*warning I'm fixin to wax eloquent! ::snort::
Testing is a big issue in homeschool circles this time of year. Should you or shouldn't you? Are tests an accurate measure of what a child knows? Have tests ever showed you something you didn't already know? I'm about to wade in with my opinions.
I took tests WELL. I really don't think I learned a whole lot in school. I could test well; then I did a brain dump. I don't personally feel that tests accurately measure what a child has learned in a year. For tests to do so, I would have to teach to the test. We have too much fun learning to put those sorts of artificial boundaries on our educational experience. Therefore, I do not think tests are really an accurate measure of what a child knows. Our first three children did not take tests. The first test our oldest took was the PSAT - where she scored really high. She is a test taker. I've realized since then, that though I don't believe in tests, I do need to make sure my children know HOW to take tests. I still don't organize our schedule around standardized tests or the SAT prep - but I have taken to teaching how to take a test. ::snort::
Furthermore, I've never been totally surprised by test results in 17 years of homeschooling. I've known we were strong, where they said we were strong. I've known we were weak, where they said we were weak. Tests can however confirm what we sense...and I suppose that could be a good reason to take tests. We've been testing this week. Math U See - my observations hold true. Did you know there are home tests to see if you are in menopause? I'm not. There are also home tests to see if you are pregnant. I am.
Want more details? Keep reading. Yes, we're "old". Yes, Mike's only been home three weeks. I call this one our deployment bonus. ::snort:: Yes, this test, as the Math U See tests we've taken this week, only confirmed my suspicions. Last Tuesday I nearly fainted - and that only happens when I'm pregnant.
I tested last Friday. Mike didn't come home until after the Good Friday service so I had a bit of time to find out and figure out how I wanted to tell him. When I found out I was pregnant with Stacia, Mike was in Korea. I had a month to figure out how to tell him. Christmas was coming so I put off saying anything until Christmas a.m. I gave Mike a quiver that I'd written part of Ps 127 on. In the quiver were 9 arrows...8 with names and birth dates...one with the estimated arrival date of Stacia. He was totally shocked - as were the kids. First he looked puzzled, and thanked me. Ever polite. Then I told him to look closely and he read the arrows and the moment he realized is on film....as well as the moments the children figured it out.
I ran and bought a new arrow. I wrapped a big bow around the top. I took a picture of the test results (I'd bought a bulk package of tests and the test result goes away - I tested twice to be sure) and taped it onto the bow too.
After the Good Friday service, I gave Mike a Blue Mountain Card. Mike is a read every word type of card receiver. This did get me in trouble when I was careful to read each word on His valentine's card this year, but didn't notice that the front had the legs of two women dangling off a bridge. ::Snort:: ANYWAY - at the end of the card I wrote, "Is there room in the quiver for one more arrow?"
I had time to retrieve the arrow while he read. He was properly "surprised". OK - we're both blushing to the tips of our gray roots! He has, after all, only been home 3 weeks. We do not usually tell others when I'm pregnant until the second tri-mester. I've had 5 miscarriages. I told Mike that I couldn't find the quiver and that I was going to put the arrow in the quiver and leave it at that. He laid the arrow on the bed and went to get the quiver.
Jared and Arielle came in. They saw the arrow. Jared immediately got it. Arielle read "preg...nant?" with a question in her voice.....then got red and smiled real big. Jamin was then brought in by Jared and shown the new arrow. He smiled his shy smile that always brightens my day. He asked how long we had known. I told him "Dad's known 5 minutes and I've known about 4 hours." This prompted him to say "From a HAIR appointment??" Mike teased him. "Yes, Mom goes to a full service salon...touch up, cut, wax, styled and a pregnancy test".
Nolan was ushered in and Jamin showed him the quiver. He explained that there is a verse that says children are arrows and each arrow in the quiver represents one of the children. The arrows have names and birthdays on them. Nolan counted them - 10. We don't have 10 kids. Then someone pointed out that there was no name on the arrow. When do we have a baby without a name? It took a lot of leading - but he got it. Then he said, "Oh, you mean you aren't playing a joke on us?" I guess he thought it was an April Fool's Day joke. Zander informed us that he doesn't want "any more boys in his room - only girl babies". The next day he had changed his mind. He now says the baby can sleep in his bed with him and be a BOY.
Mike cracked us all up. One of the boys said, "So you'll be HOW OLD when this one graduates?". Mike so sweetly looked at me and replied, "I've already committed to being an engaged father well into my 60's. ::snort:: Wait up there sonny, I can't get my walker over this trail!"
Josiah was at work. Can you tell none of this went as I'd planned? God is good; He won't let me cower for one moment. The children voted to put the quiver on the mantel and wait for Josiah to notice. He didn't notice Friday night. We were watching movies when he got home. He didn't notice before he left for work Saturday. He noticed immediately when he got home. He smiled and gave his low chuckle. This means that the tradition continues: I've been pregnant at every graduation. During every family circle someone asks for prayer for Mom and the Baby and I'm glad we told them early. I've prayed often since the last miscarriage 3 years ago, the week after Bre's graduation. I've pleaded with God not to make me walk that path again. We do covet your prayers.
Mike called his parents. I called mine. I called the girls on Easter and they "happened" to both be at Krista's host home. They were surprised. It's tough to think of so many memories being made when such a big part of our family isn't HERE...but life does move on. Bre kept saying, "Mom - I'm 22!" and I kept replying, "Bre, I'VE DONE THE MATH!" Krista told me I could have waited six years and I'd have grand kids. I told them both that it will be o.k. When they have kids they can take their aunt to the park. ::snort::
And me? Well, my response is one of great joy tinged with fear. I'm choosing joy and running to the Throne of Grace for strength and peace. The timing is a bit shocking. Really though....discovered on Easter and Born at Christmas...pretty cool. I realized that we could not have CHOSEN a better time to have a baby. This one will either be born when the girls are home for Christmas break or just before they arrive and they'll have two weeks with "her". Seems fair to have a girl and even the numbers, don't you think?
This will seem like a LONG pregnancy now that everyone knows before the second tri-mester...I'm really believing for a pregnancy without diabetes or high blood pressure. I've changed my diet, lost weight, I work out 5 times a week....I'm doing all I can and am leaving the rest with God.