Thanks be to the Blessed Trinity and all the angels and saints, we are done with achievement testing for this year.
Today was an interesting day, not really because of the tests (Mathematics Computation and Mathematics Concepts & Application), but because of what happened during them.
The classical music was playing sweetly, the dogs were sleeping, the girls had had a nutritious lunch and I was just as cheerful and upbeat as Joan Crawford with a closet full of metal hangers. No, scratch that. I only got to that stage a little later.
I read the instructions for Test 5 Mathematics Computation and the girls did the sample problem, which they declared to be ridiculously easy. And it was:
Sample Question #1
4 + 4 = ___
D) not given
I am so happy to report that they both got the correct answer on this. If they hadn't, I'd be fellowshipping with my friend Jack Daniels right now and completely snubbing our buddy Diet Coke. Right out of the bottle, baby.
Anyway, they got started on the eighteen minute timed test and all was going well until Aisling quavered, "Mommmmmmmmmyyyyyyy..."
"What?" I asked, looking up from my book.
"I...c-can't....re...mem...ber...how to....re...d-duce....fuh....fractions..." she said, tears rolling down her cheeks.
There are some mothers out there who are nicer than I am. Those mothers would have said, "Oh, now, honey! You just put on that little thinking cap! You just thinky-think-think! You can do it! Yay, you!"
That's not me. The first place I went was, "WHAT THE $#@& DO YOU MEAN, YOU CAN'T REMEMBER HOW TO REDUCE FRACTIONS? HAVE WE NOT SPENT THE GREATER PORTION OF THE SECOND SEMESTER OF THIS SCHOOL YEAR TEACHING YOU THAT VERY THING?"
Don't worry. I didn't say this. Oh, I went there in my head. But I managed to come back from that place in my mind where I was swatting Aisling on the head with a ruler and instead took a deep breath and said, "Please don't say that to me."
"But I c-can't!!!" she wailed, weeping energetically.
"Hoooo-boy," Meelyn muttered quietly, looking up briefly at the two of us.
"Aisling, think," I commanded her. "Think!"
She sat there, thinking, until an unwelcome beep-beep-beep signaled us that time was up.
"How many problems did you leave blank?" I asked.
She looked down at her test booklet and said, "Uhhhmmm...ten."
That's when I lost it. "Ten? TEN??!! Aisling, there are only twenty problems on that whole TEST. How could you not know the answers to TEN PROBLEMS?" This was, in case you didn't know, my biggest achievement testing nightmare. Because, as a homeschooling mother? The kids aren't the only ones being tested here, you know.
"Oh, I could do the problems," she responded, holding up her sheet of scratch paper. "I just didn't mark the answers on the answer sheet."
I dropped my head into my hands. "Aisling, in the name of all that is holy, WHY NOT?"
She thoughtfully considered the fingernails of her left hand. "Well, I couldn't remember how to reduce the fraction three-fifths, so I just didn't mark it, and I went ahead and did the rest of the problems after that one, but I didn't have time to mark the answer sheet."
I wanted to just lie on the floor and writhe like a foundering horse. Through my fingers, I said, "First of all, three-fifths cannot be reduced. Second of all, how long is it before Daddy gets home? Third of all....oh, forget the third thing. Just forget it."
God forgive me if I did wrong, but we went back and filled in the bubbles on the answer sheet from the problems she had worked on the scratch page. Things like this are why some people leave little candy dishes filled with Vicodin sitting around the house.
Finally, we moved on to Test 6 Mathematics Concepts & Application. We did the samples, I reminded Aisling that she had to fill in the bubbles, not just work the problems out on the scratch paper, and set the timer for another eighteen minutes.
About two minutes into the test, I heard a squeaky little sound and looked accusingly at Hershey, who was stretched out full-length beneath the dining room table. The girls giggled.
We all went back to what we were doing: Me, reading. Meelyn and Aisling, testing. Hershey, snoring and farting.
Three minutes later, I heard another sound, only this one wasn't little and squeaky. It sounded more like cannon fire. Fort Sumter would have been jealous.
The girls screamed with mirth, but in the middle of a huge guffaw, Aisling looked at me and said, "Mommy, I have to poop. I have to poop right now!"
"Okay. Close your test books and stop the timer," I instructed. "Aisling, go to the bathroom and hurry up."
Aisling kept Meelyn and I apprised of the situation by yelling through the closed bathroom door, "I'm almost done! Al-l-l-l-lmost!...Yep. Yep. There! All done!"
"I don't really like having a running commentary on someone else's...bowel movements," Meelyn said, primly pinching her nose. "Eww. Gross."
Aisling came out of the bathroom. "Shall I flush?"
"Yes. Unless you want death to smite you," I said. "Now, come on. Let's get this finished."
She did and we did and the achievement tests are even now all packaged up and ready to return to Seton Testing Services. They said it will be about two weeks until we get the results back.
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