When I hear him chatter on and on to his grandmother about: “We did a plot study this week for science in the woods and we found all the living and non-living things and you know what? There’s a giant boulder under the ground in the woods. Thats how come no grass grows there. Plus all the rain makes it flood there and you know what? We found bird feathers there and maybe it’s from the baby birds that lived under the deck and they flew away and grew up. They’re Robins. The Robin Mom and Dad had two sets of babies this summer. Robins can do that, you know.”
That’s how we administer a test here at Creekside Learning. That’s how I know he actually learned. It’s in there, in his cute punkin’ head and he gets it.
I remember reading about the Charlotte Mason technique of using dictation for young kids (having them dictate to you about something they just learned) and later, narration (writing a summary of what they just learned), when they are a little older and writing well on their own. This was suggested as a way to evaluate what they learned, rather than traditional multiple choice testing.
What? Tests are not necessary? As a traditionally public-schooled person, I realized that I tended to think school equals testing and we must have tests for it to be real school but you know what Mommy learned this week? Sometimes testing can be just as simple as listening to your child talk to Grandma.
You know what else? I love Five in a Row, but here’s another reason why. The learning just goes on and on. We rowed Madeline a few weeks ago and both Firefly and The Queen Bee continue to spot Eiffel Towers everywhere. The Queen Bee lines up toys in two straight and symmetrical lines, then says, “Like Madeline!” She is four and she quotes long passages from the Madeline book while she is in the bath tub or riding in the car.
Driving over a long bridge on a foggy day across a bay inspired Firefly to say, “This is just like Papa Bleriot and The Glorious Flight.” He now spots gliders everywhere. He uses Wikki Sticks to bend into mustaches with curly ends and puts them on his upper lip, Papa Bleriot style. Both my big kids are now fascinated with all things airplane and ask questions about planes all the time, continuing to learn.
How cool is that?