Testing, purpose and how to for Doha.

by Darla on December 3, 2006

in Home Education

Testing, what is that?

Our latest homeschool group meeting was a question and answer type activity.  So many were new we thought there would be lots of questions.  We also had a few minutes to share our favorite books.  Almost all our books and curriculum are shipped into the country.  It is difficult sometimes to know what to purchase and if you are purchasing a good book.  So thus the book review was born.

Here is a newsletter that resulted from our meeting but thought it had great information.   This was co-authored with a friend who helped with editing.

We were able to shed some light on several homeschooling questions during the meeting last month.  We had good questions, good answers, good food and good company.   We had some great book suggestions that I will share towards the end of the summary.  On to the questions:

1.  Does anyone use Jubilee Academy?  This is an online Christian curriculum.

http://www.thejubileeacademy.org/ Discussion followed of both pros and cons of this approach.

Interested in adding some online courses to your studies or a complete curriculum?  Here are a few websites to get you started.


Switched on Schoolhouse is their online program.  You can request a demo disk.


We used this program through a charter school for 2 years and

really thought they were very professional people to work with.  High quality courses.




http://www.oakmeadow.com/ (hands on with lots of projects)


2.  Testing.  This particular question covered both achievement,

diagnostic and placement testing.  First the differences.

Achievement testing: usually a test that local school districts use to determine whether or not a child is on level with his peers across the nation.  (I am guessing that different countries use different ones just not sure about this.)  A child taking this test should eliminate the most obvious wrong answers and then take a best guess.

Diagnostic:  Used to determine just how much a child knows.  A child taking this test will usually not be able complete all the questions as they run across several grade levels.

Placement tests:  Again used by schools or specific curriculum providers to help you know which book to start your child.  If your child is bored or struggling with a program you might want to start here as most curriculum providers offer these for free from their main


Saxon Publishers has one for their materials.  I also believe that www.sonlight.com has links to many of the different providers when you look at the grade level.  Some curriculum even though it is labeled a particular grade level maybe more or less advanced that what you are

accustomed.  I try to give the evaluations before I purchase.  Sometimes that is all it takes to determine whether or not it will work for a particular child.

This website lists just about everything you could possibly want to know about testing.  How to improve your scores and where to order testing materials.


3.  We are approaching or are in the high school years.  What about diplomas, record keeping, what do you include in a portfolio….  How do you prove they have done what you say they have.   While all of these are questions that may be some distance off it is easier to look into these things well before they enter the freshman year of school.  More often than not the middle school years need to be looked at as well to determine what kind of math classes they have taken etc.

Here are a couple good websites that help with some of those questions.  Both had good things to offer.



Check the above site for a  review by Diane Flynn Keith of Bear’s Guide which was discussed at our meeting.  This book may be obtained through www.amazon.com or other home school curriculum providers.

Book reviews:

The idea was to bring a child’s or adult book that you really enjoy.  Could be fiction or non-fiction and share what you liked most.  We had quite an offering.

Shel Silverstein any of his poetry is fabulous.  Pick one and settle in with a laugh.  Our family has worked through a series of his books all ready.  The binding fell off and when we couldn’t find some of the pages we knew it was time to get another set.  My children fell in love with poetry and continue to enjoy it because of his influence.

Dan’s Angel, by Alexander Sturgis, is a story about a young boy, Dan, who wants to be a detective.  After skateboarding into an art gallery, Dan and the angel Gabriel who “Flapped out of his painting,” enjoy an afternoon of detective work exploring and “uncovering the mysteries”

of some of the world’s great paintings by Rembrandt, Lorrain, DeGoya, Botticelli, Van Gogh, etc.  It doesn’t take long “before Dan is speaking the hidden language of Symbols in art.”  The author is the Exhibition and Program Curator at the National Gallery in London.

(Kane/Miller Book Publishers)

Come Look With Me series (Animals in Art; Enjoying Art with Children; American Indian Art: Art in Early America; Exploring Modern Art; World of Play; Exploring Landscape Art with Children; The Artist at Work), which are interactive art books, were inspired by Gladys Blizzard who was an experience art teacher and curator of education at the Bayly Art Museum at the University of Virginia.  She introduced the idea of enjoying art with children, in the first four books of the series, after being inspired by her experiences with her own grandchildren…she called it the “pleasure of shared experience.”  (Lickle Publishing)

The new Charlotte’s Web movie received two thumbs up.

A Baker’s Dozen of Dr. Seuss stories.  This collection of 13  Dr. Seuss stories sheds light on the context, history and life of the famous Dr. Seuss. Dr. Seuss, a political cartoonist during his time,

wrote his stories to target political and morality issues but creatively placed them in stories and contexts which everyone could comprehend. For example, Suess’s “Yertle the Turtle” was written by Suess to shed light on a very real situation about Hitler’s regime and the inhumane treatment of others. Dr. Suess, stories not JUST for kids


The Bible, a book that is near and dear to the heart.

Units of Study for teaching Writing by Lucy Calkins

Lucy Calkins and her colleagues have helped hundreds of thousands of teachers take their first forays into the teaching of writing. Now they have written an unprecedented series of books on Units of Study for a yearlong writing curriculum. Get easy access to the magic of their  transformative teaching. Enjoy minute-by-minute, live-from-the-classroom coaching as Lucy and colleagues show you how to refine your lessons to do justice to the curious minds that you

teach. In each Unit of Study, these teacher/authors detail their goals, share the assessment rubric that guides their practice, and even provide the exact words of their teaching. Learn more about Units of Study for Primary Writing by visiting www.unitsofstudy.com where

you can review the tables of contents, download a sample session, rubric and conference! Learn more about firsthand.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: