Saturday, March 31, 2012

Testing, Decorating & Landscaping

This was an easy week for classwork, but this was also standardized testing week for Amber. It still could be summarized as an overall easy week.

I'm going to post later this week more about our thoughts on testing and why we are doing it.  (I finished the post - here's the link). However, I have to say it went fairly well.  Right after we decided to homeschool Amber, I applied to become a certified tester through BJU for the Stanford 10 (SAT) test.  This allows me to test Amber here at home.

It was harder than I thought to be objective, but I followed all the rules and didn't violate any of the regulations.  Amber still found it much more pleasant to be tested at home.  At one point she even told me "I love doing my standardized testing, it is so easy here".  Hmm.  I hope she was taking it seriously, but I believe she really was doing her best.   She felt so much pressure they way it is done at school and she isn't the best at tests.  It always amazed me how she got straight A's and scored so high on standardized tests given how she freaks out during tests.

Each morning, Monday - Thursday, we started Amber's testing and completed 2 or 3 subtests before lunch and then had the afternoons for a couple of other subjects and relaxation. This schedule allowed Amber to finish testing a day early and gave her most of Friday for relaxation.

I only scheduled a little bit of additional school work for after the testing because I wasn't sure exactly how much time it would take and how stressful Amber would find the testing. We really only did history, language arts and Latin this week.

Amber had finished the book work for her first unit in the history LIFEPAC and we spent a little time each day reviewing with biographies and verbal quizzing of each other. We used Profiles in History on the iPad to read about Paul Revere and Thomas Paine. Amber loved using the Goodreads app so that she could complete the activities for each biography directly on the iPad instead of printing.  I need to find more textbooks for the iPad, because this really works well.
Plotting her fable, on iPad and paper.
We also began a new unit in language arts after having finished her last unit on adverbs. This is one of the writing units and so we spent most of the week discussing the aspects of fables. Friday, Amber picked an animal and started outlining the plot and lesson for her fable.  We will do the actual writing of the fable next week.
Fluffy new rug
Tuesday after lunch, we took time for a much needed update to Amber's bathroom. Back when Amber was 2, I redesigned the upstairs bathroom (at the old house) to be a cute Strawberry Shortcake bathroom.  It was soo adorable.  Everything you could imagine was Strawberry Shortcake, even the removable wall borders.   When we moved 2 years later, I took most of the stuff with us to make her bathroom in this house also Strawberry Shortcake - she was only 4 when we moved in.   But now the child is 10 and still using the embarrassingly childish bathroom.

Amber and I have been looking for a while and she finally decided on a color scheme - purple and blue.  Sounds odd, maybe, but we found design ideas that made it look peaceful and lovely. Only problem was that we couldn't find any stuff like what we saw in the design ideas.  I assumed Amber would eventually go for lavender bathroom stuff and blue walls, but she surprised me.  She picked out blue, creme and gray stuff  with beachy, flip-flop accessories.  It is "exactly what I want", according to Amber.  How could I argue with that.  The main items will be usable for years and the "beachy" stuff can easily be replaced without a total redesign.  We even picked out the new wall color after buying a few sample cans and painting them around on the walls.   Amber is over the moon with her new bathroom and it isn't even painted yet.

Again this week we took advantage of the crazy, unseasonably warm weather and, after a trip to Lowe's for plants and landscaping supplies on Wednesday, we spent a couple of days refreshing our front and back landscaping as well as replacing the perpetually dead bushes. I have no idea why, but a section of our back hedge dies every year. 

My landscaping buddy
Friday we did more work on completing her Presidential Fitness Challenge. She has finished all but 2 of the tests with a presidential level score. She is working on her curl-ups and push ups; they are both so close to the presidential score that I would hate her to miss the presidential award because of those two - she's 3 curl-ups and 2 pushups short. 

Amber also took her history and Latin tests on Friday at my parents' house. It was Grandpa-sitting day again and Amber only had a few of subjects of work to do.  We also started work on Amber's cross stitch project while there.  I dearly love to cross stitch and don't ask me why. I always have and it is so out of character.  I finally was able to get Amber to try it on Friday, and you know what?  She LOVED it.  I was a bit worried when she tried needlepoint last year and hated it. Whew! She is enamored with cross stitch and says it may be more fun than latch hook.  Be still my heart! 
History tests are a lot more fun at Grandma and Grandpa's house
Palm Wednesday
The funniest part of the week wasn't so much funny-ha-ha, as fun-loving and enjoyable.  On Wednesday, after our Lowe's trip, we decided not to do any actual planting but just started the pruning and weeding of the front landscape.  We had to trim the purple heather that has been blooming since early December! I've NEVER had to trim it before.  It made quite a mess in the landscape and Amber was helping me clean it up along with the clippings from the other plants.  Amber made her own "game" out of the clean-up, tossing all the clippings on the front walkway.  She called it "Palm Wednesday".  I then had to take her wagon and pull my load of landscaping rock over the "palms" before I could replenish the rock in the landscape.  It was a fun time!  Amber even said "this is more fun than blowing bubbles or swinging".  High praise, indeed.

I hope everyone else had as enjoyable week as we did, even with testing.

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