Thursday, March 13, 2014

Randomly Recent

Hello again! The boys are both well as are DH and I. I don't normally talk about Adrian's heath issues but to those in the know, I am glad to report he has lately been doing very well with his homemade diet and is showing fewer signs of allergies and gut sensitivities (fist pump!).

I think I'm just going to update the blog monthly or at most twice a month from now on. Even when I find time, I am just so overcome by mental fog that writing is the last thing I feel inclined to do. I am tempted to blame the February blahs but truth be told, I'm just not able to fix my mind on one task at a time. Plus, the daylight saving time adjustment is not helping at all. I dislike anything interfering with my sleep!

We've been up to some fun with the homeschooling. February and early March were exciting times and filing the PSA for the first time (on Jan 29!) and dropping the charter (Feb 18!) were definitely factors contributing to the excitement.

Thanks to the PSA, I feel less inhibited about dabbling with interest areas. There is little worry now about producing written samples just for the sake of it! Two interests that I am hoping we will go deeper into over the next few months are Jazz history and Broadway musicals, both inspired by the wonderful Bill Messenger. I hope to list other resources once I have them confirmed.

Kiddo worked on a number theory class with Art of Problem Solving from December to March. Despite being challenged beyond his comfort zone, he has expressed interest to take more classes with AoPS and will start another in the next month or so.

This month, he also took the SAT. It was timely (given he has already covered the content in math) and a more meaningful standardized testing experience for him vs. something like the STAR test or new Smarter Balance test.

He prepped for the test using The Official Study Guide (the "blue book"), taking about six practice tests over a period of five weeks (one test per week, then two the week before the exam). The last practice test was taken in "exam" conditions in our local library. The actual test was taken at a local high school. I am glad that we decided to prep for it instead of taking it cold (my initial plan). There were several executive function issues that I was grateful to be made aware of; issues I wouldn't have known about without prepping him.

While I was helping him to prep, I was struck by how different standardized testing is in the US compared to Malaysia. At the age that most students here take the SAT, national exams in 1980s and 1990s Malaysia were spread out over at least three or four days, sometimes more, and we were tested on eight to 10 subjects. Each subject test stretched from about an hour and a half to two hours (I hope I am remembering that correctly). Like SAT Subject Tests, we had MCQs, but were also required to produce well-reasoned written responses in some sections. It was also compulsory for science students to have lab practical exams for all three sciences (Biology, Chemistry and Physics). I can't imagine kiddo being ready to take those exams at 11 years old like he was with the SAT! (BTW, I forgot to mention that while we were researching SAT, we came across the first version of the current test from the 1920s! So interesting. When kiddo takes the SAT again, it will probably be the new version.)

Till next time, happy Spring everyone!


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Thanks JL! I'll write to you about the allergies! About math really saved the day here as did finding a mentor once he became serious about it. Also, leaving lots of time for self-directed math study, at least in the younger years.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Glad you are all well. Will be interested to hear about your SAT experiences!


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