Sunday, June 19, 2016
Assessment 2016--Rose Red
Rose Red is a study in contrasts. She is bright, vibrant, alive, passionate, and fabulous! She also struggles to learn certain concepts, acts bored, is defiant, and flirts with danger. I'm usually at my wit's end about how to be her mother, but every time I'm about to fall off that end, she shows me her tremendous worth and her sensitive heart, and I have hope for this precious girl again.
We're on a waiting list for learning disability assessments; the tests should take place by August, but it could be later than that. Rose Red does fine with simple math calculations with whole numbers. Throw in decimals, fractions, variables, formulas, or practical application of math skills (a.k.a word problems) and she's lost--utterly lost. It took her 4 years to memorize the times tables, and we've now worked on decimals, fractions, and formulas for 2 years with little to no visible progress. Variables and word problems have always been part of the game with no visible progress--no matter what curriculum (we've used 9+ over the years), what style, or what format the lessons take.
She is (sort of) functional at math: she knows enough to understand pricing and change at a store (but not enough to check for mistakes--she could easily be cheated), how to follow a recipe in the kitchen (but not how to double it), how to budget money and time (but following that plan is a different story).
This year she worked on Math-U-See Epsilon and Zeta. She also worked on a variety of online fraction programs and a pre-algebra course when we had a free trial offered to us. She also worked on Calculus Without Tears volume 2.
She can do all of the work as long as I'm sitting right next to her reminding her of what she knows with leading questions. The minute I walk away, and she has to organize her thinking herself, she's lost, and the next minute she's angry. So she gets 100% for practice work and about 50% for tests. That averages out to a solid C, but a C that does not indicate mastery of the subject matter.
I am very interested in finding out what the assessments reveal about our frustrated, overwhelmed, fearful girl.
Rose Red is another voracious reader. She's a huge fan of dystopian novels, but she loves a good fantasy read as well. Her school work this year included some real challenges--such as Plato's The Republic, and she can read and comprehend well as evidenced by her written narrations of all of her assigned reading.
She's got a huge vocabulary, and she's a creative, insightful writer. More than once I've finished reading one of her essays/narrations with a smile on my face at her wry commentary about what she's read. Occasionally she writes with parenthetical asides that make me guffaw. Her spelling and punctuation are very poor, but her general grasp of applied grammar is solid--just don't ask her to diagram a sentence.
We spent the whole school year working our way through the first several levels of All About Spelling. During the lessons, her spelling is perfect. I mean perfect! Then she turns around and misspells the words in her writing assignments. If she's writing about democracy, then she will spell the word "democracy" 4 different ways within a single paragraph. But if I ask her to spell "democracy" separate from her writing assignment, she can do it exactly right.
She completed the first level of Vocabulary from Classical Roots. She did quite well at the assignments, with only occasional careless mistakes with words that change form depending on their part of speech (i.e. vacant (adj) and vacancy (n)).
We did no formal grammar study this year.
She took a communications course via a local university's high school/college dual enrollment program. It was a speech class, and she got one of the 2 A's that were earned that semester. The A was based on written assignments, oral speeches, evaluations of other speeches, self-evaluations, and exams. She did great work, and she's an engaging public speaker.
In addition to completing all of the LDSFamilySchool ancient history lessons with her sisters, she also read and responded in writing to the second half of The History of the Ancient World. She participated in our family historical read aloud sessions, as well. At the very end of the school year she completed a challenging reading/writing course of 3 books on the roots and background of American government.
After her happy success with Lifepac Health last year, we purchased Lifepac Science 9 this year. We anticipated a similarly successful science experience, but that was not the case. As she worked through the first text, it was clear that she could not understand the subject matter, and quite honestly, when I tried to help her with the assignments, I had a hard time understanding what was being asked and where in the text the answers were to be found.
When she failed the 3rd review assignment in a row, we dropped that course in favor of doing family Chemistry lessons out of God's Design for Chemistry--Properties of Matter (properties of matter being the subject of the first Lifepac Science 9 worktext). Though the God's Design for Chemistry book is targeted to elementary and middle schoolers, it covered all of the subject matter in the Lifepac Science 9 worktext--just in a more approachable, hands-on manner. We also began reading aloud together from The Disappearing Spoon, a chemistry book all about the periodic table of the elements written as a series of historical/scientific anecdotes.
Christmas break knocked us for a loop, and we never resumed God's Design for Chemistry. As a family we dropped The Disappearing Spoon, but Rose Red finished it on her own complete with written narrations of every section. That, combined with our family reading of The Story of Science: Newton at the Center, completed a solid historical and theoretical chemistry course. I think she'd need to complete a few more chemistry experiments to get lab credit, though.
As part of her self-directed work, Rose Red studied medicinal plants. She'd read about a plant, sketch it, write about it, and try to find it on her own in any local woods or fields. Her study was seriously hampered by taking place during the winter. :) Should she pick back up where she left off this summer, I'd encourage her to harvest some plants and make some of the remedies she's studied about.
Rose Red loves all things beautiful. She is a creator at heart.
She earned a half credit for completing the art and music lessons in the LDSFamilySchool.
She's earned another half credit for countless hours of piano practice/performance. She plays the piano by ear, picking out a familiar melody and creating a satisfying accompaniment. She mostly plays current pop hits, but she also plays hymns and some classical music. Just this week, I've been listening to her pick out Mozart's Rondo Alla Turca. In order to give her a formal high school credit for her playing I told her she'd have to perform in public, and she did so in January of this year at our homeschool talent show.
As part of her self-directed work, Rose Red spent quite a bit of time studying high fashion design and the history of fashion. She also completed several dozen sketches of original fashion designs. When she realized that her drawings would need to be translated into actual clothing for her to progress in this area of study, she lost interest. Sewing is not one of her strengths.
Ummm, I can't think of any way to give her P.E. credit. She does some body-sculpting workouts once in a while. For a short time she would jog/walk with me in the mornings. She's done a bit of study about good/poor eating habits. But overall, I don't think she's done enough to merit even a half credit this year. At least she completed health last year. :)
Rose Red completed her second year of early morning seminary with an "A" grade. The subject matter was The Old Testament. In addition to this, she participated in our family readings of Old and New Testament stories and memorizing half a dozen Old Testament scriptures.
Our Family Devotionals have focused on The Book of Mormon and memorizing The Family: A Proclamation to the World. Rose Red has participated in these activities.
She earned her Personal Progress medallion in October of 2015.
Rose Red is a study in contrasts when it comes to matters of faith. One minute she is furious with God and claims she doesn't believe, and the next she is bearing a testimony of light and strength. I believe she is more of a believer than she realizes, and once she makes up her mind, she will be a powerful witness of Christ.
She's not a lover of the art of homemaking . . . as it applies to our messy, chaotic, huge family. She loves beauty--craves it--and she wants to make a home that is physically beautiful. At best our home can be described as . . . functional. She is frustrated by caring for our brown slipcovers, stained carpets, and ringed bathtubs. She wants to design and live in beautiful rooms.
I hope she gets to someday. :)
When I serve a meal, my goal is quantity in a timely and easy-to-clean-up manner. When she serves a meal, it is usually late and served with a plethora of serving dishes because she has spent huge quantities of time arranging the food in a visually pleasing way. The table is truly a thing of beauty when Rose Red is in charge.
Recipes hold no power over Rose Red. If she's cooking, she wants to create something completely original. This works just fine for soups, casseroles, salads, and sandwiches--not so well for baking. :) She is frustrated by the fact that baking is governed by fairly rigid scientific rules; however, when she wants a sweet treat, she can force herself to follow the recipe so that her treat will turn out yummy. And it does.
She's a capable care giver when required--able to keep children clean and safe and fed. She may be able to walk past a cute baby with barely a glance, and she may not want to play board games with schoolchildren, but when she becomes a mother, I have every confidence that she will throw herself into her role with dedicated passion.
Rose Red participated in her final year of our song/dance group. She could stay with it, but she is mentally done and ready to move on to other activities.
She studied for and earned her driver's permit. Driving does not come naturally to her, and she pulled away from practice after scaring herself (and her parents) a few times. I hope she'll earn her license this summer.
At church, the girls sometimes have the opportunity to work in leadership positions among girls in their classes. For a time this school year, Rose Red served as president of the Mia Maid class in the Young Women's program. She exercised some good, Christ-like leadership skills in that capacity.
She got a job this year, too. She's had unofficial jobs as babysitter and mother's helper, and she worked at the local minor league baseball stadium last summer at one of the snack shacks, but this is her first get-a-check-and-pay-taxes job. She works as a runner for the buffet table at a (sort of) local restaurant. She's proving to be a faithful and reliable employee.
Overall, Rose Red earned the following high school credits for her 10th grade year:
1.0--General Language Arts
1.0--Communications 110, College/High School dual enrollment
0.5--Foundations of American Government
0.5--Music: Piano performance
1.0--General Science w/Chemistry focus
1.0--General Math with Calculus principles
0.5--Religion: Book of Mormon studies and developing a personal testimony
(Rose Red refuses to let me give her a credit for her seminary experiences. She says that public schooled kids don't count it, so she won't either.)
Rose Red is a terribly bright, creative, fun-loving, social young woman. She has some learning hurdles that really trip her up, and she does not have any real sense of direction other than that she wants to be "successful." This desire for success and the spiritual direction she has a tenuous hold of have helped her make good choices in tough emotional/social situations. I believe that by continuing to put one foot in front of the other and by keeping her mind open to studying a variety of subjects, she'll open doors, find her way, and become the success of her dreams.