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How PA Homeschoolers Online Students Scored on the 2012 AP Exams
Each year, the College Board reports how our PA Homeschoolers students score on the AP exams. The following graphs summarize our students' scores in 2012, as reported by the College Board, and how school students scored in 2011 on the same exams:
The AP exam scores mean the following:...
Fall Testing schedule now updated!! Open for any homeschool students, 3rd-12th grade
We are once again hosting a series of Fall Testing Sites all across Pennsylvania, using the TerraNova achievement test. Please see full info byclicking here, or on the link above that says 'Testing Service'. The cost is still just $30 per student with pre-registration either online or by check mailed in. Note: there is a $3.95 service/handling charge on all online orders. If you prefer to just come to a test site that day, the fee is $35 at the door.
All testing days start promptly at 9:30am (so plan to arrive by 9:10am!), and we're so grateful to the churches and synagogues that have opened their doors to allow us to offer this service, where homeschoolers can be tested in a comfortable group setting with other homeschoolers.
The testing fee covers all expenses of the testing date, and includes the service of mailing your child's test results to your home directly within usually 10 days of testing. Students should bring pencils for the testing day -- all other supplies (simple rulers, scratch paper, etc) are provided by us... and if you forget pencils, we'll have extras, too!
Do check out the past articles we've posted here about preparing for testing-- see our right-hand sidebar links.
Hope to see you at one of our Fall Testing Sites!
Susan Richman, Editor PA Homeschoolers
Lessons from the SAT Essay
Editor's Note from Susan Richman: Karen Boyd is both our long-time friend, a past PHAA Board member, and very experienced homeschool evaluator in PA. She also now leads our online SAT Essay Preparation course, and has gained so many insights from helping students learn to prepare for the required 25-minute essay. I know you'll all find the life lessons shared here really meaningful. THANKS, Karen, for helping us all gain new perspective. There is still room in Karen's SAT Essay course to help students be ready for the early October 2012 SAT test administration-- just check our Online Store link to register.
I learned a sad lesson over the last year from my mother in law. After Dad died, Mom lived alone in an apartment at a retirement community. About a year ago she started to have mysterious and sudden weight gains. After appropriate treatment that took care of the edema, the cardiologist told her to get herself weighed every week and then later every day. Mom did this faithfully and showed it to me and anyone else remotely connected to the medical field. Some time near the beginning of this year, I took her to the cardiologist because she was short of breath. While there I realized she had gained twenty pounds and was in very bad shape. The thing is that she had also been told to call the doctor when she gained five pounds. In fact as she tried to show her record of weights to various people I kept telling her that they didn’t care (especially if they were the eye doctor); the purpose was for her to report if she gained weight. She did extremely well at following directions and gathering information. But she missed the need to analyze the information and reach a conclusion.
As a homeschool mom and evaluator, I had the privilege of reading thousands and thousands of pages of student writing. Believe me a lot of it was deadly boring, including some written by my own kids. So often the kids gave a lot of information in excruciating detail. I started to ask the “So what?”question. It meant why is this important? What does it mean? Why does it matter? Why should anyone take the time to read it?
I am not trying to disparage the collection of information. We all need information. Today, information floods us from every direction. But unless we are going to become automatons and do whatever we are told, we need to gather the information and ask ourselves, 'So what?' If we hope our children will influence our culture in the future, they need to be able to consider information and reach and express a conclusion.
That is the first lesson of the SAT Essay. While there is controversy about the validity or effectiveness of the SAT Essay, or the entire test for that matter, it does require an essential skill. The SAT Essay asks students to express a point of view based on examples and evidence they have gathered in their lives. Unlike the AP exams or other subjects, there is not a specific body of information to consider. But those students who do well will know how to consider a matter and reach a well-reasoned conclusion based on some evidence they can recall. This is called athesis support essay and it requires critical thinking.
It is so easy in education to get bogged down in the facts, just the facts. But, as in my mother-in-law’s case, the facts have limited usefulness without analysis....
I know many homeschoolers have been enjoying watching the London Summer Olympics this past week-- and I'm sure many are finding ways to truly use this as a wonderful learning experience, too. If you want great ideas for further learning, see this website: http://simplehomeschool.net/the-olympics/
photo of Trevor Barron in the 2012 Olympic Trials race.
My special thanks to longterm homeschool advocate and conservative political candidate Sue Ann Means of Bethel Park PA for alerting me to the story of homeschool graduate Trevor Barron. Trevor just competed on Saturday, August 4th, in the London Olympics-- at just age 19, he was the youngest competitor ever in the mens' 20 kilometer race-walking competition. He finished a very respectable 26th place in the event, out of 56 competitors-- it was the 2nd best time in his life, and he was all smiles upon finishing. Racewalking is a much more common sport in other countries-- but I think that perhaps Trevor's pluck and courage and drive just may spark more *homeschoolers* to look into this unique sport.
Trevor's story is especially inspiring, because he has overcome some daunting challenges in his life. At age 8 he was diagnosed with an unusual form of epilepsy, and the family opted to homeschool Trevor for 2nd and 3rd grade while he adjusted to needed medications. By age 13 his medications were no longer working for him, and the family opted for brain surgery at PGH Children's Hospital. He worked very hard to recuperate quickly and fully, and is now seizure free. He also got right back to his varied athletic endeavors, including track and field at the Bethel Park High School. Earlier Trevor had been a serious competitive swimmer, but had to stop that sport when seizures began hitting during swim meets. Here's how the PGH Post-Gazette explained this in an August 3, 2012 article....