Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The online CAT test review.

Or as I like to call it.....
Hurry up you're running out of time!!! OMG! Are you seriously still reading the same question?!?! Hurry up!

I wish I was joking.

Apparently my kids have no concept of time and how it moves....

OK enough freaking out here's the review.....

When you go to they have a tab for on-line CAT testing. It links you to a page full of words that I chose not to read.
I should have read the words.
I thought I was going to click the link buy the test (The tests cost $25 each)
and administer it......that's not how it works.
You click the link, buy the test and wait for them to get back to you with a code for each test purchased.

Once you have the code you go to and enter it which brings you to the main test page.

They list each sub-group test within the test and you just need to select one to start. We started at the top and worked our way down.

Devlin began no problem.

Ava however who has extremely restricted internet access wasn't able to take the test on her computer. We didn't discover this till we had already started and I had to quickly log her out and then log her back in on my laptop. Thank goodness you have that option otherwise we would have been sunk. It seems windows wasn't able to run the spoken portion of the test because she didn't have the software downloaded to do it...or so the computer claimed.

Both tests started with Language Arts, moved onto Math and then went back to Language Arts.

Remember that pesky original page full of words?? When I went back to read that I discovered not only that I had to wait for the magic code I also discovered that they are selling an older version of the CAT that's harder. DO NOT LET THAT SCARE YOU! I found that yes SOME of the questions were more difficult. By difficult I mean some of the questions are actually at grade level. How refreshing.
The only issue my two had was time management. They both did not have enough time to complete the portion where you had to copy the math questions down onto scratch paper and figure them out and then select the answer on the computer and hit next. I would estimate there were 25-28 questions to complete in approx. 30 min. I was extremely freaked out when they both timed out with questions left unanswered. Once you time out that section of the test is  automatically closed and graded and you have to move the kid on without doing something unpleasant to them because they have more test to take. Happily they both tested 'average' when their scores were revealed.  This is probably because other kids don't know how to MOVE IT either...OMG! Soooo slow!
Also worth noting about time is that the clock in the corner of the test does NOT count down. Whatever time you have left when you click on the next question appears in the top right corner and does NOT refresh until you move onto the next question. I will be purchasing a timer (or 2) for next year.

Overall they both did extremely well.

Devlin went up another level in Language Mechanics! He tested in the 6th stanine which is a huge improvement over the 4th he got a couple of years ago. His math concepts and problems section was his top scorer. YAY boy!!

....everything else was above average. (except for the afore mentioned math fiasco in which they got 5 and 6 respectively-or basically tested at exactly grade level.)

Ava did amazing in all of the Language Arts sections even though she scared the ever-lovin' out of me by taking her sweet time and BARELY completing the sections within the allotted time.

So would I do it again???

Actually I think I would. I liked that the test was harder. I loved getting immediate results. I disliked the time limits but I think I can overcome that by a.) giving them the test during the school year and b.) giving them some timed drill sheets for practice before the test next year.

*I need to add that a friend told me that you cannot go back and change you answer....this is only true after you have submitted the sub-test for grading. While the test is open(for example -punctuation) and you are answering questions you can skip a question and go back to it.

Once the entire test has been submitted you click on the report tab and viola you have your grades.

I don't think it will come as a surprise that I am glad to have that behind us. Now I have to hurry up and sort my books so I can get my schedule started for next year....more on that later.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Can it be this easy?

So we went back to Thalia Lynn Baptist Church yesterday. This time we all tried out the Sunday School before the 11am contemporary service. Each grade is divided into separate classes for school aged children. Devlin attend Planet 56 which is specifically for 5th and 6th graders. I was pleased to see that there are mostly boys in his class. I'm sure he can make a friend or two among them. In his class they talked about Stephen and they acted out a little play. He said he had a good time and declared the teacher to be 'cool'. I feel pretty good about that since he's of an age where almost nothing is cool anymore. Here is what his worksheet looks like......

 Ava of course was over the moon. She's been bugging me for a year to find a church with Sunday School. She loved it as I knew she would.  Her worksheet was similar to Devlin's. She also made this nifty item..... help her remember her Bible verse. Super cute!

Ray and I went to the adult Sunday School. There are several classes to choose from in our age bracket. We just walked into the first door because we had to start somewhere. There we mostly couples in our class. They played a video about the Holy Spirit and how It is or isn't working within the church today compared to when first revealed to the apostles. Then there was a discussion time with questions asked by a leader to help guide and keep things on track. Lots of insightful stuff was covered and we will definitely be going back to that class.

After class a few people stopped us to chat and meet our kids and share their thoughts about the church and the children's program which they all RAVED about. It was nice to go into the main sanctuary and recognize people from Sunday School, it made it feel more comfortable.

The Senior Pastor was away in California attending his daughter's wedding so there was a guest preacher. I liked him OK...he was a bit too old school for me. On the plus side he's Scottish so we all enjoyed his accent. He talked about how God and His works are truly the only AWESOME things in this world and how we over use the word to describe things that pale in comparison.

All in all we had a nice time. I was surprised at how comfortable I felt after only attending 2x's. Like could this be our new church? Can is really be this simple and fast? Maybe.....

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Hey you. Judgy-judgerton....

We all do it. And by "ALL" of couse I mean I do it's rant is on JUDGEMENT.

A friend who shall remain nameless posted this to her facebook feed today...... 

To which I replied ....

 Read them 2x's and got lots of fun ideas...Ray was very glad. ;) Clearly I have different views on what pornography is. This was a fictional story with made up characters. As a married woman I didn't find anything shocking about the books at all. I' doubt I'll see Magic Mike mostly because I think it's wrong to objectify REAL people (men and women) even if they claim to a.) not mind. Or b.) not understand that they are being abused.
I was just going to leave it at that. In fact I was pissed at myself for rising to the bait at all.
 I was proud of myself for not asking "Hey are you feeling pretty good about your sinful self now that you refrained from reading a book? I'm sure you are going to heaven while the rest of us sinful readers are going to the smut library in hell."
Then I got to thinking........
I'm thinking about what sanctimoniousness bitches we are.
I'm thinking about how what one person is convicted of isn't necessarily what another would ever be convicted about.
I'm thinking about how ballsy it was for that woman to post that on her blog...she must be feeling as good about getting that off her chest as I'm going to feel when I'm done writing this.

Why are we so terrible to each other? Why do we feel more holy, godly, happy when we point out how we can't or won't do something so no one else could possibly do it too with out them being the worst?
Conversely why do we focus on this meaningless CRAP when we have very serious things going on in our lives that are demanding our attention? Attention that is being diverted by focusing on ridiculous crap like what books we read or movies we see.

Ya see here's the thing I realized after reading that blog post..... it's just a sinful to make people feel bad about themselves as it is for them to read crappy books (not that I think that reading crappy books is sinful. I acknowledge that it is seen that way by some.) It's just as sinful to ignore the really important stuff in your life by posting stuff that other people are going to focus on rather that doing what God really wants them to do. We are diverting their attention away from God's path. That's a sin and a shame.

I'm trying not to do stuff like that anymore so when I do please call me out on it s I can pay attention to the stuff God really wants me to.


Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Hunt Is On

So far we have tried 3 different churches in our hunt for a new place to worship.
I think here is a good place to add an aside
* It's important to go to church.*
I mean of course you should go to church but taking a few months off has really shown me that it's needed in my life and walk with God and Jesus.

Church #1 St.Aidan's Episcopal Church

We attended St. Aidan's last summer. I chose the Episcopal church because they are very close to Catholic. There are A LOT of displaced Catholics there. Almost no difference between the actual services at all. They are a very lovely group of people. Father Mark was very open about discussing what they believe and why. All who are baptized are welcome at the Communion table. They run a very nice Montessori based Sunday school for kids. Their adult Sunday school is FANTASTIC. Lots of deep thoughtful discussions going on there. There are also plenty of opportunities to serve the community via out reach programs. There a a few reasons why we didn't settle there. I don't think I was ready. They are too much like the Catholic church so it kinda paled in comparison. They were also and possibly still are up in arms about allowing gay men and women serve as priests. I think at the end of the day I didn't want to go from one scandal to another.

So after St. Aidan's I took a looong break. Sometimes we went to St.Gregory's but I was left feeling empty and eventually we stopped going altogether. Oddly enough my kids didn't ask one time to go back. They did want to go back to St. Aidan's but I really think I just needed time to detox. We continued to do bible reading and a children's church here at the house on Sunday's so they wouldn't be totally without.

Church #2 Thalia United Methodist Church

This was my first time in a Methodist church and I was surprised that they opened much in the same way the Catholic church does with the cross preceding events and the pastor following. This church serves Communion on the 1st and 3rd Sunday's so we got to witness how they roll and again it was similar to the Catholic church. The sermon was nice...a little light for my tastes but Devlin enjoyed it. Ava went to the children's church during the service. While we enjoyed our experience at Thalia Methodist we won't be making it our home base. It was a little small for us. Ava was the only child her age in her children's church class. You can't receive Communion until you are in the 6th grade and since Ava has already put her time in that was a deal breaker for us.

Church #3 Thalia Lynn Baptist Church
They have a fancy website with flash running so I couldn't steal a picture.
This church has a bit of a family history with us. Ray went there as a child when he came to visit his grandmother Jane for summers. He encouraged me to try them out when I began talking to him about leaving the Catholic church. He has good memories of attending there. So this morning we rolled out for the 11am contemporary worship service. Ray came with us. This is a pretty big deal for me because he's not a big supporter of organized religion. It's actually the first time we've gone to church together that it wasn't for a Sacrament. There was a very diverse crowd. Old and young from all walks of life. The music was good. (Right up your alley Stef-Jesus Jams abound) The sermon was great. Informative and thought provoking. The people were welcoming but not annoying. In short we are going to try again next week. And when I say we I mean Ray is going back too. Devlin was looking for something a bit more traditional but is keeping an open mind. We'll let them give Sunday school a whirl and see how that goes. All in all we are pleasantly surprised. None more so than me especially because Catholics and Baptists are on totatlly different ends of the spectrum on lots of significant BAPTISIM. lol. But you know me...nothing makes me happier than a heated discussion ;)
I'll keep you posted......

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