What does Radical Unschooling look like when you live in a state that requires yearly assesment or testing? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 15 Old 10-23-2012, 08:08 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I am homeschooling dd(7.5) and ds(5.5) in a eclectic manner, but we are moving slowly but surely towards a radically unschooled approach as that seems to work best for us. My one main concern about radical unschooling is the fact that we are living in a state that requires yearly assesments or yearly testing. Words of wisdom anyone?


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#2 of 15 Old 10-23-2012, 08:50 AM
 
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I'm in PA and it hasn't been bad at all. It hardly effects ds's life except he has to take a standardized test every couple of years. I can pick from several tests so I choose the CAT because it is a multiple choice style. He can take the test at home over the course of days so it's as low pressure, low stress, as possible.

 

When he does something that can be used in a portfolio, I make a copy and stick it in a folder. Or I take photos of non-paper things, like science experiments or field trips. We have to "take attendance" which just means making 180 checks in 180 little boxes. We have to keep a book log so I just type up any books we use.

 

It's a bit of work for me but it doesn't effect ds much. 


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#3 of 15 Old 10-27-2012, 12:29 PM
 
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How it's going to look depends on your state and the specific requirements you must meet. That may be why you haven't gotten a lot of responses. What state are you in?
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#4 of 15 Old 10-28-2012, 07:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm in Virginia.


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#5 of 15 Old 10-28-2012, 07:51 AM
 
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Alright. I'm in PA, so that's what I'm most familiar with.

I did a quick review of your law. If I were you, I'd get to know other homeschoolers in the area. Regardless of the legal requirements, it's helpful to know the school district's interpretation of the law, too.

In PA, we have to submit planned objectives at the beginning of the school year. Your law reads a bit different. I am not sure what to advise for that.

You can provide a portfolio annually, just like we have to provide in PA. What I do is write down what we've covered during that year, and provid hard copy proof, where possible. Many things we cover take place in the form of discussions, so there is no proof. Still, I usually manage to find enough to put together a nice portfolio. Once my son was older, I had him write his views of the discussed material as proof the discussion occurred. For science, he would draw or write about what was learned. Math has always been the tough one, and usually I would have to have him do worksheets just for the portfolio, our annual dispute. Worksheets are not radical unschooling, but they keep us legal.

You can join online homeschool groups, especially those for your state, or unschooling groups, to get more information.

I'm sure it's just a matter of learning where the hoops are, and the easiest way to jump through the, before you'll feel more comfortable about unschooling.
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#6 of 15 Old 10-28-2012, 08:58 AM
 
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I agree talking to other homeschoolers in your area will help. Here in WV I choose to do a yearly portfolio so we just copy or take pictures of our work and I keep a daily journal of what we did to turn in. Here we can have any state licensed teacher review the portfolio and the community here knows which teachers to go to for unschooling and which are more worksheet and traditionally oriented.We just need to prove we have done a years worth of work here so it is not hard with a journal and some examples of work. You can also take a standardized test and I think you have to either increase the score from the year before (if under the 50th percentile) or score in the 50th percentile and above.(not that they stop you from homescholing but the do send nasty grams.) We did a CAT test one year and it was incredibly easy compared to what we were doing at home, just hard to sit through.

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#7 of 15 Old 11-21-2012, 07:01 AM
 
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In NC we have yearly testing, but it's totally fine.  There are no rules other than "your kids need to take a yearly state-approved test".  No rules on what kind of help parents can give, what grade level they need to take it at.  You don't even have to turn it in, you just have to keep the results (from the company) on file in your home.  So, we buy the Seton tests (very inexpensive and short) and do them together.  And sometimes it's challenging, but also interesting to get a glimpse at what other kids are learning at those grades.  And I'll usually bribe them with ice cream to keep on plugging along at it.  I know a lot of people, when considering a move to NC find this a negative if they are unschoolers, but it's because they don't really know all the facts and know how low-key it actually can be.  I'd also recommend seeking out other unschoolers in your state for advice :)  Good luck!
 


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#8 of 15 Old 11-21-2012, 08:33 AM
 
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Originally Posted by root*children View Post

No rules on what kind of help parents can give, what grade level they need to take it at.  You don't even have to turn it in, you just have to keep the results (from the company) on file in your home. 

 

Very interesting! When you hear about the requirement for annual testing it's easy to assume that the tests must be done in accordance with schooling practices. But as you've pointed out, that's not necessarily the case. And that can make all the difference! If you can choose less advanced tests, and help your child along with them so that the whole testing experience is actually a learning experience, and if the results have no bearing on anything, there's not a lot you need to worry about, imo.

 

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#9 of 15 Old 01-04-2013, 11:29 PM
 
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I have a friend in Tennessee, and she registers with a local Christian school (the only other option is to go through the local public schools, and there are a lot more requirements and interference from them). In WA, there is an annual test/assessment requirement, and some do assessments with a private unschool-friendly assessor. Others do the cheapest test option. They are not required to report the results, though.


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#10 of 15 Old 01-08-2013, 01:53 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Mittsy View Post

I'm in Virginia.

I'm in VA also! I'm wondering about this too...but some USers I know tell me it's not a huge deal.
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#11 of 15 Old 01-15-2013, 09:43 AM
 
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The same as it does without assessment or testing. I think whether or not those things affect you and your children depends on how you treat it. My state, NC, is probably easier than some. We are required to to annual testing but we don't have to submit the results to anyone. We just keep them on file for a year in case we are inspected. I don't even bother to look at the results. When I get them back I just file them away.

I have heard that Virginia, for example, does require that the results be submitted and they have to show progress but I'm not sure what that "progress" entails. People I've spoken to in VA say it's no big deal, though. I figure they can't hold homeschoolers to any higher standards that they hold the public schools, too. I only know about VA because we may be moving there soon.

As to my experience with administering a test, I was nervous with the first one because my child was young, only 7, and had never done busy work like that before. I was worried that he would get frustrated and upset because he wouldn't recognize the format. He managed to amaze me. He was able to do just about everything on the test and I didn't need to read anything except the instructions to him.

So, my advice is, don't sweat it. I bet your kids can handle it like champs.

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#12 of 15 Old 01-16-2013, 12:55 PM
 
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Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post

 

Very interesting! When you hear about the requirement for annual testing it's easy to assume that the tests must be done in accordance with schooling practices. But as you've pointed out, that's not necessarily the case. And that can make all the difference! If you can choose less advanced tests, and help your child along with them so that the whole testing experience is actually a learning experience, and if the results have no bearing on anything, there's not a lot you need to worry about, imo.

 

Miranda

Testing is a requirement in PA too, which is cumbersome w/ all the other things we have to do, but we tested for the first time last year & I'd say it was the easiest part of all of it.  We used an approved test (CAT) and dd had someone she knows well "give" it to her.  She did fine & was okay w/ it all.  She knows that where we live there's lots of rules & is willing, usually, to do her part in following the rules so she doesn't have to go to school (which is the punishment if it's determined you are not following the home ed law here).

 

All that to say, don't be scared off by testing.winky.gif

 

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#13 of 15 Old 01-18-2013, 04:37 AM
 
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To answer your question from a theoretical perspective, I would say that you need to take your kids into confidence as to what the state requirements are, and what you need to do to meet them.

 

now to get the practical part - some people are good at noting what their kids are already doing and translating it into the various subjects but I gave up on that and decided to do a few things in the format expected by the review.   Though for us in MD no testing per se  has been required but I still found it tedious to meet my reviewer's expectations for documentation without interfering with my dd's life and learning experience.  At first I attempted to explain this to the reviewer, then quickly learned better.

 

What i finally figured out was 

 

 -  when i was part of the local hs group and met them once a week, we could knock out some art, music, gym and that satisfied the reviewer. 

 

 - for other things, i could EITHER produce substantial work done by dd, either written work, projects or test 

OR show a detailed schedule of work and then show only a few samples.  

 

It was easy for me to get dd to do math worksheets  as well as Top Secret Adventures, thus covering math and social studies.  For language arts and science i made out a monthly schedule with details of what all we covered each month, and got about 4-5 pages worth of "activities" or "exercises" to show for each one.   i looked up the MD state curriculum and made sure to use the same terms that appeared in their guidelines, to describe the topics in each subject area.

 

dd doesn't like to write much so that has always been the most difficult thing for me to have enough of to show.  

 

If you can stay on top of it you can probably cover everything by spending an avg of 30 min / day.  For us it is more like 2 hours / week and then in the 2 weeks before the review,  I spend time getting everything organized, written up and made presentable.


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#14 of 15 Old 01-28-2013, 01:33 PM
 
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Originally Posted by 4evermom View Post

I'm in PA and it hasn't been bad at all. It hardly effects ds's life except he has to take a standardized test every couple of years. I can pick from several tests so I choose the CAT because it is a multiple choice style. He can take the test at home over the course of days so it's as low pressure, low stress, as possible.

 

When he does something that can be used in a portfolio, I make a copy and stick it in a folder. Or I take photos of non-paper things, like science experiments or field trips. We have to "take attendance" which just means making 180 checks in 180 little boxes. We have to keep a book log so I just type up any books we use.

 

It's a bit of work for me but it doesn't effect ds much. 

From about a thousand and eight years ago, I remember doing my own 180 checks in the 180 little boxes. That certainly had a lasting and profoundly positive impact on my education! Googly-eyes here.


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#15 of 15 Old 01-28-2013, 02:57 PM
 
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We have testing here, four times between ages 8 and 18. Frankly, a lot of people just don't register. We were underground ourselves until we got caught. :/ Not that we were trying to hide anything, but I am opposed to standardized testing on principle, our kids don't want to do it (and their right to make that choice should be respected,) and we have to pay for it. The worst of it is that one time the required testing came before one of our children was reading (we don't push early reading) so it was stressful for her, despite my assurances that it didn't matter. So yeah, I'm pissed that she had to be put through that. From a radical unschooling standpoint, I explained to her and she understood how her refusal to take the test would make much more trouble for us, so she had the information to decide for herself.

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