View Full Version : Year-end testing

Robin in Colorado
05-21-2007, 10:51 AM
Our state requires year-end testing every other year, beginning next year for my oldest dd. DH and I decided to test her this year just to see where we are and if there are any areas I am not covering like I should. Besides math, I mean. Already knew I was slipping there...

Anyway, this test had 4 parts: the 3 R's and somehing called "academic knowledge" which covers science, social studies, economics, art, music, history, etc. etc. etc.

I was in the next room and so could hear the questions being asked (this part of the test was oral). Let me tell you, we haven't covered any of those topics "formally."

However, those "academic knowledge" areas that we had covered were done through FIAR and living life.

I was pleasantly surprised when my dd's academic knowledge score was 2 grade levels above her grade.

:thumb: Thanks, FIAR.

So, when folks ask "Is Five in a Row enough?" I can say from experience, "You betcha! And then some!"

05-21-2007, 11:24 AM
That's great Robin! :thumb:

Do you use FIAR exclusively? I'm assuming yes, but just want to have my facts straight when I share this with other homeschooling moms. :)

Robin in Colorado
05-21-2007, 12:10 PM
Not for math, of course. :lol:

I do have other stuff for history, science, etc., but just haven't gotten into using them yet. Maybe later...

Being a homeschool family, we have lots of teachable moments and lots of educational excursions, but the area where we spend most of our formal lessons time is FIAR. This is where DD has gotten her knowledge of the things the test administrator was asking her.

And just so ya know, she did B4, volumes 1 & 2 and we just started volume 3. She will be 9 this summer and is still getting tons and tons from what we do for our Rowing.

I have felt guilty for not doing more in areas like history and science, and I do plan to, but it was great to know that her FIAR experience has been so broadening and deep as well.

05-21-2007, 12:29 PM
That's so great to hear! We plan on using FIAR exclusively for a long time. :hop: I just don' think I have the energy to add in more (as in more curriculum) for history and/or science and/or art. I would hate for FIAR to fall by the way because of other things.


05-21-2007, 12:40 PM
That's really cool to hear! DD's still little (not even 4 yet) and had just figured we'd do FIAR exclusively for a long time but it's great to hear a success story!

Becky Jane
05-21-2007, 03:25 PM
Let me tell you, we haven't covered any of those topics "formally."


That is wonderful news! Wonderful results. Good job Mom! I chuckled when I read what you wrote about not covering these topics "formally." Oh, but you have covered them formally. FIAR is an actual curriculum with formal introduction to a variety of topics. It *feels* informal because you're snuggled up together and having fun! :lol: But it's the SAME material as textbooks...just a different presentation. Your daughter's excellent test scores are a testament to that fact! :clap:

Bask in the joy and give you girl a hug from us! :D

05-21-2007, 04:47 PM
I hope this comes across the right way! I respectfully want to know how do you exclusively do FIAR? :) I'm very new to homeschooling, and have only used FIAR for my DD for pre-K this year, with great success. I love FIAR! I can see the rich education DD has gotten so far this year, and it really fits her social personality. From these boards, I can see your children are learning so much too, but I'm wanting to know the "nuts and bolts" of how you do FIAR for elementary ages? Do you have a go-along with each day's lesson? Do you have timelines? Do you do narration? Aside from the three R's, how much time do you spend on FIAR lessons?

With DD, my FIAR lessons consisted of reading the book, orally discussing one of the lessons given for each subject, often doing something to apply that. Art is our favorite because we often imitate the illustrator, or do the art lesson described in the manual. Or for mapwork, we may color a map and locate the setting on the world map. Or we talk about the language arts lesson, like similes for example, and I write down a few. I think we spend 30 minutes tops per day.

We are seriously considering hs for son next fall for first grade. I confess I am looking at several other "living book" curriculum options, partly because I like the weekly schedules (sound very attractive to me starting out), and partly because I like the structure of chronological history/systematic science lessons. Does using unit studies instead of a chronological/systematic approach simply boil down to preference, or maybe learning/teaching styles is a better way to phrase that?

Robin in Colorado
05-21-2007, 05:06 PM
Oh, but you have covered them formally. It *feels* informal because you're snuggled up together and having fun!

:yes: Exactly. Oh, we might not have set down to formally study, say, WWII, but during the FIAR lesson on "All Those Secrets", questions get asked and answered, things get discussed, and the next thing ya know, learning has happened! :) On many, many levels.

Robin in Colorado
05-21-2007, 05:23 PM

Hmmm, I'm not sure I'm the person to ask, but I'll try to answer. My dc are 3rd and 1st grade, plus my 3yo.

We primarily do what's in the manual, plus read additional books for go-alongs. I like to read lots and lots aloud. We also do a lot of talking about what we're learning, and if there is any way I can hook new knowledge to what they already know, I do.

My 8yo is very hands-on; my 6yo and I are not. I often feel guilty because I don't do everything that is in the manual. For example, in the art lesson, we might read about what the illustrator did, following the guidelines in the manual, but we don't do it ourselves because I'm not a "do-er" in that way. I cover the material from the manual, but with more talk and less action, if you KWIM.

For penmanship, we do quotes from the "book of the week" as copywork. I do use the character manual - which leads to more discussion, and we often do the meal out of the cookbook.

If I find something interesting that goes with the book, I use it. For example, a video from the library, some music, related books, a field trip. We just finished rowing "Andy and the Circus" and then rowed "The Bee Tree" just following it.

During those two books, we watched "The Life Cycle of the Honeybee" and "Barnum". We listened to music from "The Merle Evans Circus Band" and Rachmaninov playing "The Flight of the Bumblebee." We read lots. We went to the circus and to visit a bee keeper (normally I don't do lots of field trips). We got tadpoles. We talked a lot about what we were learning, and told Daddy about it. And usually what we learned led to questions which sent us looking for answers.

Now, I didn't row daily. Some days people would be sick or something and I would skip that day.

Does this all make sense?

As I said, I have separate curriculums for math, science, history, Spanish, and grammar. But the only thing I do with those so far is think "I need to get to those." And sometimes I make lesson plans that incorporate them, but I never get any farther than that with anything but math.

It's just too easy, and too much fun, to ROW.

sing it with me: Row, row, row your book, gently on the couch...

Mary FL
05-21-2007, 05:27 PM

05-21-2007, 06:45 PM
Does using unit studies instead of a chronological/systematic approach simply boil down to preference, or maybe learning/teaching styles is a better way to phrase that?

I am just one person and just one opinion, but I would say :yes: -- it's a matter of preference. Most of the moms I know who do use FIAR and use it without adding on additonal programs, have one major goal in mind: lighting the fire. Other homeschooling moms I know, don't feel safe or that they aren't doing their student justice unless they are filling the bucket.

I think (again, just one opinion here) that most of the moms on this board are more concerned with lighting the fire as well-- we want our students to LOVE to learn-- in the meantime-- they are learning! (can you believe it :eek: :lol:).

It's not WRONG to do it one way and RIGHT to do it another...it's just a matter of how you want to do it and what you are trying to accomplish. I hope I can instill a love/hunger for learning coupled with knowlege of how to find information. If those two things happen, I will have a life-long learner.

We pray that the Lord will show us where our boys are gifted and that we will fan those flames. Of course I want them to know the basics (reading, writing, 'rithmatic), but I don't think their success will be based on whether or not they can rattle off the dates of the French Revolution.

Just my .02. I hope I gave you a clear answer, and I hope I don't sound like a know-it-all because I'm certainly not! :lol:

“Education is not filling a bucket, but lighting a fire.” --William Butler Yeats

05-22-2007, 04:44 PM
Robin, thanks for the "details!"
Ami, thanks for the "philosophy!"

Both of your replies answered a lot of questions. Much appreciated!

Sue in MN
05-23-2007, 09:01 AM
It's just too easy, and too much fun, to ROW.

sing it with me: Row, row, row your book, gently on the couch...

:hi: Row,row,row your book, gently on the couch... Love it! :roflol:

Wendy in SW MS
05-23-2007, 08:39 PM
:hi: Row,row,row your book, gently on the couch... Love it! :roflol:

:thumb: Ditto!! ;)

DD in IL
05-23-2007, 11:40 PM
Great job!