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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, I had my kids take the CAT and we got the results this week. I must admit I'm disappointed. While they all excelled in the reading/language arts portions they did poorly in math. Well, except for my kindergartner. Anyway, I feel like I'm really failing at this. I think I'm going to have to cut out most activities next year and really focus on math. I'm thinking about adding it a couple of days/week this summer too. Along with science. Argh! I feel like this : <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/bag.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Bag">: Math is my weak point and I guess I've avoided it with the kids. I love reading/language arts and probably focus too much on that, KWIM?
 

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What are you doing right now with math? Are you using a cirrriculum or winiging it? Are they stedily improving or are they stagnet. if they are steadily improving but everyone is a grade or two behind the test will only reflec tthe behind and not the fact that everyne s steadily improving. how are thier basic skills. really that is all you need. the rest is covered in freshman level college classes. If you aren't using a cirriculum maybe adding that to your routien will help. Your children aren't very old right. a little practice everyday goes a long way in my opinion. also on the upside if they are all at the same level you can do stuff as a group. That will make it easier. My oldest dd sucks at math. She doesn't see patterns and mathis all about p[atters and building on those patterns. she can't even distinquish a + from a - from a * or / . they are all the same to her. I am not to worried. I doubt she will ever feel led to a career in a mathmatics laden field and that is OK with me. As long as she has enough to balance a check book, figure out how much the muffin mix is per ounce, how much a dress is at 35% off, and how much tax on an item is she will get along just fine. anything she really needs to know for college or whatever can be learned at a college level. Alsoif she is still counting on her fingers at 30, like her mama, I won't hold it against her. i know it isn't my teaching because her 4 year old sister was answering the questions the other day. My goal is to prepare them for life, not the ivy league. that is thier responsibility if it is thier desire. kids can do amazing things in short amounts of time when properly motivated. I don't think you need to go crazy and buckle down or anything but perhaps doing some decided math work 3-5 days a week isn't a bad idea (as I recall you are not an unschooler right). I found a scope and sequence very helpful I go through periodically and check off everything they know, ask about the things I am unsure of, inform them of simple things "hey did you know . . . well now you do . . . " and make a point of addressing everything else or seeing that our math cirriculum does address it at some point (we use miquon which goes all out of order). A couple of good ones are the hirsh books "what your . . . needs to know." I find these every where for $6 in hard back. Not a bad deal at all since all the information you need is actually contained in the books so it is easy to say "oh hey, are you familiar with this fairy tale? listen up . . . " or "did you know this science fact? well check it out . . .". they have all of the math stuff too. Another good basic one is "The McGraw Hill homeschool Companion" a very basic check list and over all good resourse. we also use some of thier workbooks. they are cheap at sams, reletively comprehensive for language arts and math and under $10 at sams club. The topics are also introduced and explained very well and I hardly have to teach her anything as they move so smoothly that she just gets it (the child who just doesn't get anything). and she thinks they are fun too.
 

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One thing to remember about standardized tests, especially the math ones, is that if you're not teaching the exact curriculum they're meant to test, your kids may not do well. So, if your kids study basic geometry in grade 4 and percentages and decimals in grade 5, but the test is normed on kids who do the reverse, then your kids will do poorly. It doesn't mean they know less math, it just means they know different math.<br><br>
Dar
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Dar</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">One thing to remember about standardized tests, especially the math ones, is that if you're not teaching the exact curriculum they're meant to test, your kids may not do well. So, if your kids study basic geometry in grade 4 and percentages and decimals in grade 5, but the test is normed on kids who do the reverse, then your kids will do poorly. It doesn't mean they know less math, it just means they know different math.<br><br>
Dar</div>
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<span>I was going to say much the same thing lol. The standardized tests are such an inaccurate way to measure real knowledge between homeschooled, and schooled children that I often scratch my head wondering why the state chooses to measure it that way. As homeschoolers, kids have a flexibility that schooled children do not (being under curriculum and such) Just like Dar said, the homeschooled child can really get into division but not fractions in any given year. The test is such a waste ( in my opinion anyway) Kristi</span>
 

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If it helps, I went to a public school that was suposed to be sooo good.<br>
I was "gifted" and scored way above average on all the standerdized tests.... except in math. I think I turned out fine. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
I just mean, don't think it's your fault or that they would do better in public school or anything... Math can be hard and I am sure they will turn into competent adults who can handle a checkbook and buy groceries, by the time they need to.
 

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Don't feel too bad. We had a similar experience with Spelling and the CAT. And I know others who have had a hard time with the Math on the CAT but I know they were excelling at a great math program. I think it is due to the timed nature of the test, and testing different material than what has been covered as others have stated. One thing I love about homeschooling is that my kids can take as long as they need to think out an answer - so I Never drill them with timed drills. I think next year we will do the Hewitt Pass standardized test instead of the CAT - it was developed for homeschoolers, is untimed, and is supposed to test what you have actually studied, eliminating the problem of testing different material.
 

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do you have a link to that test? we have to test next spring so are startingt o think about it now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks everyone <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"> I do feel better now. As a public school minded person I had never thought of it in the terms you mentioned. I appreciate the input and the support.<br><br>
We use Saxon for my 12 year old and a curriculum type workbook for my 7 year old and 6 year old. Nothing fancy. We play TONS of math games.<br><br>
Thanks again! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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It sounds like you are doing plenty of math work. just go steady and they will do fine. Forget about the test. also the test just shows how your child does on any given day. it is not a piture of how smart or not they are. if you are concerned about htier retention or ability to solve problems on thier own, you can make your own little test, go through a scope and sequence or whatever to get a more relistic picture of where they are and what they need to work on.
 

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Link to the Hewitt Pass Homeschool standardized test: <a href="http://hewitthomeschooling.com/test/testfaq.asp#Anchor-41681" target="_blank">http://hewitthomeschooling.com/test/...p#Anchor-41681</a>
 

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It sounds like your kids are doing fine, just not in the sequence that would reflect well in a standardized test. If you are genuinely worried abiout their math abilities, I find Singapore Math to be a great curriculum. It emphasizes thinking skills, approaching math problems in different ways rather than teaching that there is one "right" way to do math.
 

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I am not familiar with that specific test but when I did a practice standardized test with my daughter I was interested to see where her mistakes were and found that some of it was confusing questioning - How many sides does this figure have? She answered exactly what she saw. It did not say how many sides does this figure represent, which is a totally different question. Which when asked, she understood and knew the answer. It might be interesting to see if you can see the test and his / her answers to see whether the issue was the test or their knowledge. I also agree that the test is based on standard expectations for the grades varying a bit below and a bit above to get a feel for their level and does not represent a wide enough scope of knowledge to test those of us that are not following a strict year by year school schedule. Don't rely on the kids one day test - look at them from your day in and day out exsistence. How do you rate their skills? That is what matters. It sounds like you guys are doing great.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thank you so much everyone! I've been pondering this for a couple of days and I guess I over reacted. I'm just so ultra sensitive and feel such a huge responsibility for my children to do well. It's all on my shoulders, ya know. No teachers to blame :LOL
 
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