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Friday, May 21, 2010

100 Blog Posts!

Today makes the 100th blog post I've written. I need to get a different hobby. Anyway, we did another random name drawing and Marcie you are the winner. You should be getting something in the mail shortly.
I really missed reading the devotion and bible yesterday and I NEED to remember what’s the most important thing in our lives…that would be God. Today’s devotion was all about the Red Cross and Clara Barton‘s role in establishing the Red Cross. (Hey there’s a social studies lesson here.) First she was a civil war nurse. Then, during her 23 years of Red Cross service she helped aid in the Spanish American war. Then the devotion transitioned into Jesus caring for the poor and sick. His request to his followers was to do the same. When we care for those in need around us, no matter how small or simple an act, its as if we’re giving it directly to Jesus.

We also read one chapter out of the book of Exodus. Chapter seven was about God giving Moses and Aaron the precise instructions about throwing the staff down and it turning out to be a serpent and about the staff being raised above the Nile and turning the Nile and all the water in the land into blood. When Moses and Aaron did this it happened just as God said. When the magicians in Egypt tried to replicate these acts they too were able to perform the same acts. JD asked, “How did they do that?” All I could think of was Satan’s limited power was behind it.

A reminder - I ordered the CAT 5 (complete battery) for JD’s assessment this year to see where he stands and how much information he retained from the past 5 ½ years of public education. So as reported yesterday…today my goal was to research all “social studies” topics I could according to the standard 5th grade teaching curriculum. So I went to the North Carolina website and found two pages of curriculum to be taught to students is 180 days. (TWO PAGES!)

Goal one is geographic concepts of the United States and other countries of North America.
Goal two is analyzing political and social institutions in North America and examine how these institutions respond to human needs, structure society, and influence behavior.
Goal three is examining the roles various ethnic groups have played in the development of the United States and neighboring countries.
Goal four is tracing key developments in the United States history and describe their impact on the land and people of the nation and it’s neighboring countries.
Goal five is to evaluate ways the United States and other countries of North America make decisions about the allocation and use of economic recourses.
Goal six is to recognize how technology has influenced change within the United States and other countries in North America.

In order to teach JD what I needed to I had to research MANY different websites and collect MANY different articles to relearn and teach JD “5th grade Social Studies Basics.”
We taped six pages together and did a timeline covering the time period of 1600-1950‘s. It included:
- important documents or laws
- evolution of US transportation
- any major wars
- and the early settlements through the westward expansion.
* We discussed in length ALL the entries made to each line on the timeline.
* We did a short study on the major tribes of Native American Indians.
* We did a short study on the three branches of government. We talked about what each branch was responsible for and any requirements needed to hold that position in government.
* We discussed the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, Emancipation Proclamation, Magna Carta, Mayflower Compact, and a few others…
* We talked about famous people including the famous women of history.

If you didn’t already catch this…I HAD TO RELEARN ALL OF THIS FIRST! (Because I don’t remember ANY of this stuff.) I mean…names sound familiar but I couldn’t place the exact event associated with it. Dates…forget memorizing dates…not going to happen. Important documents to me are my birth certificate, social security card, and retired ID card! And forget wars too…until today I couldn’t tell you who fought who or even why. This stuff never interested me in school, but now I will probably never forget this information. Makes me think I could take a substitute teacher job next year. (NOT!)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Very tiring day

After a restless night I woke up this morning only to do absolutely nothing but research all the science I could to review with JD today. When I remembered and it was confirmed that I ordered the complete battery of tests to include science, I freaked out! So I researched: animal and plant life, matter and energy, and Earth and space sciences. I have ten pages of both handwritten and computer copied and pasted material now. JD and I went over this extensively today. It’s far too wide-ranged to type it all and far too boring to read it. I will tell you I know more about animal and plant life, matter and energy, and Earth and space sciences than I ever cared to. (Tired smile)

Sadly, we did not even do a devotion or read from the bible today.

So that’s all for today…time for some “me time.” Jeff said, “He’ll be glad when the testing is over.” I will too.

Friday will be a social studies cram party!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Good practice test day

(Sorry in advance about the length of the blog today...but I have assessment information towards the bottom.)
We did not do the word bank, journal, music, or history lessons today. We only did the devotion, bible reading, math, English worksheets, and a North Carolina science EOG.
The devotion was about 19 May, 1780, when the New England region had an unusually dark morning. And the cause was unknown. The animals thought it was evening and did their evening routines. The roosters roosted and the cows walked back to their barns. During those darkness hours people hastily assembled church services. (Could you imagine that?) Three times in the bible there were conditions referred to as hours of darkness. Those were during creation, the ninth plague, and when just hung on the cross for us. The bible warns us not only to stay away from the “works of darkness” but to expose them. To do otherwise is to remain in the dark.
We read from the book of Exodus today. I was only going to read two chapters, but it was reading so much like a gripping-page-turner story that we continued through chapter 6. Chapter 4 was God showing the protesting Moses the miraculous signs that He would provide. (What didn’t God just reach down and thump Moses in the head for protesting so much?) Moses finally left God to ask Jethro if he could go find his family in Egypt. Jethro said, “Go in peace.” Moses’ wife circumcised their son on the way in order to spare Moses life. Aaron met Moses along the way and they met with the elder to say all that God told Moses. In chapter 5 Moses and Aaron met with the Pharaoh. The Pharaoh brushed them off saying, “You’re distracting my workers.” Then the Pharaoh gave the instructions to stop giving the workers straw for the bricks. The foremen were whipped for not making the quota. The foremen yelled at Moses and Aaron about this matter. Chapter 6 was when Moses and God having another conversation about freeing the Israelites and following through with His promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to give them the land. Then there was a brief family tree of the clans of Israel. (Those names…tongue tied…)
We took a North Carolina science EOG today just in case there were science questions on the assessment. JD did so well on those 44 questions. I didn’t score it though. I only wanted him to be familiar with some terms so I read the questions and the multiple choice answers and he was able to answer most of them all by himself. I’m so happy he retained most of what he learned about: animals and plants, landforms, forces and motion, and weather from public school. I guess if the topic is interesting enough it will hold his attention enough to make it all the way to the memory bank. (Whew.)
Today JD finished his Math assessment. There were only 18 questions left. I only had to assist him on one question today. So he scored a 94% on the 18 questions from today, but the total score from yesterday and today was an 88% on a state assessment. (Whew…breathing…)
We did another three English worksheets today. JD learned about run-on sentences and fixing them by adding a conjunction (and, or, but) to make it a compound sentence. Then we started unit two of the English workbook which is literature and writing. It focused on writing a good beginning to a paragraph. (These are definitely English skills JD needs.) It also taught him how to supply details to dull sentences. This took a lot of prompting or suggesting by me to get him to create details. Example: The wind was howling. Our new sentence: The hurricane type wind was howling like a hound dog. The next skill taught was writing dialogue. That is adding the comma and quotations before someone say something. Then, punctuating the end of a sentence and tying the sentence up with quotations after the dialogue. The last skill learned was writing a good title. We did a lot of questions like - When is my family going to get here? The story given was about a person waiting for hours at a bus stop and worrying about someone needing to meet them. I love that I get to sit one-on-one with JD to teach him these English skills. Sadly, this is definitely his least favorite subject and his writing skills reflect that. Now at least I’ll know if he gets it or not. Whereas before didn’t have a firm grasp of exactly what English skills he was lacking in. Turns out…so far it’s everything we’ve learned about these past couple of days. (Ugh!) We have all summer to catch up to his current grade level.
Today I researched the type of assessment JD will take. I ordered the CAT/5 Complete Battery. This is a full-length test and gives the most comprehensive test results. It covers reading, language, vocabulary, spelling, math, science, and social studies. It is suppose to take approximately 5 ½ hours to complete. (Maybe longer for JD.) According to the testing company I ordered the test from, and the state of North Carolina, I am able to administer the test in my home and be the administrator.
Here’s a breakdown of each component of the test:
Reading - Five reading subtests include two pre-reading tests for Kindergarten, a Word Analysis test for Grades 1-3, and Vocabulary and Comprehension tests for Grades K-12.
Spelling - This subtest for Grades 2-12 assesses three broad areas of spelling skills: vowel sounds, consonant sounds, and structural units.
Language - The Language Mechanics and Language Expression subtests work together to measure a broad range of language and writing skills essential to full literacy. Test items measure the ability to apply standard usage and writing conventions and to develop effective sentences and paragraphs.
Mathematics - The Mathematics Computation and Mathematics Concepts and Applications subtests assess the ability to perform fundamental mathematics operations, apply mathematical concepts, and use a variety of problem-solving strategies.
Study Skills - This subtest for Grades 4-12 measures how well students can carry out independent study using information-processing skills that they can apply across subject areas.
Science - Science items sample knowledge of the natural world and assess inquiry skills. Objectives are carefully targeted to the grade and match common curriculum groups: animal and plant life, matter and energy, and Earth and space sciences.
Social Studies - The Social Studies subtest measures understanding of various disciplines needed for a comprehensive global perspective: geography, economics, history, government, citizenship, sociology, and anthropology.
**Dear God...Oh my…now I’m getting nervous…thinking: Should I have taught him this or that? What if he doesn‘t know “x” amount of questions in a row and just gives up trying? (breathing and “What if-ing" myself to death…) Signed, Conniption fit in Cameron.

I will receive the test results in about 4-6 weeks after I send them in. It will show scale scores, national percentiles, grade equivalents, STANINE (standard nine…) and other data.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Busy day

We did not do the devotion, social studies, email snail/mail, or science today. We only did math, English, and read the bible.

The day started out with errands. We did not get back to the house until close to 12:30 pm. We quickly ate lunch and started our very short day. Today I had JD take half the 2009 Texas TAKS Math Test. This will get him well rounded on the types of questions he may encounter on the assessment. The individual state assessments differ a lot from the North Carolina End-Of-Grade tests. The assessments seem harder. Of course I’ll be thrilled if he passes the assessment next week but my hopes are that he retains enough information to earn a commendable score. The good news is he will only need a 70% to pass the math assessment, but my hopes are for an 85% or better. He currently has all the objectives mastered but he’s getting incorrect answers by doing computations in his head or guessing, or making simple mistakes. Today he answered 25 questions and only missed 4. That’s an 84%.

We did three more pages in the English book. Today JD learned combining simple subjects with the conjunctions and, or, and but. Then, combining predicates with the conjunctions and, or, and but. And the last topic was combining simple sentences with the conjunctions and, or, and but to make a compound sentences.

We kind of went backwards today because of errands. So we read the bible last. We read from the book of Exodus. Chapter 3 was about Moses and the burning bush. That’s where God told Moses He’s heard his people groaning and wants to do something about it, using Moses. I don’t think I would react any differently than Moses did. He thought of every excuse NOT to be used. This is also where God introduces himself as “I am who I am and Yahweh” At the end of the chapter God also says he will cause the Egyptians to look favorably upon Moses. The people of Israel will not leave there empty handed. They will be given silver, gold, and fine clothing.

So while it was a busy day it was productive. I’m proud of the patience JD is showing through the mock assessments. Just a couple more days to go.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Practice for the Math Assessment

We did not do keyboarding, journal, art, or spelling today. I focused on what’s important like: God, math, and English.

The devotion was called “Are you a pack rat?” Turns out JD might be a pack rat. I also have those tendencies, but he can’t stand to part with any of his toys, broken or not. I have to go through his room when he’s not looking and take out the broken toys. I have been known to give GI Joe war veterans proper burials. Some were missing all four limbs. Probably caught up in the war of BB gun meets T-Rex! Those are always very grueling and gory wars. There are also small army guys buried all over my yard, thanks to JD. Then, the devotion transitioned into the Pharisees of the bible. The “keepers of the rules.” They strictly following the ten commandments but they also added hundreds of their own rules; believing their rules were just as important as the ten commandments. The Pharisees also tried to force all of the people to follow their rules too. Those Pharisees were “spiritual pack rats.” Thankfully, for the people of that time, Jesus came and took that burden of “following rules” out of their lives. No amount of rules keeping will earn your way into heaven. Believing in Jesus is what counts and connects us to God.

JD and I started the book of Exodus today. First we reviewed the who, what, when, where, and why of Genesis and then moved into reading the book of Exodus. We only read chapter 1 and 2 today. Chapter one was about the 12 tribes of Israel dying off but the Israelites still continued to overpopulate Egypt. The new King knew nothing about Joseph or what he had done. So since he thought the increased population of the Israelites was too much he decided to turn them into slaves and planned to overwork them. Then, he tried to get the midwives of the Israelite women to kill all the baby boys. But the midwives feared God and did not do this for the new King. The final instruction was to throw the newborn boys into the Nile river. Chapter two was about Moses floating in the Nile river and being picked up by the Pharaoh’s daughter. The pharaoh’s daughter gave him back to his older sister to be weaned at home and brought back when the time was right. The pharaoh’s daughter adopted him as her own. Then, Moses grew up and one day he noticed an Egyptian man beating a fellow Hebrew. Moses killed the Egyptian. The next day when he tried to break up a fight between two Hebrews and they asked, “Are you going to kill us too?” Moses soon fled Egypt when the Pharaoh heard the news of Moses killing an Egyptian and tried to have Moses killed. Moses fled to Midian. There he rescued seven sisters from some shepherds. The sisters told their dad, Reuel, what happened. Reuel invited Moses to eat with them. After Moses settled with them Reuel gave Moses one of his daughters. So Zipporah became his wife and she soon had a son named Gershom. Chapter two ended with the mean Kind dying and the Israelite people groaning under the burden of slavery.

Today JD and I did a math review on all of the missed questions from the last two weeks. Then I had him retake the first half of the practice math EOG. He brought his score up from a 73% to an 88%. (Whew) But he still missed three of the same questions as before. Here…see if you can figure them out. (No cheating…)
1. ) About how many liters are in a gallon?
2.) About how far is 2 kilometers in miles?
3.) Which rectangle has a perimeter of 34 centimeters and an area of 60 square centimeters?
a. Rectangle 1: 6 cm by 10 cm
b. Rectangle 2: 5.5 cm by 10.5 cm
c. Rectangle 3: 5 cm by 12 cm
d. Rectangle 4: 4.5 cm by 12.5 cm

So after I scored his quiz, I looked up this cool visual (picture on the blog) for memorizing gallons, quarts (liters), pints, cups, and ounces. We reviewed a bit more and then I did a stupid thing. I took a practice EOG for a fifth grader. It was released in 2003. I only scored a 77%. I’m so upset with myself. I can’t believe I scored so low. Yeah, this home school thing is working out great!

Today in English JD and I worked together on seven worksheets. JD first learned about simple subjects and predicates. Then, the worksheet asked JD to underline the subject and identify if the sentence was declarative or imperative. The last set of worksheets was all about sentence conjunctions like the words: and, but, & or. When we score his worksheets I let him look at the teacher’s guide while I scored his answers on the worksheet. He was reading the last set of answers to me like this…and, or BUT!, BUT!, and, or, BUT!, and BUT! (He was cracking himself up. It got me tickled too.) He did a lot better than I thought he would. He only missed 19 questions out of 102 total. That’s an 81% on new English material that may or may not be on the assessment next week.