Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Testing - Unschool-Style

Since we ended up with a rainy afternoon yesterday, I kept the girls in from recess, and gave them a test. Okay, we don't actually have recess - we just play, and it was more of a rainy day, craft project, than a quiz. But, since a large part of succeeding on any test, is being able to read, understand, and follow directions, it served the same purpose.


I gave each of the girls a lump of salt dough (2 parts flour, 1 part salt, and enough water to make it dough like, but not too sticky), and Brigitte Casagranda's Salt Dough Fun. It's a great book, with detailed, step by step instructions, accompanied by clear photographs, for several, simple, salt dough creations.

I told the girls, their job was to pick a project, and follow the instructions, as exactly as possible, to make it. Then, I went off to work with the younger girls. They picked a project too, but I read the instructions, and broke them into smaller pieces for them to follow.


It was an interesting exercise. G, my 11 year old, followed the written instructions pretty well. She questioned the logic, behind some of them, but agreed to give them a try. A, who is 9, followed half of the written instructions, and then guessed, incorrectly, what to do for the rest, from the pictures. I pointed out, where she had deviated from the directions, and started her over. The second time through, she followed all of the written instructions.

There was enough clay for the older girls to make two projects each. They chose to make two of the same project, rather than having to read through new instructions. I thought that was kind of funny. I think, if I had not told them it was a test, they would have been braver about picking a new project.


So, this morning, as a reward for "passing" the "test", the girls painted the baked, and cooled projects...


...with complete artistic freedom.




It's great to be a homeschooler.

10 comments:

Sherral said...

Great idea!

Raising a Happy Child said...

I was wondering what to expect from the title of this post - didn't expect the salt dough test. It's interesting how your girls reacted to it.

Butterfly said...

They're really cute!

We might give it a go. How long do your salt dough creations keep for? Or are they 'camera art'?

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

Butterfly - Once the dough is baked, it keeps for a long time. After the paint is dry, they can be glazed, or varnished, and they'll last for years. Eventually, moisture will get to them, and they'll fall apart, though. My husband made some Christmas ornaments out of this stuff, when he was a child, and they lasted over 20 years.

Ticia said...

My Christmas ornaments like that from 20 years ago were gotten more from being delicate after 20 years than mold like I expected.

Janette@Janette's Sage said...

This are so cute...nice idea. Enjoyed stopping by your blog...I have now completed home schooling for 21 years and still schooling two...so new ideas are always enjoyed.
Janette

Wonder Mom said...

Oh, SO much better than a "standardized" test!

Valerie @ Frugal Family Fun Blog said...

Oh, I love that purple penguin!! He is positively charming!

Thank you so much for voting for me today - I truly appreciate it! xoxo :-)

Debbie said...

I love this test! It really touched on all the senses and reading while following directions.

Love their reward too!

Elise said...

That's my kind of test. What a perfect way to "test" reading, comprehension and so much more. The creations are gorgeous.

My little boy would love the cookie dogs - so cute. We may have to bake up a batch of these soon.