Sunday, April 25, 2010

State testing is finished!

For our homeschooling, we use a program through the Washington School District in Utah. So even though they are schooled at home, they are technically public school students. In exchange for receiving their curriculum and most of their supplies free of charge (along with some field trips and social events throughout the school year) we agree to keep in touch with a teacher assigned to us, and also to take them in for state standardized testing towards the end of the year. While there are other homeschooling parents for whom this does not work, I find it to be a nice fit for us.

This past week was the kiddos testing dates. On Thursday I took them both in for language arts and math testing, and Friday Princess had to go in for Science. Both days are held at a large Baptist church in the area. I was a little apprehensive about whether or not I have prepared them well enough, which I believe is normal especially with this being my first year teaching them, but things went very well.

After dropping each kid off at their classroom, me and Sprout went to an area where the parents who were staying there could wait. She played with some other kids that she knows from playgroup and enjoyed some snacks until the kids got out for lunch. Since I was trying to make the day as fun as possible, we all went to McDonald's where they got kid's meals (a rare treat). Then, back to the church for more testing and waiting.

I asked the kids if the tests were too hard for them and they both agreed there was nothing they had a hard time with except for waiting for everyone to finish after they were already done. Spike especially hated the waiting.

Friday morning Princess finished up her science testing and we went home and had fun for the rest of the day.

As far as their test scores goes, the school really only looks at the average for all the kids. Their own scores will be sent to me so that I can see what areas they need to work on. I was pretty surprised to learn that their scores had nothing to do with me teaching them next year. I guess I had assumed that if their scores were low, I would have some serious explaining to do. I still do look forward to seeing the scores though, because I would like to know for myself what I can do better on with them.

Field Trips with Candy!

We took these two fields a few months ago, but I never got around to posting them. Needless to say, telling the kids that we were going on a field trip to a candy factory made their day, and when we had another one about a month later, I was the best mom ever (or so that is what they told me).

For the first field trip, we went to Mrs. Cavanaugh's chocolate factory. They first had a video presentation on the history of chocolate, starting with the Mayans drinking it as a hot drink (although not sweetened like the hot chocolate we enjoy today). The video also included the famous scenes from "I Love Lucy" where Lucy and Ethel go to work in a chocolate factory and end up eating and stuffing chocolates in their hat to try and keep up with the candy on the conveyor belt. Just in case you do not know what I am talking about, it is this one...

Next we got to watch the work floor as the workers wrapped candy and got it all packaged up nicely. It was not too exciting, but fun nonetheless. The kids all agreed that the workers looked much more relaxed than Lucy.

Last, but not least, the kids (and accompanying moms) got free yummy chocolate samples. Hmm..I think that might have been my favorite part.

The second candy field trip was to Sweet's candy company. Unfortunately, I have no pictures to share since they were not allowed, so you will have to take my word for it.

First things first, we had to all don hair nets and take off all jewelry. A nice lady explained the safety precautions of staying within the colored lines on the floor, and once we had all agreed to be on our best behavior, we were taken on our tour. We saw some pretty neat things like a gigantic bags of sugar, the taffy making machines, and candies being covered in chocolate. In one area, we saw a bunch of trays of small clear things. After looking at them for a second, me and the kids figured out they were the jelly beans that were awaiting their flavored covering. Another favorite thing of ours was seeing the room in which the jelly type candies were made. A tray of cornstarch is pressed with a master mold so that there are indents in the cornstarch which are then the candy molds. The molten candy is poured into these cornstarch molds and left to set up for a while. When we were watching they were making jelly bunnies. The kids really liked this field trip, and it sure did not hurt that they passed out samples of the different types of candy along the tour.