Saturday, November 22, 2008

What I Learned During Exam Week

The purpose of a CM exam is to celebrate what the child knows. In addition, I use exams to help me figure out where I need to tweak things for greater effectiveness. Here are my notes from this exam week:

(I suppose I should mention that I am working with an 8th grader, a 5th grader and a 2nd grader, and my thoughts on the studies of all three are mixed together in this post.)

For artist study, I need to speak less and let them observe longer.

Advanced preparation in the area of copywork will prevent the pitfall of allowing the student to choose her copywork too often.

It is a bad thing to skip map drill, even for a few weeks.

Wish list items: The Geography Coloring Book, U.S. History Map Activities and World History Map Activities.

Mr. Bach Comes to Call, and other like albums, are fun as an adjunct, but not to be depended on entirely for composer study. The child is liable to remember every detail of the cute little story, and come away with not one biographical note or musical piece internalized. Ask me how I know.

After one term of separate memory work assignments, I am ready to go back to one group memory binder for everything except poetry/long scripture recitations.

Digital audio recording software provides a fun and effective "must" for oral narrations.

Copying word roots from the back of the Grammar Songs book just isn't cutting it as an intro to Latin.

Wish list item: English from the Roots Up or Rummy Roots

In the Burgess Animal Book, we need to pause more often for narration.

Also, the description of each animal, and the drawing of an animal from a picture, doesn't seem to be enough aid for the student in internalizing details. We need diagrams.

Wish list item: subscription to Enchanted Learning

Triss is not reading a natural history or nature study book! How did we miss that? Probably all that history. I'll have to find her a good one.

Wish list item: The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady

More discussion, more discussion. I am being too incidental and not purposeful enough. How can they be expected to remember things if we do not talk about them more?

It is time to change the way I have Triss narrate. I am going to have her take brief notes from her books instead of doing written summaries, and then require her to write an essay at the end of each day on one of her readings.

Cornflower is ready to have me type her narrations and read them aloud so she can correct her grammar, sequencing, etc. One narration per day typewritten ought to be plenty.

Mariel and I need to sit down and organize one of her free-written summaries once a month. She has so many great ideas, and they are currently all over the place. It's time to teach her how to put some of them in order.

Wish list item: an additional five hours in each day. Lol. If I had it, I would only want more.


G.L.H. said...

Well, I don't have the five extra hours in my day to give you (believe me, if I had them, you wouldn't get them anyway), but I got the Country Diary on ebay for 99 cents.


Angi @ Peakmore Academy said...

Oh i really enjoyed reading your "debrief" from your exam week. We'll be doing an exam week the week before Christmas (our year-end) and we've never done one before. We'll be doing some standardized testing (per DH's request for this year) and some CM-styled oral questions that I've already written up. Both should be interesting. Thank you for sharing!

Katie said...

Thanks for commenting, Ladies! And thanks for the suggestion, Barbra, there are currently two copies on Ebay for $1 plus shipping. I hope to snag one.

Angi, I always find exam time interesting. Before we began doing exams, I would just assume that if I was learning, the kids were learning. Once I started doing exams with them, I realized that wasn't always the case. Not that everyone is like that, but that was my experience.

lindafay said...

I like how your wrote down your exam observations. I usually jot down a note or two but keep mental notes, mostly. I like your method better. I need to start doing this.

Your daughters' narrations are wonderful. I love the rich vocabulary and sophisticated sentence structure they are obviously internalizing through reading and telling back good literature. Great work!

Katie said...

Thanks for commenting, Lindafay! It means a lot to me.