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Test scores...

Posted by on Jun. 29, 2014 at 7:52 AM
  • 12 Replies
I had really hoped to post how thrilled I was with test scores and how easy it was. But sadly that's not what happened here. DS did fine, above grade level in everything. DD is entering 6th grade and got mid 5th grade level for 3 out of 7 sections. I'm so disappointed...mostly with myself. I thought I was really helping her get ahead from where she was in ps. I really wish I had tested them at the beginning of the year...maybe there would have at least been some improvement...or maybe I should have just gone with the portfolio eval (we have the choice here) and I wouldn't have really known..but that's why I did the test so I could prove we were doing fine...so much for that :(

So, I am thinking we need to do a more year round schooling for now and just be more serious this year. I'm thinking 5 weeks on, 1 week off (longer at Christmas and longer at the end of the regular school year). Another problem is that we ended school and had almost three weeks off before I had them sit down and take the test..and I hadn't done any tests with DD this year at all, so I think there was some test anxiety and ps flashbacks going on. But it still doesn't help me prove to the doubters that this is the best decision. I told DH I really want to use this as a tool to work on weak areas.

The issues she had were with math computation, reading comprehension, and spelling. So if anyone has any ideas to help me strengthen those areas, please share! Also, how do you all feel about memorizing multiplication facts? Is it a requirement in your opinion?
by on Jun. 29, 2014 at 7:52 AM
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Replies (1-10):
hwblyf
by Silver Member on Jun. 29, 2014 at 8:52 AM
1 mom liked this

My 5th and 6th graders are stuck on memorizing their tables.  But I'm forcing the issue.  Because when I do their math with them, if they could do their multiplication tables quickly, their math would be much easier for them.  I don't know if you have a tablet, but I found this list of good apps helpful:

http://kidsactivitiesblog.com/52468/multiplication-apps-for-kids

Also, don't beat yourself up too hard about your dd.  Flat out, some kids don't test well.  You've also said that she is a slower learner than your ds.  Don't compare the two of them.  It sucks to be the one on the losing end of that competition.

Another site I really like:

http://www.coolmath4kids.com/

Reading comprehension.  Read with her.  Read awesomely adventurous books.  Amazingly hysterical books.  Books she couldn't read on her own, but that fascinate her.  And talk about them.  Stop in the middle of paragraphs if you have to.  And it's going to take time.  My 5th grader's comprehension is so different than any of my other kids.  He thinks in a much different language.  We've been working on his comprehension for a long time.  And far more thoroughly than any ps ever could do, but he's just recently been putting things together.  Dots are connecting for him.  :)

Spelling....we're going to do http://www.spellingcity.com/ this year.  I have to play around with it and see if I can get away with just the free version.  My kids used it in ps and LOVED the games.  I also sat down with my 5th and 6th graders to do spelling review last week, and we whipped out the dry erase boards to do hangman.  Oh my, they were so psyched.  No boring review!  And my 5th grader loved it that he stumped us right away.  :)

I think, honestly, for your first year, you did a fantastic job.  I'm trying to remember the stuff you've told us about your daughter, and I honestly can't.  But kids have bad tests for a variety of reasons.  My 6th grader, who tested and always test very high, did a poor job with fractions.  My mom, whom I mistakenly told, is hounding me about his fractions.  Just keep chugging along.  Oh, and congratulations on their successes!

LostTheSlipper
by Bronze Member on Jun. 30, 2014 at 1:06 AM
1 mom liked this

Memorizing math facts is necessary in my opinion. I just had DS do sheets, and more sheets, and online games, and more sheets, and activities.... Till he knew the front and back and in his sleep lol. Don't just do the basic 9 x 5 = _____ type things. Also do 9 x ____ = 45 or if you have 9 nickels how much money do you have? 9 x 5 = 45 cents kind of stuff. Sometimes real life application helps so much more.


No_Difference
by Silver Member on Jun. 30, 2014 at 7:19 AM
1 mom liked this

I don't have my kids memorize math facts...as in we don't drill them over and over again. We do math randomly throughout the day on a daily basis, and they are naturally getting faster at it. As soon as they could comfortably figure out what the answer was, then we moved on. We do a lot of cooking to work on math without them really knowing...At the store when we're buying stuff, they add everything in their heads, and add tax on paper... Just last night, my daughter in her head added up the total for our dinner we ordered without anyone asking her to. She was slightly off...but that tax is tricky lol. 

Spelling - we love All About Spelling. It has been working out great :)

Reading comprehension - this is a big struggle area for my daughter too. We read tons. I read to her, and ask questions along the way. I try and pause at foreshadowing moments and ask her what is going to happen and why she thinks so... I have her read to me and then have her explain back the chapter/story in her own words to see if she really understood it. We will have 20 min conversations on the chapter/story easily, just discussing what was read and why she thinks the ways she does. I'll point out things shes missed and see if her opinion changes. Sometimes I'll have her write the main points of our disscusion down.... Its helping, but I have a struggling reader so its slow work...she focuses more on sounding the words out than what she is actually reading...

 

hwblyf
by Silver Member on Jun. 30, 2014 at 9:03 AM

It's amazing how participation in discussions changed with increased comprehension.  I used to battle my kiddo to have the discussions, but now that he gets it more, he's far more willing to discuss the books.

Quoting No_Difference:

I don't have my kids memorize math facts...as in we don't drill them over and over again. We do math randomly throughout the day on a daily basis, and they are naturally getting faster at it. As soon as they could comfortably figure out what the answer was, then we moved on. We do a lot of cooking to work on math without them really knowing...At the store when we're buying stuff, they add everything in their heads, and add tax on paper... Just last night, my daughter in her head added up the total for our dinner we ordered without anyone asking her to. She was slightly off...but that tax is tricky lol. Spelling - we love All About Spelling. It has been working out great :)Reading comprehension - this is a big struggle area for my daughter too. We read tons. I read to her, and ask questions along the way. I try and pause at foreshadowing moments and ask her what is going to happen and why she thinks so... I have her read to me and then have her explain back the chapter/story in her own words to see if she really understood it. We will have 20 min conversations on the chapter/story easily, just discussing what was read and why she thinks the ways she does. I'll point out things shes missed and see if her opinion changes. Sometimes I'll have her write the main points of our disscusion down.... Its helping, but I have a struggling reader so its slow work...she focuses more on sounding the words out than what she is actually reading...  


jen2150
by Silver Member on Jun. 30, 2014 at 10:46 AM
1 mom liked this
Don't put too much stock in those tests. They only give one part of the whole child. Grade levels are someone's idea where every child should be. They are seldom accurate. My kids grade levels are all over the place. Also a year is not enough time especially if a child was having a hard time in school. If they are areas you need to improve then concentrate on those areas next year. We don't drill math facts. I teach to use mental math and we play math games and learn them naturally. I encourage them to play with math. This we are using a mental math dvd series called secrets of mental math. Also not everyone are great spellers. Some kids take longer. Spelling and math games can be very helpful. Remember curiosity and a desire to learn are the greatest gifts you can bestow on your children. Concentrate on your successes and simply make improvements where necessary.Be proud of everything you have accomplished. We all have these thoughts from time to time. It helps us to improve each year. We use a year round schedule and love it.
StanleyGirl
by Member on Jun. 30, 2014 at 11:11 AM
Don't get to upset kids can have difficult years some times they get it and sometimes they need a little more time be careful not to over work your child just to prove homeschooling is best, because you already know it's best, if she were in PS they would keep moving and not help her weak areas but at home you can work on these things but please don't over work them you don't want your child feeling like she's being punished for not getting good enough scores homeschool is good because you can go slow (not pile on extra work) homeschool is also good because kids don't have to fit into a box they can learn things when they're ready to learn them, you wouldn't try to force a baby to crawl or walk before it was ready just because some chart said it was time to do those things. Praise your child for doing their best and continue at their speed don't burn them out. Good luck (:
AutymsMommy
by Silver Member on Jun. 30, 2014 at 3:25 PM

She's dyslexic, right (or suspected)? Honestly, she did great if that's the case. Sincerely, a dyslexic child only testing half a year behind, in these more formative years, is FANTASTIC. I kid you not.

I am a Home Schooling, Vaccinating, Non spanking, Nightmare Cuddling, Dessert Giving, Bedtime Kissing, Book Reading, Stay at Home Mom. I believe in the benefit of organized after school activities and nosy, involved parents. I believe in spoiling my children. I believe that I have seen the village and I do not want it anywhere near my children. Now for the controversial stuff:  we're Catholic, we're conservative, and we own guns (now there's no need to ask, lol).             Aimee

TJandKarasMom
by Debbie on Jul. 1, 2014 at 7:46 AM
Thank you for this. I feel the same way, that if she could memorize the tables the rest of her math would just be so much easier for her. I will look at those sites, I have an iPad and she has an iPod, so maybe some math games just need to be part of math every day.

I will start reading more with her. She is also going to read the same book as our neighbor that home schools (she's older than DD, but we can find some interesting books for both of them) and they will have a little book discussion. I also wanted to try reading aloud to her, getting books on tape, and having her read aloud to herself and read in her head and see if auditory really does help her more (I believe it does, but this could also show her that reading aloud to herself helps her process more info).

Her spelling amazes me sometimes, I just can't figure it out. Sometimes I think she is just rushing or lazy, and other times I think she really doesn't know. Right now they are keeping food diaries and I just glanced at hers this morning, in one line it said "2 peaces"...then "1 peice." Also, when she proofreads her own work or as an assignment, she automatically just reads what it *should* say not what it actually says, so she's really not alowing down enough to review her own work.

Thanks again, I needed a reminder that we did ok this year. I am not telling anyone where the scores actually were (my biggest reason is because I don't want DD to know and worry about it), but I did say they weren't as high as I had hoped. My mil definitely will not be told actual scores, lol.

Quoting hwblyf:

My 5th and 6th graders are stuck on memorizing their tables.  But I'm forcing the issue.  Because when I do their math with them, if they could do their multiplication tables quickly, their math would be much easier for them.  I don't know if you have a tablet, but I found this list of good apps helpful:

http://kidsactivitiesblog.com/52468/multiplication-apps-for-kids

Also, don't beat yourself up too hard about your dd.  Flat out, some kids don't test well.  You've also said that she is a slower learner than your ds.  Don't compare the two of them.  It sucks to be the one on the losing end of that competition.

Another site I really like:

http://www.coolmath4kids.com/

Reading comprehension.  Read with her.  Read awesomely adventurous books.  Amazingly hysterical books.  Books she couldn't read on her own, but that fascinate her.  And talk about them.  Stop in the middle of paragraphs if you have to.  And it's going to take time.  My 5th grader's comprehension is so different than any of my other kids.  He thinks in a much different language.  We've been working on his comprehension for a long time.  And far more thoroughly than any ps ever could do, but he's just recently been putting things together.  Dots are connecting for him.  :)

Spelling....we're going to do http://www.spellingcity.com/ this year.  I have to play around with it and see if I can get away with just the free version.  My kids used it in ps and LOVED the games.  I also sat down with my 5th and 6th graders to do spelling review last week, and we whipped out the dry erase boards to do hangman.  Oh my, they were so psyched.  No boring review!  And my 5th grader loved it that he stumped us right away.  :)

I think, honestly, for your first year, you did a fantastic job.  I'm trying to remember the stuff you've told us about your daughter, and I honestly can't.  But kids have bad tests for a variety of reasons.  My 6th grader, who tested and always test very high, did a poor job with fractions.  My mom, whom I mistakenly told, is hounding me about his fractions.  Just keep chugging along.  Oh, and congratulations on their successes!

TJandKarasMom
by Debbie on Jul. 1, 2014 at 7:49 AM
You're right, I forget sometimes that no matter what we are doing better than she was in ps. This was our first year hsing (5th and 6th grades)...so I think we still did ok.

And I will be sure to not make her feel like she is punished for low test scores, I just told both of them we need to be a little more serious as they get older.

Quoting StanleyGirl: Don't get to upset kids can have difficult years some times they get it and sometimes they need a little more time be careful not to over work your child just to prove homeschooling is best, because you already know it's best, if she were in PS they would keep moving and not help her weak areas but at home you can work on these things but please don't over work them you don't want your child feeling like she's being punished for not getting good enough scores homeschool is good because you can go slow (not pile on extra work) homeschool is also good because kids don't have to fit into a box they can learn things when they're ready to learn them, you wouldn't try to force a baby to crawl or walk before it was ready just because some chart said it was time to do those things. Praise your child for doing their best and continue at their speed don't burn them out. Good luck (:
TJandKarasMom
by Debbie on Jul. 1, 2014 at 7:51 AM
1 mom liked this
This made my day. I'm going to come back to this post every time I feel discouraged. Thank you :)

Quoting AutymsMommy:

She's dyslexic, right (or suspected)? Honestly, she did great if that's the case. Sincerely, a dyslexic child only testing half a year behind, in these more formative years, is FANTASTIC. I kid you not.

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