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<p>We have been HSing since birth, and I would say we are somewhere between unschoolers and just really relaxed.   We are moving soon to PA, and I was just wondering how others deal with being unconventional and their state law requiring tests and evaluations.</p>
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<p>I was looking over some achievement test samples, and I'm kind of confused.  Is it expected for a child to miss about half of the questions, because that would be the same as the 50% "average" score?  So my kids wouldn't be expected to know even 'most' of the answers for their "grade level"?</p>
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<p>How on earth do I place my kids in grades?!  They are all over the place in everything, at their own levels.</p>
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<p>My kids are smart, but not necessarily on the things they test for, and that makes me even more annoyed at the silly tests.  And the tests are so arbitrary!  Like DS-11 is not very strong in Language Arts, even though in most subjects he is extremely bright and above average.  But LA is one of the things they make you test for.</p>
<p>So what do I do?  Push Language Arts on him to get him up to where he could do okay on their test?  It wouldn't be hard for him, but I don't want to 'make' my kids learn, I want them to want to- how it's been so far.</p>
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<p>And my DD-9 is just not very academic.  She is emotionally 'young,' as well as smart, kind, and has a lot of interests, but just not really into book learning.  So I just let her get by at the basics, thinking she will take off on her own as she matures, and now she is supposed to have to take this test and get evaluated, and it kind of freaks me out. </p>
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<p>How do others deal with these things?  I feel like we need to change what we are doing (even though it's working) to just through someone else's generic, arbitrary hoops.</p>
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<p>We're unschooling in PA with no problems:)  Ds took a third grade standardized test last year and did fine.  At the time, I was concerned whether he could read well enough to take it.  You can choose from about 6 different acceptable tests.  I picked the CAT which is a fill in the bubble multiple choice type.  The child can take the test at home (you just are supposed to have a non-parent administer it.  Some people have an older sibling, another HS parent or a grandparent do it).  So it was very low key.  Ds took the test over the course of a few days (though the test was timed, you could stop as long as you wanted between sections).  </p>
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<p>The test score doesn't determine eligibility to homeschool so it theoretically doesn't mean anything.  But a decent test score probably keeps anyone from looking twice.  "Average" doesn't mean getting half right.  It means having half the test taking kids do better than yours and the other half do worse.  The exact score needed for that will change depending on how everyone else does at that particular time of year with that particular version of the test (kids who take the test in winter will only be compared to others who took it at that time of year so kids who take the test in fall will not be compared to ones who take it in spring).  </p>
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<p>A lot of the 3rd grade language arts was things like pick the right verb tense or the right pronoun to fill in the blank in a sentence.  I told ds to just pick the one that sounded right.  Another aspect was when to capitalize.  The thing my ds did worse on was punctuation, especially commas.  He knew to end sentences with periods, question marks, or exclamation marks.  Then there were two reading comprehension passages, read a short story (one page) and answer questions to see if they understood what happened in the story.</p>
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<p>I just based ds's grade level on his age.  Actually, the school assumed one based on his age.  I hedged the question about what grade ds was in to leave myself an out if I didn't think he was ready for the test when spring came (ds barely makes the age cut-off so "holding him back" wasn't unreasonable) but you have to take the test some time.  And then they'll expect the next one at the appropriate interval.  </p>
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<p>You'll want to check out Pauline's Unofficial Guide to Homeschooling site.  It has forms, like the affidavit, that you can download and print. It has samples of objectives (I just chose one that was worded vaguely and tweaked it a bit to suit our particularities), and a list of acceptable tests if your child is in a testing year, plus everything else you need to know.  <a href="http://home.comcast.net/~askpauline/index.html" target="_blank">http://home.comcast.net/~askpauline/index.html</a></p>
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<p>Reading through the laws seems overwhelming and difficult but once you wrap your head around what they actually entail it isn't a big deal at all.</p>
 
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