Monday, November 21, 2011

Vaughn Elementary

When I first began homeschooling our girls I was programed to carry out this mission according to the current public school system, the one I and my husband graduated from, and the one we had purposely pulled our girls out of. I would test my girls every week and what they got was what they got...

Then one day it hit me.

Wait a minute.
This is not public school.
This is Vaughn Elementary.
What am I doing?

Thank God I had a "lightbulb" moment. It just hit me out of nowhere in mid test (yeh it just hit me out of nowhere, but I know exactly Who it came from). I remembered what the whole point of a test was in God's eyes.

In the wilderness He fed you manna
which your fathers did not know,
that He might humble you
and that He might test you,
to do good for you in the end.
Deuteronomy 8:16

The object of the test was not to leave my children in failure in a particular area and then move on to the next thing. The test was not the final word. I was.

The object of the test was to see if I had done my job well enough that they understood and learned. If they failed it was my job to go back and go over the information again. My job is to teach. The test is to show me what I need to teach again. The object of the test is to do good for them in the end.

For a period of about forty years
He put up with them in the wilderness.
Acts 13:18

Yes it may seem like it takes 40 years to get my child to understand how n = 3009 but if it takes 40 years... well that means we'll just have to do school right on through summer and on Saturday too, but they will finish in victory, not marked as failures. The test will be for their good in the end. We will take as many trips around the math mountain as we must for them to get a grasp and understanding of the material and do our very best to keep the joy of learning alive and well.

Examine me, O LORD, and try me;
Test my mind and my heart.
For Your lovingkindness is before my eyes,
And I have walked in Your truth.

Psalm 26:2-3

When the Lord examines us He does not pull out our flaws, our sins, and our failures to point them out and then leave us in them. He tests us to refine us, to perfect us. He tests us in love in order to make sure we fully understand truth. This is what I decided should be my goal in testing my girls as well.
Consider it all joy, my brethren,
when you encounter various trials, 
knowing that the testing of your faith
 produces endurance. 
And let endurance have its perfect result,
so that you may be perfect
and complete,
lacking in nothing.
James 1:2-4

So yes at the end of the year my girls will be "straight A" students, not because the grade was handed to them by their mommy, but because they have the privilege of living with their teacher and having my full attention so that they might go over and over material until they understand it. They can move ahead or stop if they need to, because the goal at Vaughn Elementary is for them to learn the material. I do not have a school board or a union telling me what, when, where, how much or how far.

Granted I do believe that my stand on testing will change and adjust as my girls pass from elementary into the high school years so that they might begin the transition into college, but right now this is where I am...testing to perfect not just to point out failures, focusing more on building a solid foundation than just passing on to the next scheduled lesson. At this point in their life keeping learning fun is vital.

So if you homeschool what's your stand on testing?
How often do you test?
What is your grading style?
Did you change how and when you tested as your children grew older?

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