Tests - Does MFW include this? Do you add tests or review?

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Julie in MN
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Tests - Does MFW include this? Do you add tests or review?

Unread post by Julie in MN »

Question: Are there any tests at all through any of the curriculum? Thank you for your help!
MFW is not a test-based curriculum. There are a couple little things such as ECC's pre- & post-test on geography. CtG has a weekly test on the Greek roots you are learning. There are a few other things like weekly Bible verse & spelling tests.

But the history is not test-based. It is more of a "portfolio evaluation," in that you have a notebook that shows all their work.

If you feel nervous about leaving testing behind, you can easily add something. Make something yourself, find quizzes online, order the test booklet for Streams of Civilization or Story of the World, or keep an older textbook on your shelf.

IMHO, test-taking is indeed a skill, but it is often not a good evaluation of general learning. My ds gets some test experience by doing a standardized test each year (required in MN), and he does better with MFW than he did in the public schools :o)

mrsvogt wrote:How does MFW test? Is there a placement test, tests throughout to make shure their getting it? A test each year to make shure we're in the right spot? HELP!!!
Posted Tue May 05, 2009 9:58 pm by Julie in MN
Homeschoolers are the "highest" form of education -- a private tutor! As your child's teacher, you will know when she is getting it and when she needs more time or more help. You can always post on these boards if you come to a bump in the road. Just a note: Remember that there *will* be hard spots that take a while for each child to absorb, and that doesn't mean you're not doing a good job or your curriculum is not adequate.

Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002+)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs
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Unread post by kellybell »


As for testing, I am not a test sort of person. As Julie pointed out, there are some tests sort of built in, for vocabulary and spelling and such. Many math programs have tests too.

If you want to do more testing just to see where your kids are, you can write your own. I have a neighbor that homeschools (but not with MFW) and she makes a monthly test for her daughter. It works for her.

I often just have the kids tell Dad over dinner what we covered. He'll often ask some questions and we get the picture on whether we can move on or review what didn't sink in.

Schools need tests because the teacher has to assign grades to 20 or 30 students. Tests work for that, but moms don't really NEED them...

Have fun. I think you'll like the ease of teaching MFW. Keep posting those questions.
Kelly, wife to Jim since 1988, mom to Jamie (a girl, 1994), Mary (1996), Brian (1998) and Stephanie (2001).
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Have you written up tests?

Unread post by mom2boys »

Eve wrote:I was wondering if any of you ladies have written up tests for your students? My dh would like to be able to look at their work and see where they are at. What do you think?
Posted: Wed Oct 03, 2007 7:09 am
I have an 11 & 8 yo (and a busy almost 2 yo), but we are doing CtG.

My boys love to show their notebooks to Dad and they discuss what they have been learning that way. Also sometimes he will ask them if they learned anything interesting today while we are eating dinner. Would a more casual approach like this work?

Julie - Staff
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Unread post by Julie - Staff »

Posted: Wed Oct 03, 2007 7:51 am

We tend to use the less formal approach as well ----but SOTW does have tests avail to purchase.

At various times I have made up tests for dd by just doing some quick T/F and M/C type questions over what we've studied for a few weeks ---not bec I want to see what she knows or remembers but bec she really likes that kind of thing.

I think narration for notebooking gives a better idea of what they are learning or remembering.

Oh, we also make note-cards with topics that we've studied and the kids use them as quiz cards - we do those sometimes with daddy when he's home for dinner --they like to see which one can answer the most questions.
Last edited by Julie - Staff on Wed Apr 02, 2008 6:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Jenn in NC
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Unread post by Jenn in NC »

Posted: Wed Oct 03, 2007 1:16 pm

My dh was like your dh, he didn't really know what was being learned. It wasn't too hard to change that though; I just started asking the kids at dinner to tell daddy something they learned about today (usually I will give them some sort of prompt -- like a bit of informal narration)... or when we are doing our studies during the day I will tell them all to pay close attention for one or two things they want to be able to tell about at dinner, and so on. They love this!

If they work hard on a project or notebooking page, we will leave it out till dinner time so they can show daddy. This is even more fun if grandparents or someone is coming over for dinner. It seems to really help them take their work more seriously, and we have had some really great dinner discussions.

Now dh has a good idea what we are covering from week to week, and seems to really enjoy being involved. Once I started making an effort to do things that would showcase the kid's work for him, he didn't ask anymore about tests. And just recently he asked if I minded if he started doing some of the read alouds at night with the kids!!

Here is an idea I heard once that I haven't tried yet, but I have always wanted to -- you could videotape the highlights of your schooltime all week long, and then have a special veiwing of the video on Friday night, complete with popcorn etc! I bet the kids would love it and it might give dh a better feel for what you all are accomplishing! Or they could prepare a little speech, or whatever.

Just some thoughts. HTH :)
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Unread post by Jenneve »

Posted: Thu Oct 04, 2007 8:40 am

I think a great alternative to formal tests would be board games. Take the information you're learning and put into board game form (ex. Candyland, Trivial Pursuit, etc.). I heard this idea once at a homeschool group meeting and just fell in love with the idea. I'm thinking about doing something like this for an end of the year review when we're done with ECC.
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Unread post by Heidi »

Posted: Sat Oct 06, 2007 10:06 am

I use the camera to record digitally and put them onto discs to send at Christmas to grandparents. I also photocopy a couple of their best pages from their notebooks and send them at the end of a curriculum. When they come to visit - we put out the notebooks.
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Unread post by Poohbee »

Posted: Mon Dec 17, 2007 6:43 pm

About testing...it is really not needed as much in a homeschooling situation as it is in a classroom situation. Teachers need to test the kids so that the teacher can assess where each child is in his or her learning, but mostly it is because there is so much pressure from administration, parents, and the general public to know how the kids "did on the test." Really, we need to change our views about testing and when and how to use it. (I know this, because I was a public school teacher). Oops! Really got on my soap box there, didn't I? Sorry about that!

I think in the lower grades (K, 1, 2), teachers try to use more informal methods of assessment, such as observation, etc. but it is still hard to always know exactly where each child is at. So, they use those wonderful paper/pencil tests that are easy to grade and easy to use to determine if the child learned and understands the material. I am not a huge fan of tests. I am more in favor of performance assessments, in which the child can show what he or she learned by completing a project or some hands-on tasks, but performance assessments are much more time-consuming to administer and grade than paper/pencil tests. Sorry...I'll hush up about that now. :-)

In a homeschool setting, you are working one-on-one with your child, especially when they are in the lower elementary grades, so you always know right where your child is in his or her learning. As Crystal said, the "test" comes in whether or not they can read the Bible reader, narrate the story they just heard, etc. You don't really need to administer any kind of a test. Just move forward when it is clear they understand the material and take a bit more time when it seems that they need extra practice.

I'm using MFW 1st right now, and I agree with everything Crystal said in her post. (Thanks for all of your wisdom, insight, and experience, Crystal!) As she said, just keep moving forward as you are able. It'll all come together in time! Try not to get discouraged, and celebrate your victories, no matter how small, each and every day! :-)

In Christ,

Are there ever any tests?

Unread post by cbollin »

jtcarter14 wrote:Are there ever any tests with the MFW curriculum? What about with Singapore math and PLL? I assume any spelling book would have to test since that's the nature of spelling. I was fine without worrying about testing, but my dh is adamant that we test them, esp. with math. I've been holding him off since we started in Jan., but I will need to find some way to test them if it's not provided in the books. I tried finding random math websites to print things out from, but I didn't find anything great b/c they don't go along with the exact math we're doing.
Thanks again!
Even though I don't think "testing" is needed for each subject when you homeschool in elementary year, I want to try to give some ideas.

*for Singapore, use the unit reviews as "tests". I have heard of some people on other forums who use the placement test for each level as an exit test in Singapore. so that's quick and easy. Allow LOTS of time for those placement tests. They are very very long!

*in Spelling Power, there are delayed recall tests, and end of level tests. (however, SP is about teaching spelling rules with phonics. It is not "test this random list" But again, you'll have tests in the book itself.

*PLL -- my recommendation is that if you have to give grades in PLL, make the vast majority of the grade based on the daily work. no further testing is needed. In fact, the grades should be more based on rubric style of grading which looks for skills and progress, instead of snap shot tests. As your children's primary teacher, you'll have better knowledge of their progress than a classroom teacher who has to rely on testing of that stuff. If you need ideas for some easy rubrics to follow for PLL, one quick thing to look at would be the online samples of the teacher's edition of PLL that Lost Classics has published. The appendix pages cover it. However, I think the evaluation should be based on daily work and not "final exams" for this level. In ILL, you'll have "mid term reviews" in the book itself.. You can call it a test.

other subjects: the unit study stuff, (Bible and history and science) will have no formal tests. Instead, you build a portfolio of work all year long with the notebooks.

in jr. high years, there are tests in some things like Saxon math, Apologia Science, and even Applications of Grammar has a test book.

just one opinion.
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My Father's World-K -- Questions!

Unread post by Jami »

mrsvogt wrote:How does MFW test? Is there a placement test, tests throughout to make sure they're getting it? A test each year to make sure we're in the right spot? HELP!!!
We are finishing up K next month and also doing ADV, all with having a 3 year old and a baby underfoot.

First, your daughter sounds similar to where my son was academically when he started K this school year. We have still done most steps in K and he has enjoyed it, even when it was review. He is now reading short vowel words well. There is no testing in K but you can do more activities or spend more time on them if she needs the extra help with letter sounds and reading.

ADV only has spelling tests and there is a placement test for math, but you will be right there with your child that it doesn't seem odd that you are not testing more.

I'm so excited for you to start K! It's been so fun and seeing my son learn in an enjoyable way is such a gift.
Jami - AF Wife

8th, 5th, 3rd, 1st, Pre-K

2014/15 ECC
2013/14 1850MT & 1st
2012/13 EX1850 & K
2011/12 RTR & 1st
2010/11 CTG & K
2009/10 ECC & 1st
2008/09 ADV & K

More tests?

Unread post by cbollin »

jtcarter14 wrote: I'm looking for more independence for my older kids during school and dh is wanting them to have more tests. SO. With that said, am I just not cut out for MFW? Are there other ways to encourage them to work more independently?

I know I can make tests up to appease dh, but that's just more work since nothing from MFW comes with tests. Can someone remind me why they don't use tests? What about when MFW kids get to college and have to take really hard tests all the time? Are they ready for it?

Thanks. :~
I'm not sure I know the reason that your husband wants "more tests." Can you explain that a bit more so we can help with specific ideas for his goals? I know we'd all like to do something to help each other meet goals.

until then..... just typing away....

My opinion -- my goals.... (your mileage may be different.)

some subjects in elementary years are just "silly" for a homeschooling parent test in because other methods do a better job showing what was learned. I believe it was Winston Churchill who is quoted as saying something to the effect of "Tests just told the teacher what I didn't know. Why can't they ask me what I do know?"

I think that applies very much to history and Bible, and possibly in science. In other words, what purpose does testing really do for a child up to around grade 7?

in elementary years, MFW gives us some things that are easy to "test" on:
*Singapore Math -- those end of unit reviews can be a "test" if a teacher truly wants to do it that way
*PLL and ILL -- those books have review and end of semester things -- if you truly really wanted to turn those into tests you could.

So, skill based subjects such as math and language arts, can be tested with a bit more "objective" methods.

Other subjects are, well, more 'subjective" in assessment.

When we do all of that notebooking and have the kids write it down --- they are telling us something they DID learn. When they tell Daddy what they did today -- that's conversation. It doesn't need to be a test.

when they pick up a book and can read parts of it on their own -- that is how we know we taught them how to read! so why give a test in phonics?

When they misspell a word -- that says "hmmm.... they need to learn that a bit more".

When we give them a craft project and let them work independently -- they learn skills that way.

when we cook together as a family -- we learn team work.

Starting around 7th grade, MFW really encourages us to help our children transition more fully to being more "independent". but really all that might mean is that we are encouraging them to be "more responsible" for their assignments and their "learning". Honestly, we are never independent of each other. So, I'm personally hoping to stop saying "more independent" and saying "appropriate stage of learning responsibility". I see from David's workshops this year, he's saying about "self motivated Christian thinkers". interesting....... I guess I'm not the only homeschooler unsure of saying "independent". neat.

Saxon math -- you get real tests
apologia jr. high -- real tests
applications of grammar -- real tests
Progeny Press -- not tests per se, but more of the written answers and such
even Rosetta Stone is graded for you and jr. high and older can do that with more of their responsibility.

High school - tests AND MFW even offers a resource for SAT Prep!

So, when you have to have your elementary age children working more on their own, there are things they are already doing in MFW to encourage that. Book Basket, math workbooks, time to write letters, or to play with siblings in a geography game.

Well, I know there are other ways that people are encouraging more "stage of learning appropriate responsibility in learning" for elementary kids when mom has a family to tend to. I'm sure you'll get plenty of ideas.

Julie in MN
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Re: More tests?

Unread post by Julie in MN »

jtcarter14 wrote:Well, I just asked dh, and he says he wants them tested often b/c knowing they have tests coming up will encourage them to learn and memorize the things they are reading about. I guess he means instead of in one ear and out the other.

I tend to learn more towards not testing. But, I just asked dd some simple questions about things that she read about on Thursday. She got them all wrong. Yikes! What to do?
jtcarter14 wrote:Can someone remind me why they don't use tests? What about when MFW kids get to college and have to take really hard tests all the time? Are they ready for it?
Hi Jessica,
It's good you're talking thru this with dh, and you may well find you are more comfortable with textbooks since that was the way you were raised.

I'd just like to warn you that no matter how you teach a child, he will not retain it all. So don't get your hopes up too high on that. I've had public schooled kids, so I've been able to see this from a different side than just trying to remember when *I* was the child. For instance, when my youngest was in 2nd grade, they studied the 50 states, just like Adventures does. He did things like geography worksheets, where kids got to enjoy looking at globes and maps, trying to answer the half-sheet of the week. When he brought these home, they had mostly crazy answers on them and the teacher didn't have time to really correct them, so it was just an exposure. The main focus of the year-long study was a "parade" where each child had created a "float" for a different state of the union. Truthfully, the floats were mostly made by the parents. And if you asked a child about the state, there were precious few answers that were of any value. My son's float was on Texas, and he said they had an Alamo thing, but he wasn't really sure what that was. The kids enjoyed parading through the school.

But by the end of 3rd grade, after having done ECC, my son knew where dozens of countries were on a blank world map. He knew quite a few things about their cultures and even their prayer needs, too. I did find he was mixing up the Asian countries, so I made a little quiz on those & we reviewed the different cultures in his notebook and all -- so you can add that way, too. But really, he knew a lot for a 3rd grader by just having a general idea of India, China, Japan, and eastern Russia.

You're right that retention is a toughie in any curriculum, though. One thing I've noticed is that often Marie does schedule review in the lesson plans (playing the geography game or books of the Bible game, for instance), and a lot of us skip that rather than skip a *new* assignment. Then later, we suddenly wonder why the kids aren't remembering much lately and whether we should do more review -- only to realize that we had skipped it for months, woops!

Wow, I'm so impressed by all of the parents like you who are thinking all of these things thru with such little ones. And if the tests already in MFW aren't enough (spelling, math, ECC countries at the end of the year, etc), you could always give textbooks a try in at least one more subject. But don't get your hopes up too very high :)

Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002+)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs

Re: More tests?

Unread post by cbollin »

jtcarter14 wrote:But, I just asked dd some simple questions about things that she read about on Thursday. She got them all wrong. Yikes! What to do?
agreeing with Julie :)
I assume (?) that you don't mean that you asked her right now as in 5-10 minutes before you posted. I assume you mean right after the reading on Thursday?

well....not trying to brag or anything,.... just trying to put my thoughts in context.
I was tested all through school and got straight A's. It was in my ear, spilled on the paper and then forgotten. I could memorize stuff long enough for the test. Got all A's. I was ranked number 1 out of 270 in my high school graduation class. (aint' that special. big deal right? Like it matters a quarter century later.) I did graduate from a top ranked university (currently ranked #12 in the nation by US News), but it was a struggle. I mean I ended up with a 2.92 gpa in college. So, testing to plop it all on paper is not always working either.

Based on that experience.....

I offer a tweak to your husband's suggestion about the test. I agree with his goal of it not being in one ear and out the other. That's an excellent goal. I'm not confident that studying for a test in elementary will accomplish it. I think there are other ways to do that and you two can decide if it is right for your family. We don't have to agree on it. Some kids get motivated by tests too. So, you know your kid. I don't.

That tweak is "teach them how to learn, don't teach them to fear tests"

Some practical applications along the way in elementary years:

*Before a reading (either out loud or silent reading) --- remind your students that we will have some questions and discussion.
*Tell them ahead of time some of the questions to listen for answers to.
*Involve them actively in the listening process. Stop along the way and ask and answer questions. If they are drifting away, let them have something to do that keeps their attention (some kids -- that means crocheting or playing with modeling clay. Other kids -- it means having a list of questions in front of them)

*After she's done reading, ask her then (or at least the same day). Many children will retain more if they are talking about it right away. And you are right there to help them process it so they can think about it.

You mentioned you asked simple questions..... That's good.
I'd recommend more on Narration techniques.
Here is a link with the more of that.

part of the "testing" that is part of MFW program is using Narration after readings. So my point is mostly to take a step back in the narration and make sure your daughter knows that you will be asking stuff. Do that ahead of the reading. yes, they need reminders on that.......

*Once a week at family supper -- let your child Review Out Loud or even give a 5 minute presentation. This week, I learned this in geography (and show their work or notebook page or flag or whatever). Some children will benefit from talking about it and will remember that for a longer time than a test.

*It is ok in some cases to use the idea of "open book testing" --- it helps them to look up details. This is especially ok when reading and discussion literature. Just think about how we are as adults in our Sunday school classes --- we bring our Bibles, read out loud (in turns) in class, and then we look at our Bibles and talk. Well, that's ok to do with elementary kids too -- and the more they practice that kind of discussion, the easier it will be on the transition to taking notes in Apologia General Science so they can pass the test.

So -- written tests are not the only way to "test" in elementary. Take a look at the link I shared for ideas especially on the section about variations.

just one opinion. I need to get my middle school dd to church for the pre game party....... It's so much fun, really.... our middle school pastor (who is also the pastor to the senior adults. go to love that multigenerational thing.....) anyway he is from Indiana just like my kids. Turns out he had applied for a position at the church we attended in Indiana, but got hired here in Memphis area. wow!

all of that last part to say: God's word calls us "saints".... but Let's go Colts!

:-) :-)

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Re: More tests?

Unread post by TriciaMR »


This is a hard place to be. Your dh wants more tests, you don't. He's worried about your kids retaining what they've learned. You just asked something of your kid, and she answered wrong... Ahhhh!

Okay, last Sunday, one of our pastors said during the sermon that a congregation forgets 95% of what they heard by the next Sunday. So, if we adults forget that much, then, well, our kids are going to forget, too. (I wonder if that's the only thing I remember from last week's sermon!) In college we used to joke about doing a "core dump" after a test/exam or end of a course. (A "core dump" is what computer sometimes do right before they crash - write everything in memory on the harddrive, and then crash. Computers generally don't read the core dump when they boot back up, so they forget where they were before the crash. That's a loose description, anyway. Programmers have tools to analyze the core dump to try to figure out what caused the crash.) Yep, we studied hard and learned a bunch of information for an upcoming test, but then, unless we used it in another class or in our job then we promptly forgot the "facts." But, what we did learn was problem solving. So, I learned how to look things up when I needed them (like some geometry stuff I needed in my first job for plotting map stuff), and learned how to read what I needed to learn new programming languages, I learned who to ask when I needed information for my job.

I also want to encourage you not to be afraid to repeat a year. I have a friend at homeschool group - I was very excited last year that she was doing ECC the same time we were. Well, I asked her this year, and she said that she and dh decided to repeat the year because her kids didn't retain anything (she has 5 boys, the youngest under 1 year old). She changed how she was teaching some of the materials and she said things are going much better.

If you want to write some tests - maybe make tests for the geography vocabulary, may I suggest easytestmaker.com - it's free, and it takes me all of about 5 minutes to make matching vocabulary tests for my dd (we're in CTG this year, and that's one of her things for "independent time" while I'm teaching K to my twin 5 yo boys). It handles all the formatting and such that can take so much time in Word.

On Fridays, have the kids do a presentation for dad after dinner called, "What I learned this week." Let the kids know this is going to happen. Encourage the older one to write in a notebook everyday the most interesting fact he learned.

At age 7, you're going to have to do a lot of hand holding. My dd is now 9, and I'm amazed at how much more she is able to do by herself, and how much she wants to do by herself. Can you work with the 7yo during baby's nap time? Can the 9yo help the 7yo? I know when I helped other people learn something or study something, I learned it better myself.

Some other thoughts - alternate the kids playing with the baby. So, for example, while you work with the oldest on English, younger one entertains baby quietly close by. Then, you switch, and oldest plays with baby while you do spelling with the 7yo. Wear the baby in a sling. Is the baby teething? We had some pretty fussy days then with the boys when they were teething.

All that said... If your husband wants you to change curriculum, then, well, do it. Don't go against him, but ask him to then help you decide what to use. Pray about it and work together. Ask him to help outline goals so you can narrow down choices and present 3 options to him or something like that.

Trish - Wife to Phil, Mom to Toni(18), Charlie(14), and Trent(14)
2014-2015 - AHL, CTG
2015-2016 - WHL, RTR
2016-2017 - EXP1850, US1877
2017-2018 - DE, 1850MOD
2018-2019 - College, AHL
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Amy C.
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Re: More tests?

Unread post by Amy C. »

I just have to say that we used ACE up until this year. My kids had a lot of tests. They had 12 Pace's per 6 subjects for a total of 72 Pace booklets in a year. With each Pace there was a pretest to make sure they were ready to take the test and then they would take the actual test. So that is 2 tests per Pace for a total of 144 tests in a year. I hope my math is correct, but my point is they took a lot of tests. I came to the realization that they were memorizing answers for the test and then not retaining the info. They retained what they were interested in, but by in large, I did not think that they were retaining near what I thought they should be. Oh, they both made A's, mostly 100's, but when asked to tell back what they had learned, they could not tell a whole lot. They might could that day, but a month later it was hard for them to recall very much. Not only that but the workload began to take its toll on them and stole their love of learning. I saw that if they did not love to learn then it was just robotic, learning how to make the grade on the test, but not retaining. They were really beginning to hate school. It started with my oldest. At first, I thought it was just him and his personality, but when I saw it in my 2nd son, I knew it was more than that. I began to really evaluate what constitutes learning. I am not anti-test, and I was a little nervous about doing school a totally different way with little to no tests, but I have come to realize an A on a test does not equal learning retention and it certainly does not mean that the child has a love of learning which I think is very important throughout life.

I am not trying to cause problems between you and your husband, and I have never used SOS, but I felt like I needed to share our experience. I will pray God will lead you and your husband to the right answers for you and your family.

Amy C.
Julie in MN
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Re: More tests?

Unread post by Julie in MN »

We have done yearly standardized tests from 3rd through 7th grade now, always using MFW, and always using the Iowa Basics. The Iowa Basics is a "basic" test of ability, not of knowledge bites. Anyways, my son has always tested at or above grade level over the years, and last year we had to figure out what "PHS" meant -- I found it stood for "post high school." So someone who had been using MFW for 5 years at that time was testing PHS in 7th grade.

And in case you think it's "just a couple of kids" who do well with MFW, here are even more folks:
jtcarter14 wrote:If they still went to the school they went to before we started homeschooling, here is their curriculum guide. Click on Grades K-6 Curriculum Summary, and you can scroll though the science sections for each grade.

Here's an example from 3rd grade science: "In life science students will examine the circulatory and respiratory systems of the human body, and will also study plants. In physical science, students will explore force, electricity, heat and temperature. In earth science they will explore soil and natural resources. The students will also study bridges and create their own bridge designs."

It just seems very comprehensive compared to what we're doing and esp. what I see for next year. I'm considering adding some other science curriculum to CTG next year.
Thanks for copying that, because it helps to understand where your concerns are coming from.

That kind of description is meant to impress, like the garbage man who's a sanitation engineer. We all do that in order to bring out the best of our world & give our daily efforts some dignity. But I would guess that the actual 3rd grade classroom will look much less impressive than the words. You might see a short article in a textbook with some big pictures, a worksheet to fill out, and an experiment. Much of the hands-on may be done in groups where each child only does a portion, or at home where parents do a portion. The topics will probably be grouped so one "unit" is covered every few weeks. And the actual results will vary from year to year. I remember my oldest son's 6th grade teacher telling me at conferences, "I usually like to do a lot of experiments with the kids, but this year, well, we have Ryan..." (Ryan is loved by our family so I can mention him by name :) .)

Please don't let schools intimidate you. Set your own goals with your dh. Then work out how to accomplish "your" goals. They might require textbooks and tests, or experiments and observation. And once you have it all laid out, you may find it easier to accomplish your goals because you won't be skipping the very elements that were part of your primary goals for the year (review, scientific observation, math facts, etc).

Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002+)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs

How to test children for retention of information

Unread post by cbollin »

mtnmama wrote:My son is only in Kindergarten so I am not looking for anything complex. However, in looking over all of the MFW product descriptions I don't see any information on the kinds of assessment tools used for each grade level.

I have just been using casual questions to see if my son remembers some of the key things we learned for each week. What does MFW use for 1st or 2nd grade?
I've used the badges
I've used questions and hints when they get stuck.

after that: notebooking.
Nothing like flipping through old memories in a photo album or scrapbook and just talking about what you remember, or reading a caption to jog the memory, and that's what we do when we tutor our children. We ask them questions while reading (narration), we ask them to tell it back to us. we ask again at supper when dad casually says tell me what made your day fun today.

Later in the program when children are learning more independently, there are tests in later grades and some subjects. (then again, some people will debate if they retain or just repeat on a test?)

When it comes to memory retrieval, out loud "testing" can be beneficial. In other words, pausing between paragraphs of an article and asking yourself or your children to paraphrase the information, or repeat a fact. Some children will need prompts to help their memory and that's ok.

other ways come through game playing (Geography game, or state/capitals, or other similar things) Some are done in songs.
Posts: 78
Joined: Tue Aug 03, 2010 11:09 am

Re: How to test children for retention of information

Unread post by 1974girl »

Postby 1974girl » Mon Nov 22, 2010 11:39 am
This is my daughters' favorite way for me to "test" them. Get a stuffed frog or let him be the frog. Ask a question. If he gets it right, then his frog can jump one jump to the finish line. At the end, they get to jump in your arms! We hop all around the couch. Extra hard questions (from months ago) get two jumps. Last year questions get 3. By the end of the game, you will know if he "got it". I have a 10 year old who still likes to hop. : ) I also turned our twister mat into math problems. Then I tell her to step on the answer for 3x7, etc. That might be fun for easy math for your son.

LeAnn-married to dh 13 yrs
Mama to Leah (10) and Annalise (7)
Adventures (09-10) and currently using ECC
"When you teach your children...you teach your children's children."
LeAnn-married to dh 17 yrs
Mama to Leah (14) and Annalise (11)
Used from Adventures on and finishing final year (1850-modern) this year
"When you teach your children...you teach your children's children."
Posts: 174
Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2007 4:55 pm

Should I Start Multi-Age Family Cycle

Unread post by mgardenh »

SuwaneeMom wrote:I currently use MFW now for 2nd grade and thinking of trying the Family Cycle next year. Do they ever add in any tests or quizes, not sure I would want them going all the way to 8th grade without some of that... Thanks
Monica Harrison
About tests. Most math programs have tests, so what ever your doing you will be testing them in math. There are no tests in the mfw program really(other then testing on memory verses). You don't need it (unless your state requires it). The reason is you are working so closely with your child you will know how they are doing and area's they need to work on. So tests are not necessary. If you chose to test your child you will have to come up with your own based on what is being taught in the curriculum or have your children do standardized test.

I hope I answered your questions somewhat. I am sure other people who are better at this will chime in.
DH to Laurel
SAHD (mostly) to
Julia - 10 years old, Explorations to 1850
Alexis-7 years old, Explorations to1850 see her story at
Have used MFW, k, 1st, Adventures, and ECC, CTG, RtR
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Joined: Mon Oct 23, 2006 5:59 pm

Re: Should I Start Multi-Age Family Cycle

Unread post by HSmommi2mine »

You can add in the occasional SOTW test once they hit Jr. High and there will be the science tests from Apologia starting in 7th grade, so they will get some practice. No need to test a 3rd grader though.

Wife to my favorite guy
Mom to 3 great kids
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Joined: Thu May 15, 2008 1:23 pm

Re: Should I Start Multi-Age Family Cycle

Unread post by SuwaneeMom »

Thanks everyone so much for you replies! That is true...since I supplement Math and Language I can have tests and quizes built in with that.

Of course you're right I know what he is understanding because I work along side of him so there is no real need for testing there...I guess what drives the questions about the tests come from my 2 High Schoolers testing performance now.

I love Adventures in my Father's World and my year with Abeka, while very academically strong, left my son in tears most days (I will say though he has the most beautiful cursive ;) !!) We were happy to return to the fun days of school enjoying many books and stories together and still enjoying a great part of US History and Science. THANK you so much for your time and thoughts :)

Monica Harrison
Mom to Fabio 24 (US Army), Michel 17, Brianna 16, Kaden 8, Quinn 5 and Kara 1

Review Tests and Quizzes

Unread post by cbollin »

LuvMyKids wrote:I am wondering if anyone out there has found or written tests and quizzes to go with My Father's World. Next year I will need to give my oldest grades and I am not sure how to grade with the way I currently do it. I looked at switching to a curriculum that comes with tests and quizzes or review questions but every time I type in google [enter new curriculum name here] vs MFW I find tons of reasons why people left the other curriculum to come to MFW. So, I really don't want to change. I thought perhaps I could keep a notebook and every week right down a main point that we learned that week to make a question for a test but honestly, if there are tests written I don't want to reinvent the wheel. I appreciate any help and ideas I can get on this matter. :)
Tests and Quizzes are not the only way to give legit grades.

I have to give grades with my umbrella school. In elementary years, they are content with "pass/fail". starting in jr. high they prefer to see A B C... but I still haven't added extra tests/quizzes for Bible or History.

What grade level are you looking at? (in terms of 5th, 6th, 7th, 1st) glad to share ideas on how I "give semester grades" with Bible and History without doing "formal tests and quizzes" in the years prior to high school.

This will not be an issue in high school for you. :)
LuvMyKids wrote:I am looking at 5th grade. In part these are also so I can see what she is retaining as well. You said I will not need to worry about these in high school... does that mean that MFW comes with tests for high school?
High school not only includes "tests" for evaluation in SOME subjects, but other "graded assignments" that might not be full test. take a look on pages 8-9 of this sample to see it broken down in Ancients.
In US 1 (3rd year of high school)... more formal textbook style tests are done in history.... there are some quizzes in WHL... but in history there isn't this focus on taking a test in history or Bible.
here's that sample on AHL
go to page 8 and 9 for breakdown
http://www.mfwbooks.com/downloads/pdfs/ ... sample.pdf

and in US1 pages 13 and 14..
http://www.mfwbooks.com/downloads/pdfs/ ... sample.pdf

Staring with 7th grade, here are some subjects that will have "tests" and more traditional grading methods:

Math with Saxon
Science with Apologia.
Progeny Press Guides - will have more questions and such to give check marks on grades...
the grammar books... those are "gradeable" with check marks....

Before that year... Is it just the Bible and History you need help to give legit grades to an umbrella school?

Bible: are they doing any copywork and participating in trying to do memory work? Give this grade as "class participation". Is your child participating with you? It's an A. (remember in PE class when we were in school... you show up, get hit with the kickball from the bully.... shower... you got an A"

History can be on a "subjective" feel scale.... do you feel like they are getting the information and can retell some of it?
timeline completion ________
notebooking assignments________
narration as daily work________
Hands on Projects. _________
good attitude _______
could each of those been listed as 20% of grade?

what kind of standards does any outside group want to have on grades in 5th grade? Does it have to be "A" "B"..... can it be "excellent"... satisfactory.... Needs improvement.?

No... it doesn't have to be "tests"... tests are to show what you didn't learn... when you are in one on one tutoring, you tend to know what they are learning. Give them a grade on what they know at this age...

I never had "grades" that counted until 8th grade for high school transcript. Our "grades" in 7th grade were to help us have a year to transition. Before that our report cards were E, S, NI.

I have no problem giving my 7th grade daughter an A in history... she is listening each day.. she is present. she is doing her assignments. She writes well on some days and other days she draws well. She is learning and retaining some information during narration.

I use narration as "oral test"...

Julie in MN
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Location: Minnesota

Re: Review Tests and Quizzes

Unread post by Julie in MN »

I like all of Crystal's ideas.

Also, depending on what year you are doing, there may be some things that are easily "testable" in there. For instance, the ECC geography pre-test and post-test, or the Properties of Ecosystems & geography worksheets. In 1850MOD, there is also a lot that could be considered grade-able with the narration questions and outlining.

I think you will find, though, that conversation and narration are better ways to check retention than tests, which are often memorized and forgotten, and typically have to be on details rather than bigger concepts. And because none of us retains everything we learn, review always helps with that. It's easy to add review through discussing how new lessons relate to old lessons, and through looking back through the notebook.

Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002+)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs
Posts: 364
Joined: Sun May 09, 2010 10:01 pm


Unread post by MelissaB »

karlafoisy wrote:Anyone remember if MFW ECC has reviews/tests to check the kids' learning retention? In 2nd and under that there were no reviews/testing. I'd like to start keeping track of what they are learning and do tests myself, so that we can review until they understand/retain what they are learning, but I don't want to write my own if MFW ECC has tests that are written as part of the curriculum coming up. Anyone remember? Thanks,
Hi, Karla,

I don't recall there being tests. To work on reinforcing our daughters' retention, we kept their ECC Notebook pages, took photographs of the ECC projects, and kept a journal of the information. I found that when we look back over the Notebook pages and photos, so much of what they learned came back to their minds, and they could share full paragraphs of information they had retained.

Also interesting to note... public schools are using more project-based learning right now, because studies are showing the students learn and retain more. It's looking a lot more like homeschoolers have been teaching their children for decades...;)

Hope that's a little encouraging. :)
Melissa B. (Arkansas)
Girls ages 16 & 13
Completed K, 1st, and Investigate {ECC; CTG; RTR; Expl.-1850; and 1850-Mod. Times}
"That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,.." Titus 2:4
Posts: 184
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 12:33 pm

Re: testing/review

Unread post by Mom2theteam »

karlafoisy wrote:I don't necessarily want to "test" them, but I would like some way of reviewing and assuring they are retaining. If that is because they can explain it in paragraph form verbally, that is okay with me too! :) Still, I wanted to have some way of remembering (for myself) what they learned so I could ask them about it. :)
Having never done ECC...we use our notebook pages and timeline to review. One thing I do is have my kids tell dad every night what they learned...or at the end of the week, I'll have them give him a run down of what we learned about Jamestown or whatever else we studied that week...the solar system. It tests them without them having any idea they are being tested. They are excited to tell dad what they learned. (My husband knows to ask questions too.) Sometimes I do the same but with their grandparents or other family. I'll have them show their grandparent a project we did a couple weeks ago and explain or show them the latest in their notebook and explain. I'm excited to find out how much they learned. ;)

As time goes by, we review as it comes up naturally and randomly will look through their notebook or go through the timeline on the wall (which I don't think you have in ECC, but you get the idea).

The above things work very well for us and I'm always impressed with how much my kids retain. :-)
Wife to an amazing man
Mom to 6, ages 10, 7, 7, 5, 5, 3
Zack, 10 CtG
Samantha & Blake, twins, 7, CtG
Matthew & Joshua, twins, 5, MFW K
Nicholas, 3 derailing and tagging along
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