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Testing Options for Homeschooling

Last week I wrote about the homeschool Written Assessment option if you are interested in learning more about that. This week I am addressing Option 1 for yearly assessments: testing. The requirement is that you must have your student take a nationally normed test. There are several from which to choose: California Achievement Test; The IOWA Test of Basic Skills, and the Stanford Achievement Test. I located a comprehensive comparison chart so you can determine which test is best for your family’s needs. Standardized Tests Comparison Chart.

Here are some things to keep in mind when considering testing:

Is your student reading well? I would not have a child take a standardized test if they are not reading independently or are not good listeners. In the younger grades, students read parts of it and also have portions of the tests read to them, but when they are in third grade they read all of it independently.

Some tests are not available for the primary grades. Be sure to check.

For some of the tests you order a specific test based upon the time of year. Students are expected to have acquired more knowledge at the end of the year as opposed to the beginning of the year.

Check the guidelines and whether you can administer the test yourself or if you have to have someone else administer it.

Consider the length of time for the test. Online is different than paper, and some tests have a shorter period in which you can administer the test.

Is there a deadline when your student can take the test?

See how quickly you get the results. There can be a spring rush and take more time to get the test results.

Where do I order tests? Here are two reputable testing companies from which to order tests. BJU Press or Seton Testing

Once you have your student’s results, you can fill out this form and return with next year’s notification form if you are going to continue to homeschool. Option #1

If your student is returning to school then you do not need to test or do a homeschool assessment. You enroll your student and the school will determine what placement testing they would like to do, if anything.

Have a great week! ~Lisa~

Typing/ Keyboarding

key_homeWith so many students having to do distance learning this year, teaching typing would be a terrific benefit to them.

Here are some typing programs worth considering purchasing:

Typing Instructor for Kids This is the program I used with my sons. It has lessons, accuracy tests, and games to help them learn.

Jump Start Typing This computer typing program is for children in grades 2-5 and includes video clips for hand placement. We used this program as well, but the boys for the most part, had already learned the keyboard and this was reinforcement if they wanted more games to play. I know, extra-cautious homeschool mom syndrome 🙂

Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing is a classic computer program that would appeal to older students (junior and senior high school).

Online Typing Programs

Typing Web This is a FREE online program for typists of all ages and abilities. You can even print a certificate when you finish.

Typing Club is a free online typing program and has helped 23,000,000 students. That’s a lot of flying fingers over keyboards!

Dance Mat Typing is free and is offered through BBC so it has a Scottish accented sheep who is your typing instructor. It is for younger students, but the children are entertained with animated animals that rock n’ roll. That may not be what you are looking for in regards to learning to type as I noticed it can be distracting. If not, you can try one of the other programs.

I wanted to thank Justin for sending me some amazing websites for more online typing options: 

Keyboarding Basics You are sure to find a typing program that will interest your son or daughter on this website.

Learning to Type More Efficiently  This has typing education to help you with your typing skills and typing tests.

A special thanks to Mary Anne N for sending me all of these cool websites for typing.

Wristband Express 

~Kjwq

oOps! I meant…

~ Lisa~

Fake Snow for Indoor Days

 

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Maybe winter hasn’t had a lot of snow for your children to play in this year. Maybe you live in a climate where there is never snow. Well, I have a fun solution for you. I made this fake snow recipe that I found on the internet for my granddaughter and she loved it! It only requires 2 ingredients and you probably can do it as soon as you finish reading this post!

  • 1 box of baking soda
  • 1 can of shaving cream (regular)

Add shaving cream little by little until you get the consistency that you like. If you add too much then you will need to add more baking soda.

While it doesn’t stick together like snow would, it is still a lot of fun! I am going over weekly to do activities with EJ and we made this three weeks ago. She has played with it for hours and asks for it every time I am at their house.  We had plastic googly eyes and made snowmen and snowgirls with small mounds of the snow. Bury some objects in it for a treasure hunt (a nickel, a pen cap, a paper clip, etc.).

Not only will little ones enjoy playing with it, but so will big kids. The texture is very interesting and fun to pick up and pretend like it is “snowing”. Yes, I played in it almost as much as my granddaughter. lol

Play area: You can let your children play with it inside of a baking tray or a rectangular plastic container. Be sure to wash hands when finished.

Storage: It can be kept in the refrigerator in an airtight container until it dries out or your child loses interest. 🙂

 

Community Helpers

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Community helpers cover a broad spectrum in our society and children are taught about them in early elementary school. Having hands-on activities is a fun way to discuss what a community helper is (someone who serves the community) and what types of things they do. You can use these as an introduction to a unit for Social Studies, something you and your child do together, or independent activity as a culminating activity.  Click on the image of each picture to take you directly to the link.

Whose Tools is a free folder game for your student to learn about helpers.

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Community Helpers Matching Worksheet Does your daughter or son know what tools each of these professionals need for their job?

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Free Sorting Mats of Community Helpers. You can laminate these for durability to be reused. This is only a sample and you can purchase additional mats for this unit.

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Community Helper Hats You can use these hats for play or for sorting. The directions are easy to follow to make the hat, and there is also a video should you wish to watch it. The police officer hat is free and if you would like to receive all 10 hats, sign up for the newsletter. Screen Shot 2019-07-08 at 6.19.31 AM.png

Does your student like to play with puppets or write stories? Here are some adorable community helper bag puppets to make and use.

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Books for your children to enjoy:

These two books are interactive, which I think will make these books interesting and enjoyable.

This is a fun matching game book with information about various jobs in the community. There is a story for each profession and a rhyming text for younger students to read.

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This looks like such an interesting book. “If your hands can mix and mash, what job might you have? What if your hands reach, wrench, yank, and crank? The hands in this book–and the people attached to them–do all sorts of helpful work. And together, these helpers make their community a safe and fun place to live.” (www.goodreads.com)

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Have a great week! -Lisa-

Homeschooling with Real Books

Homeschooling with real books (library/trade books) is much more interesting than exclusively using a textbook. The use of literature can be used to introduce, develop, or reinforce a concept that you are teaching. You may totally agree with me and are getting excited about doing this, but then comes the next thought, “Where do I begin? What books would I use?”

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Serious Fun: Homeschooling with Real Books by Kristin Draeger is just such a resource you need! Kristin shares her personal homeschool experience of how she created this 120+ page list of books, games, puzzles, videos, and music.  I appreciate that she has created such a fantastic open-and-go reference guide. She has taken the time to do this so that you can do other things! Kristin has categorized the books into the subjects of math, science, history/ geography, literature, grammar, and art history. She has also created subcategories of books for students K-3 and 4th-8th grade.

I love that Kristin has included extras for your student like this CD (or streaming option) that is about addition, skip counting, and money, but also includes some art, history, and information about space.

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Math games are a terrific way to practice what has been taught without the use of yet another worksheet. Kristin recommends this logic game and I second it as my sons had this when they were young. It is compact and comes with a travel bag so that it can be played in the car or taken to doctor’s appointments. If you’d rather not take it out, it can be used as a culminating activity after your math lessons. If you click on the picture, you not only see the game, but you can watch a short video on the webpage on how it is played.

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Serious Fun: Homeschooling with Real Books is a great deal at just $10.00. This is one book that I think you would return to time and again for ideas for your library trips or stock your own library shelves with real books.

  • Note- Kristin mentions the Kratt brothers  Zoboomafoo series. You can click on the highlighted link to watch these science programs for your K-3 grader since they were not released onto DVD.

Have a great week! ~Lisa~ 

I received a free review copy of this book from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.