to see where the kids’ strengths and weaknesses are and address them accordingly.
(For instance, several years ago, Chase, after a diagnostic reading test that was only seen by me, scored low in some areas. As a result, I got him some private tutoring in that area to get him caught up. However, he never knew he scored “low”. He just knew that I wanted him to read with more ease.)

Jim and I, in regards to our kids’ educations, want the ‘love of learning’ to be STRESSED not “test-taking”.  
I do not ‘teach to the test’.  
I do not grade every assignment (in the early years). 
I stress enjoyable moments during learning…. not meeting broad-scale benchmarks set by large institutions that may or may not reflect my kids’ abilities.

HOWEVER, the real world DOES invade my perfectly- little-sealed-box of educating sometimes :)

I realize the VALUE of, once they reach a reasonable age, having some additional accountability and documentation of their education so that, upon graduation, my ‘students’ are equipped, not only via experience and knowledge, but all via degrees and transcripts to do whatever they may be led to do!

Enter testing :)   
Testing that “others” see.  
Testing scores that are submitted for record-keeping purposes to a private, long distance learning institution that will issue transcripts, diplomas, etc.  (scream EEK!)

Which brings us back to why I was so white-knuckled as the boys tested today.

What if, even though Chase has enhanced his leadership skills in continuous yet intangible ways and he can function very well in a different culture, he scores at the fourth grade level for Spelling?  

What if, even though Trey has conquered his tendency towards “shyness” via various life skills and is now quite confident in front of a group and in meeting new people,  he tests at the second grade level in regards to Math?

Jim and I see our kids from a 365 degree view….but a test only sees them from one, very small, angle.

But, again, it is a necessary requirement in our western society and we needed to step up to the plate and introduce these types of measuring sticks into our kids’ learning environment.

The testing took most of today…and it will take alot of tomorrow.  

During the testing today, at the kitchen table, via an online resource, we three, the two students and the teacher, experienced confusion/relief/tears/smiles/happiness. The tears were NOT mine btw…but experienced by a hungry 6th grader who needed lunch :)

It was EXHAUSTING (for me!)

And for the boys….I suppose. (ha)

HOWEVER…so far…so good!  

Someone give me a big ol’ SHEW & PHEW !  
I think tomorrow will be less stressful as I have already seen some of the grades and told the boys they are doing fabulous and a lot of the “pressure” is off.

They are not testing at second grade levels :P    
They are both (pretty much) right on target (with some areas being slightly below, some average, some a little high).  Happily….that seems pretty normal to me. Who knew? We ARE NORMAL!?!
Holy heck what a relief for THIS teachin’ Momma.  

However, I am not sure I will ever get those years back that the testing experience took from me today! 

We are entering our 10th year of homeschooling…..How? I have NO idea :)  
Never expected my life to go this way but am certainly thrilled beyond measure that it has….

Okay..Okay..One more thing!
SORTA a MAJOR life moment for me last weekend…
I had my FIRST “GALLERY ART SHOW” !!
The whole thing came together really quick…just before the gallery’s grand opening (happily for me!).
Here are some pics of the event…
And, AGAIN, this was an experience that I muddled through with more white knuckles and tense shoulders but was glad I sucked it up and went for it….
Was I nervous having the gallery owner audit my creations and decide if they fit with the gallery idea? OH MY YES. 
Was I nervous as he “picked through” my art for the pieces that he felt compelled towards? What do YOU think? 
(really…though…the guy was SOOOO incredibly nice and kind…I could NOT have asked for a better ‘first’ gallery show experience….)

But…Just like the dang testing…I was happy to have muddled through it when it was all over!



I didn’t know what to do with myself as people came to the opening…looked at my art…talked about it in front of me (without knowing I was the artist of those pieces most of the time) etc…but, with the help of my hubby, friends, and family supporting me…I survived :)

So, my ‘students’ and I have all been duly ‘evaluated’ lately :)  

And, as a result, since I blogged last Thursday…I have SURELY lost at LEAST 20 years of my life via nerves…but…it’s all been worth it :)

Andrea

3 thoughts on “This Shouldn’t Have To Have to Happen to a Homeschooling Momma!

  1. Oh sweet heaven! I so get what you are saying about the anxiety for Mom at testing! YIKES! CRAZY DAISY! Glad things are looking good. We have math stuff to catch-up on for my younger guys, but it’s all gonna work out. Glad the lil girl glider is okay! Oh and so excited about your gallery experience! Totally wish I could have come to see you! You looked gorgeous and I love the tree canvases!

  2. That would be stressful doing that testing but great news the boys are doing well!

    And how exciting about your art in the gallery…thanks for the pics. I love the set of 4! How clever are you!!

    And glad the little sugar glider is ok now.

    Anna

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