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The Teaching Home
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For 29 Years The Teaching Home Has Been Providing Home-School Families
Information, Inspiration, and Encouragement from a Distinctively Christian Perspective.

Co-Editors: Veteran Home-School Sisters, Sue Welch and Cindy Short

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Order Easter tracts now to use in spreading the good news of our Savior's death and resurrection.

"He was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification." (Romans 4:25)

2010 State Conventions

Learn more about a major convention in your state by linking to the sponsoring organization's website below.

States A-H
AL:  May 14-15; AK:  April 16-17;AZ:  July 23-24;AR:  May 14-15; 20-22;CA:  April 30 - May 1; July 16-18;CO:  June 17-19;CT:  June 11-12;DE:  None scheduled; FL:  May 27-29;GA:  April 30 - May 1;HI:  March 12-13

States I-M
ID:  June 3-5;IL:  June 3-5;IN:  Feb. 26-27;IA:  June 18-19; KS:  April 16-17; KS:  June 3-5; KY:  June 24-26; LA:  April 23-24; LA: National Black Home Educators: July 1-3;ME:  March 18-20;MD:  April 16-17;MA:  April 23-24;MI:  May 14-15;MN:  April 16-17;MO:  None scheduled;MS:  May 14-15;MT:  None scheduled

States N-O
NE:  April 9-10;NH:  May 28-29;NJ:  May 14-15;NM:  April 22-24;NY:  Long Island: April 30 - May 1; Upstate: June 3-5;NC:  May 27-29;ND:  March 18-20;NV:  None scheduled;OH:  June 24-26;OK:  Eastern: April 27-28; Central: April 30 - May 1;OR:  June 25-26

States P-W
PA:  May 7-8;RI:  April 10;SC:  June 18-19;SD:  May 7-8;TN:  Various Dates by Region;TX:  July 29-31; Plus Various Dates by Region;UT:  March 19-20;VA:  June 10-12;VT:  No State Organization or Event;WA:  April 22-24;WA:  August 6-7;WI:  May 20-22;WV:  May 21-22;WY:  May 7-8

AB:  April 16-17;MB:  March 26-27; NB:  May 28-29;ON:  April 23-24; QC:  April 30 - May 1;SK:  February 19-20

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Sunnyside Up

History Potpourri

Never underestimate how much your younger children are getting from the older ones' lessons, even if they do confuse some names and issues.

I was quizzing our 5th grader on American history while our 7-year-old was working at this desk.  At the question, "What was the Great Awakening?" he perked up his ears and had an answer.

"I know that one!  That's when John Adams rode through the town on his horse in the middle of the night to tell everyone the Civil War was coming!"

Submitted by Don and Gwen S., New York.

Send your humorous anecdote to

Peace with God

God loves you.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.  (John 3:16)

Man was separated from God by sin.

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)  For the wages of sin is death. (Romans 6:23)

The death of Jesus Christ in our place is God's only provision for man's sin.

He (Jesus Christ) was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. (Romans 4:25)

We must personally receive Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord.

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name. (John 1:12)

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast. (Ephesians 2:8, 9)

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Immerse your family in God's truth through systematic reading and study of God's Word.

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In This Issue

Achievement Tests, Part 2
Help Your Child Get His Best Score!

   •  7 Test-Taking Skills To Teach Your Child
   •  Checklist for the Day of the Test
   •  Interpreting Test Scores: Glossary of Terms
   •  Applying the Results

Upcoming Topics

   •  5-Day Easter Unit Study
   •  Learning through Gardening

Recommended Resources

   •  Birch Court Books: Key to ... Math
   •  Morning Star Christian Books: Praising God


In our last issue we introduced the topic of achievement tests and how to find your state law's requirements.  We also covered:

•  Standardized Tests and the Christian Worldview
•  What Achievement Tests Can and Cannot Do
•  Common Standardized Achievement Tests
•  3 Ways To Prepare Your Child for a Test,
    including practice tests and sources for them.

If you missed Newsletter 270, you can see it in our online Newsletter Archives.

In this issue we offer you practical tips for teaching your children how to do their best when taking tests, as well as how you can use test results in your children's education.

May the Lord richly bless your family for His glory.

The Pat Welch Family, Publishers
Pat, Sue, Heather, Holly, and Brian

The Teaching Home is a home-school, family-run business operated in our home since 1980.

Key to . . . Math:  7 Workbooks
Teach math basics to all ages – grades 3-12!

Great for review in preparation for standardized tests!

Key to . . .

    . . . Algebra
    . . . Decimals
    . . . Geometry
    . . . Measurement
    . . . Metric Meas.
    . . . Percents
    . . . Fractions

• Each series has 3-10 books–each a complete text/workbook.
• Use full series or topics that need more help and practice.
• One concept per page to aid understanding.
• Simple vocabulary and reading level.
• No lessons to prepare.
• Answer book shows step-by-step solutions.
• Low price.  See more information & order online.

Birch Court Books
Free Media Mail Shipping with $20 Purchase  Free catalog.  800-655-1811
N7137 County Hwy. C, Seymour WI 54165

Find Family-Safe Games at – such as 11 different games and expansions of the Catan game series.

7 Test-Taking Skills
To Teach Your Child

There are specific skills and strategies involved in taking tests that can help your child do his best.

1.  Directions

•  Always listen to and read the directions carefully; don't assume that you already know them.  Sometimes they change only slightly, but significantly, from one section to the next.

•  Ask the instructor to explain any directions that you do not understand.

•  Be sure you know how and where to mark the answers, especially if they are on a separate sheet.  Keep checking to make sure you are marking the numbered answer space that matches the numbered question and for the correct test section (e.g., spelling, math computations).

•  Mark answers carefully and neatly, filling in the blanks completely so that it will be graded correctly.

•  Erase a wrong answer thoroughly when changing your answer.

2.  Wording

•  Watch out for wording such as "Which of the following is not true?" or for answers that sound or look similar.

•  On a true or false question, watch for the words "never," "always," "only," and "best."

3.  Morale

•  Relax by taking several slow, deep breaths and changing your position from time to time.

•  Remember that you know a lot of information and that you are doing your best to show what you know.

•  Ask the Lord to help you remember what you learned and do your best.

4.  Pacing

•  Since most tests are timed, don't get bogged down on a question that you can't answer or are unsure about.

•  Answer the items you are sure of first.  This builds confidence, and you won't miss points on easy questions by running out of time.

•  Skip difficult questions and place an "x" by the number of the question in the margin on the answer sheet.

•  If you are not sure of a question, answer the best you can and mark them with a "?" in the margin.

•  When you have answered all the other questions, answer the questions with an "x" in the margin and recheck questions you marked with a "?".

5.  Choosing Answers

•  If you need to, look back at the reading selection to check facts and ideas.

•  Try each answer in the blank to help you decide which one sounds right.

•  Sometimes on questions where you are to find mistakes, none are to be found.

•  On some questions, two answers can be correct and you must choose the answer that includes them both.

•  When you are not sure, eliminate answers you know are incorrect and take your best guess among the rest.  Some of your guesses will be right.

6.  Math

•  On arithmetic test items, do a quick estimate with rounded-off numbers.  This will help you avoid "silly" mistakes and may even help you locate the only possible answer.

•  When you copy a math problem onto scratch paper, line up the numbers carefully and double check your copying.

•  Always check subtraction problems by reversing operations.

•  If you have time, check equations by substituting your solution for the unknown and check other math problems by reversing operations.

7.  Timing

•  Use all the time allotted for the test; review your test if you finish early.

•  Recheck the directions, questions, and your answers.

•  Do not change answers unless they are obviously wrong.

•  Don't panic when students start handing in their papers. There's no reward for being the first.

Checklist for the Day of the Test

  Plan ahead for a peaceful, unhurried evening and morning before the test.

  Check directions to the testing site and plan to leave and arrive early to avoid stress before the test.

  Make sure your child sleeps well, eats a healthy breakfast, and gets enough water to drink.

  Be prepared with necessary tools such as extra pencils or calculators if allowed.

  If this is your child's first test, you may want to be present in the back of the room for at least part of the time to relieve his anxiety.

  Be sure your child understands what to do if he needs to go to the bathroom during the test.  (Have him go right before the test.)

  Avoid conversations between other students and your child before a test; anxiety is contagious.

  Pray with your child that he will remember what he has learned and do his best.  Thank the Lord that He promised to always be with your child.

The spiritual lessons and experiences of trusting the Lord in everyday circumstances and working under pressure can be a much greater life-long benefit than the actual test itself.

Give your children the gift of praise!

To Him Who Sits on the Throne:
Praising God with the Scriptures

     Compiled by Mike Thomas,
Baylor University, this 240-page book is the most comprehensive collection of praise scriptures ever assembled.

   • 2,085 verses (KJV)

   • From 57 books of the Bible

   • Illustrates 87 of God's
     character qualities

Reg. - $14.95  /  Sale price - 1/3 off  (save $5)
Order now for only $9.95

Morning Star Christian Books  /  E-mail

Interpreting Test Scores

Glossary of Terms

These basic terms will help you understand your child's test results.  For definitions of additional terms see Pearson's Glossary of Measurement Terms.

Types of Tests

•  Criterion-referenced tests compare a student's performance to set criteria, such as state standards, rather than to the performance of other students.

•  Norm-referenced tests compare a student's performance to a national reference group of students at the same grade.

•  Standards-based tests assess students' knowledge and skills in relation to the state content standards.

National Percentile Rank

Percentile does not refer to the percent of questions that were answered correctly.

Percentile ranks individuals within a group on a scale of 1 to 99 with 50 being average.  A percentile rank of 60 means the student scored better than 60 percent of the other students in his comparison (norm) group, and 40 percent scored as well as, or better than, he did.


This score shows a comparison of student scores, from a low of 1 to a high of 9.  It may be thought of as groupings of percentile ranks.

Grade Equivalent

This is the most commonly misunderstood term in interpreting test scores.

The first digit represents the year of the grade level and the digit after the decimal represents the month of that grade level.

The grade equivalent is not an estimate of the grade in which your child should be placed! Rather it shows that the score your child achieved was the same as the average score made by students at that grade level who took the same test.

For example a 2nd grade student scoring 4.7 on a math subtest, scored the same as the average 4th grade, 7th month student did who took the 2nd grade test.  It does not mean that the 2nd grade student can do 4th grade math work.

Read online article by BJU Press, "What do Tests Really Tell?," for more information and examples.

Applying the Results

Bob Jones University Press presents the following suggestions.

If your child receives a low score, always compare that information with your own observations.  If the low score is consistent with your personal observation and evaluation of your child's skill, develop a plan to strengthen this skill.

Your plan could include:

 •  Checking to see if the skill was taught

 •  Re-teaching the skill from a different approach

 •  Checking curriculum content and methodology

 •  Evaluating the effectiveness of your teaching methods.

Reading Comprehension

If reading comprehension (inferences, analyses, interpretations) scores are low, but mental ability and facts scores are higher, make sure your teaching and curriculum include questions that require interpretation, thought, inference, and other higher levels of thinking as well as literal-recall questions.

See Newsletters #23, 25-26, 28-30 for ways to teach higher-level reading comprehension skills.

Math Problem Solving

If math problem-solving scores appear low, make sure your teaching and curriculum include visualization, meaning, and understanding in addition to facts and drills.  Your curriculum should provide adequate opportunities for practice in solving story problems.

See Newsletter #38 for many ideas to use in teaching math and how to solve story problems.

Math Computation

If math computation scores are low, check for your child's command of the basic facts and his understanding of mathematic procedures.  Also, check for student carelessness while working problems and note how many questions were not answered at all, indicating your child may need to increase his speed as well as his accuracy.

 •  Use "Holey Cards" for timed speed drills of addition, subtraction, division, and multiplication facts.

 •  Drill facts in related combinations of addition/subtraction or multiplication/division.  Use triangular math facts cards or use ordinary flashcards.

 •  Use the power of music to teach addition, subtraction, division, and multiplication facts with Math Facts to Classical Music from Sing 'n Learn.


If spelling scores are low, check for evidence that your child is convinced that spelling is important.  (This conviction is developed by emphasizing correct spelling in all subject areas.)

Your methodology should teach your child how to spell using spelling principles, rather than just memorizing word lists.  Employ a variety of ways to use each lesson's words over the whole week of study.

See Newsletter #32 for information and ideas in teaching spelling.

Maps and Diagrams
References and Study Skills

If these skills are low, check for whether you are taking time to read and interpret maps, graphs, and tables in texts and other sources.

Check that you are teaching library, reference, and dictionary skills.

Language Usage and Expression

If aspects of language usage and expression are low, make sure you are teaching writing skills and requiring frequent written work.  The proofing of writing assignments is excellent preparation for these tests.

See Newsletters #36-37 for tips on how to teach writing.


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