Saturday, September 16, 2017

Year 1: Term 1: Exam Week

This is the first time I've done an "Exam Week" with Gemma, and I really didn't enjoy it. 

It didn't reveal anything that I didn't already know. Because Gemma does all of her school-work with me, I know what she knows. I also know that her narrations need a lot of improvement, and I'm confident that as she gets older, and as she reads and talks about what she's read more, her narrations will improve.

I suppose that if I needed to prove to someone else - like a charter school - that my child was learning, these exams could help do that. But we're not enrolled in a charter. I don't have to keep a portfolio. I blog about our homeschooling experiences for me (because I'm so busy with work that I wouldn't remember what Gemma and I did last week without some sort of record to jog my memory), and to keep in touch with family and friends, and because I've discovered so many great books, field trips, games, etc. by reading about other homeschoolers' experiences.

We tried two different things. We tried Gemma answering her exam questions using speech to text in google docs, which took longer than it needed because Gemma kept rereading what she had said, and which produced some errors that I will, someday, find humorous. (Did you know there were "bondsmen and zombies" in The Good Samaritan?) We also tried me typing her narrations, which was fine, but tedious for me, and produced shorter narrations, I think because she didn't get the same satisfaction from just talking as she did from seeing her words appear on the screen with speech to text. We didn't try videotaping her exams.

I want to see some value in Exam Week, if not for me, than maybe for her. What does a child gain by showing, in this way, what they've retained from a term? Or is it that they develop an understanding that they are expected to retain these ideas?

I do think that I need a Reflection Week, or a Grace Week, to evaluate what went well over the term, what worked, what was easy, and what needs to be prioritized so it doesn't get left out.

For example, piano was easy. Gemma played more than her required 15 minutes per day. Duolingo was easy, and while Gemma now knows some words in Spanish and French, and is interested in learning more, I am wondering if I should add something here, like scheduling Telefrancais and Salsa episodes, or setting a goal of a certain number of new (themed) words per month.

On the other hand, maybe it would be nice to look back, years from now, at Gemma's exam answers. But I don't think we need two questions in each subject for that purpose. Maybe next time, we will have an Exam Day, with only two questions total, followed by a decadent dessert, like fancy chocolate cupcakes from Sweet Lady Jane's. Yes, that changes everything.

1 comment:

  1. I like the idea of your Reflection/Grace week. Since you say you're already aware, as Gemma's teacher, of her level, maybe just a special moment with Gemma (and cupcakes) to celebrate your team work and discuss where she's at, and maybe including her input in the evaluation?