I've never been one to home school for glory or recognition. I haven't been one to opt into yearly testing to see just how our children stack up. Our primary goal has always been to provide as healthy and holy of an environment we can with the end goal always being preparing our children to serve God in the best way they can according to His will. If they excel academically, that is also a laudable achievement, but more of a bonus in our eyes.
Still, I can't help but wait nervously as our children reach their high school years and begin standardized testing. I know we work hard. I know they are smart. I know they are learning, but how will they compare to their peers?
Karate Kid has always been smart as a whip and a dedicated self-motivated, self-starter. She worked very hard at her studies. She was a natural speller, writer, and mathematician. When she scored well enough on the PSAT for a Letter of Commendation, I wasn't surprised. When she scored a 4 on the English Language and Composition AP exam, even though she never took the actual AP course, I wasn't shocked in the least. As colleges not only accepted our home schooled student, but offered large academic scholarships to her I wasn't amazed. I chocked it all up to the fact that she had been given particular talents by her Creator and her own hard work paid off.
Oleander needed to test into her courses for the Pennsylvania Cyber School the Aspirancy will be using for academics. I was nervous. I had no idea how she would measure up. We knew she was also smart, and a hard worker, but would that also pay off?
Last week the Aspirancy received the testing results and I must say I was floored. Oleander maxed two sections of the DORA (diagnostic online reading assessment), scored at 12th grade level for three sections, and scored above 10th grade level in the remaining sections. The assessment specialist told the Sisters he had never had a student score off the charts the way Oleander had. Oleander also demonstrated mastery in all sections of the DOMA (diagnostic online math assessment for pre-algebra), with the exceptions of geometry and coordinate graphing.
Our children have been blessed with intelligence, to be sure, but it is a wonderful confirmation for me that home schooling not only provides the best environment for our children, but can provide the best education for our children. And to be perfectly honest, I don't feel too bad giving myself a pat on the back for the part we've played in our children's successes. Sometimes it takes a bit of self-congratulation and affirmation to keep the home school wheels turning around here.