1st grade LA & LA Ext. correlation?
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  1. #1
    ourhomeyzcool is offline Junior Member Newbie
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    Default 1st grade LA & LA Ext. correlation?

    Hello,

    To introduce myself, I'll explain that I have two kids, who always have been homeschooled. Right now, when we discovered Time4Learning, we are finishing 6th, and 3th grade respectively. And we live in a state that requires annual standardized testing, so I need to keep them on grade level, at least for Reading, Language and Math. I'd appreciate any advise about how to make the best use of Time4Learning in our situation.

    As for the 6th grader, he's working on grade level. Right now we're just trying to figure out how to get used to Time4Learning ways so we can begin using it fulltime for 7th grade. He's using Language Arts Extensions daily because I want him to get a good review of Grammar for his standardized test next month. And for the other subjects, we're still just exploring them. Any suggestions?

    But really my main concern is my daughter in 3rd grade. She's 8 1/2, and still reading with a struggle at a 1st grade level. She's learning, but very slowly. I don't want to rush her, but soon she'll have to begin the state mandated annual standardized tests, for which I know she's not ready. So my plan for now is this: begin studying the 3rd grade Lang. Arts (with me reading to her) to cover Grammar, Vocabulary, and general Test preparation, and combine that with 1st grade Lang. Arts for Phonics and to keep working in learning to read. Is this a good idea?

    I also saw that the 1st grade Lang. Arts Extensions are very good, and I'd like to incorporate those too. The only problem is that I can's see any logical sequence in these to reinforce the Phonics taught in the Lang. Arts section. What I mean is that the 1st grade Lang. Arts chapters cover Phonics in an organized sequence, but when you look the Lang. Arts Extensions chapters, is hard to tell which one will correlate with the Phonics you want to reinforce. Is there a way? Would it be too much trying to cover 3rd grade LA with 1st grade LA & LA Ext., plus the handwriting/Spelling program I'm planning to add? Another reason why I like the LA Ext. is because I see it covers topics on Science and Social Studies. Would it be a good idea to use the LA Ext. to substitute Science and Social Studies?

    One more detail. Our first language is Spanish (well, at least mine is, because my kids prefer English). And we're trying to raise the kids bilingual. So I'll also appreciate if any of you can let me know about educational resources for Spanish-speakers, not just to learn Spanish, which is what I commonly find.

    Thank you very, very much for your time and for any help or advise.

  2. #2
    Carla is offline Member Regular
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    My recommendation is to take your daughter's emotional needs into consideration. (I have a daughter who is two years behind in her reading comprehension) I suggest working at your daughter's level and pace. The standarized tests will show that your daughter is not working at "grade level"--which you already know. The state ed. department knows that not all kids are at grade level. (How many P.S. students are on grade level?) As long as your child is showing growth each year your state will probably leave you alone. Let us know what state you are in and someone from your state might be able to tell you the states requirements for "passing" the test.
    I have found if I get worried and try forcing more information/knowledge/lessons on my daughter she becomes uptight and goes into melt down.

  3. #3
    hearthstone_academy's Avatar
    hearthstone_academy is offline Administrator
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    Hello! Welcome to the forum!

    You might be interested in this. I say "might be", because, with my first-year Spanish ability, I'm not entirely sure what it says.

    The science and social studies topics in the language arts extensions are intended to be a point of reference for the language arts concepts presented. They are not in-depth science/social studies lessons. Because you are preparing your daughter to take a standardized test, I would not rely on those lessons to take the place of further study in those two subjects.

    Take a look at this Typical Course of Study. (It's just a guideline, because all schools will be different.) Many third grade science and social studies concepts can be taught by checking out library books on the topic, which you then read aloud to your child. This is interesting and enjoyable and many children more easily retain information presented in this casual way.

    The extensions aren't meant to correlate with the core language arts program. Parents use them in several ways, depending on their student's needs. Some families do one language arts activity and one extension activity daily. Others finish all of the core language arts before moving on to the extension activities. Some people just pick and choose the extension activities that their student needs. Others don't use the extensions at all.

    It is frustrating to be subject to standardized tests that you know don't fit your child's learning curve. Normally, I would advise making sure your student has mastered the first and second grade language arts material before attempting the third. Since you have the tests to consider, it might make sense to at least try the method you mentioned in your post. If she isn't comfortable reading, some of the third grade lessons will not be meaningful to her. Even if you do some of them now, you might want to repeat them later, when her reading ability improves.

    As her parent, you're in the best position to recognize clues that will tell you if she's in over her head. Never be afraid to change if you find something isn't working. Consider your child's needs more than the testing requirements.

    Realize that I am not a professional educator . . . just a homeschooling mom with a lot of experience. Hopefully other members will chime in with additional advice and insight.

    Mom of six . . . current students and homeschool graduates. Enjoying using Time4Learning since 2006!

  4. #4
    ourhomeyzcool is offline Junior Member Newbie
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    Thanks a lot for your prompt responses, and really practical advise.

    We live in New York, where homeschoolers are required to take a standardized test at least every other year from 3rd grade on (the individual School District has the last word about how often, and which test, we'll be required to do). For my 6th grader we've been using the Hewitt PASS test for the past few years because it's untimed, I can administer it myself, and only tests Reading, Language and Math. Also, initially the student takes a Placement Test to administer to him only the most appropriate test in each of these subjects, no matter his grade level, which is fair.

    My problem now that my 3rd grader needs to begin her testing is that Hewitt requires that the student be able to read the instructions for the tests and do them all by herself, which obviously my daughter can't do. They say the only way I could read the instructions for her is if I send them an official diagnosis from a professional attesting her "special need". And I am not at all convinced that there's any educational benefits in that "testing for labels". (Not to mention the monetary cost).

    As Carla mentioned, as long as the kid is showing growth each year, it should be OK with the School District. Since my daughter is making progress, only very slowly, I assume that once we establish her present level with her first standardized test, everything will be fine for the next years.

    Would there be a "professional" that attests that my daughter has "special needs", without a process that makes her feel "dumb"? Or would there be another kind of standardized test out there? Thanks again for any help.

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