Thursday, February 26, 2015

Third Grade in Our Home :: Exams, Term 2

I'm finally getting around to sharing our Term 2 exams for AO's Year 3, which we finished up over six weeks ago now!  (By the way, the thing that always bogs me down in popping these right up is transcribing the audio-recorded narrations.  I only do a few, and I do like to have them for my own purposes, but it's hard to find free minutes to listen and type.  So if anyone has a reliable speech-to-text suggestion for Android, please do share!)

As always, below are all the questions and then a sampling of answers.  There are more questions than you might usually expect because I have two children in Year 3; they didn't both answer all of these questions.  If you're looking for questions to use for your own exams, check out the wonderful exam page over at AO!

Yes, this is really how they sat to narrate together! LOL
The Questions

Let's talk about your birthday!  Translate the following sentences:
I like when I celebrate my birthday!  I play games.  I eat cake.  I choose a special dinner.
List three actions you do at the park.
Recite "Stella Stellina" or sing "Con I Rami d'Agrifoglio."

Recite one of the poems you memorized by Sara Teasdale.
Besides the ones you memorized, what was your favorite poem that we read this term and what was it about?

Play a Christmas song you have learned.

Physical Education:
Do ten burpees.
See how many pushups you can do without stopping.

Write two long multiplication problems and two long division problems for your sibling to solve.  Then switch papers and solve the problems!
See how fast you can do your 7s Wrap-Up.
Find the area of the living room carpet.  Be sure to account for the fireplace and air vents.

Free Reading:
What was your favorite book read during free time this term?  What did you like best about it?
Draw a scene from one of the stories in Crossbows and Crucifixes or The Little White Horse.  Describe briefly which scene you have illustrated, either in writing or orally.

Sing "Holy Holy Holy" or "O Come, All Ye Faithful."
Sing "Panis Angelicus" or "Adeste Fideles."
Sing "Barbara Allen" or "Home Sweet Home."
Recite the parable of the Good Samaritan  or Luke 2:1-7.
Recite Blessed Henry Newman's Prayer for a Holy Death.

Write the following sentence in your best printing:"Two people meet, both bound on the same business, both going to the same rendezvous, and for three days do not venture to trust each other."
Now copy that sentence in your best cursive.
Now identify what book that line is from, and describe its context.

Work together to:
Draw a map of the New Forest, complete with distances if you can manage it.  Include as many landmarks as you can.
Draw a character chart outlining the story, just as we do for our Shakespeare tales.
Tell of Christian's experience with the Giant Despair.
Tell me the story of Measure for Measure or The Taming of the Shrew.  You can look at our character chart as you explain the story.
Recite Petruchio's lines regarding Katherine from Act 2, Scene 1 of The Taming of the Shrew, and describe their context.
Which story did you find most unbelievable: Johnny Appleseed or Davy Crockett?  What aspects of his character make him larger-than-life?
Describe one of the difficulties the Argonauts encountered on their journey OR What was Jason's folly, and how was he punished for it?

Describe the Globe theater.
Name two  famous people during the Age of Elizabeth and give an account of them.
Pretend you are one of the pilgrims that came to America on the Mayflower, and you are writing a letter to family back home in England.  Describe your voyage, the reasons for your trip, and what you have encountered so far in your new home.
Whom would you rather live under: Cromwell or Charles II?  Why?  Explain your choice.

Tell me the story of the tribute of the temple OR the story of Mary and Martha.
What did Our Lord say about little children?  Use biblical language if possible.
Label the bodies of water in this map of the Holy Land.
Tell me about the duties of the guardian angels.
Share with me your favorite line so far from The Story of the Mass and read it aloud in your clearest voice.
What are some ways we can overcome our "pet passion," according to Mother Mary Loyola?
What is one quality that made St. Thomas More heroic?  Describe a scene from his life that illustrates this quality.

Tell me what you know about India, including the caste system and its dominant religion.  Describe one way in which Hindu custom is very different from our own.
Describe the geography of India.  How are its plains different than those in the United States?  What animals live there?
Fill in this map of Europe, paying careful attention to spelling for all the countries.
Identify these states by shape.

Nature Study:
Tell me what you know about hermit crab homes OR Tookhees the wood mouse.
Sketch and label the life cycle of the mosquito.  How does it compare to the life cycle of the butterfly?
Sketch one more favorite discovery from our nature study outings this term.

Complete this warm-up activity as carefully as you can.

Music Study:
Tell me a favorite scene from Opal Wheeler's Chopin.
Hum the theme from one of the Chopin selections we enjoyed this term.
According to Thomas Tapper, why is it important to have control over our hands?

Picture Study:
Choose one of Fra Angelico's paintings and describe it as well as you can or sketch it from memory.

Show one of your completed projects to Daddy.

The Answers

For any written work, I spelled words for the children when asked.

I thought it might be interesting this time around to share a few side-by-side answers to the same questions.  Both kids both did a very good job on all of these, so I'm not trying to compare whose narrations were more successful at all.  But I think it's really neat to see how two children almost the same age (they're only three months apart) reading the same books at the same time can respond to those readings with different details and styles.  These narrations were done out of hearing of each other or me, into the audio recorder, and then I transcribed them afterward.

One of the adventures of the Argonauts from Kingsley's Heroes

by Vincent
Once the Argonauts sailed by a place where the Sirens lived.  These, um, girls were half-bird and half-woman.  They sang and they lured sailors to come, and then they were put to death by their sweet song.  The Sirens began to play, but Orpheus, when they reached that, began to play on his harp.  But it would not work and the men soon fell asleep.  Then Hera said to him play very loud and crashing; that will wake the Argonauts up.  The Argonauts were woken up, but one of the men jumped out of the boat and ran to the Sirens and swam over to them.  The Argonauts were sad but they knew it couldn't be helped.  He came on the shore and begged to listen to the Sirens.  He was put to sleep by their magical voice and the Sirens ran out and began to eat him.  But just as they were about to, a goddess came up and took him in her arms, and the Sirens were so angry they dashed themselves to pieces.
[Just had to add--he pronounced Sirens as Cyrenes--like Simon of Cyrene.  Ha! And he pronounced Orpheus as "Orcheus," which actually makes sense given Orpheus' special talent--I think he was making the "orchestra" connection!]

by Gianna
One of the Argonauts' adventures, and probably the most brilliant one, is how they really got the Golden Fleece, which was with the help of the King's daughter.  She helped them in many ways.  The first one was she helped them to overcome the things they must do in order to get to the Golden Fleece at all.  First he had to take some fiery bulls and have them plow and tame them (of course you had to tame them first, because what else could you do with fire-breathing bulls that you have to have plow?).  The seeds that he had to plow were the teeth of the dragon, which made soldiers spring up, and he had to couquer every one of them.  He did this by taming them with witchmaiden's charms and then he plowed the land with them, and that was easy.  Once he plowed the seeds, they started to come up, as you would expect plants to do.  He threw his helmet into the middle so each solider struck the other, and they both struck each other dead.  The last two mortally wounded each other in the last moments of their lives and lay there, glaring at Jason.  Jason was glad.  The king said he would have to overcome now a fire-breathing dragon which was under a tree.  This he did in the middle of the night with the witchmaiden's help.  He took some poison or something and killed the dragon...or maybe the witchmaiden stared into his eyes, and Jason got the golden fleece then.  But I think they just killed the dragon because he hasn't been heard of again.  Well, that's the end of that adventure!
[See?  High on style and about average on substance, if you know what I mean. :)]

An account of two figures during the Age of Elizabeth

by Vincent
Sir Walter Raleigh was a fine gentleman and once he saw Queen Elizabeth walking on a road, and he saw a big puddle, and he didn't want her to step in it, so he threw his best cloak on the ground and let her step on it as a carpet. Queen Elizabeth was greatly pleased by this and she let him become a knight.  He wanted to plan an expedition for Virginia, a great part of which John Cabot had already claimed but no one had tried to settle on it. He was one of Queen Elizabeth's favorites, and Queen Elizabeth did not want him to go in case he might die, and he had to stay.  He had one of his brothers go with the expedition, and he also built a ship, which he gave for the expedition.  It came out that each expedition failed when finally, with the fifth one, he managed to settle a colony, but this was in the time when James was king.  Sir Walter Raleigh was put in prison, for people said that he was trying to form a plot against James, and he was executed like many other great men.
Shakespeare was also in the time of Queen Elizabeth.  His father was the mayor of a town.  When he was six years old, he went to school, and when he was a young man, he married a girl older than himself.  Her name was Anne.  A few years after, he left Anne and his few children at home and went to London.  There he began writing plays.  First he began to change some plays, and the people liked them so much that they begged him to write more, and he agreed to write more.

by Gianna
The Earl of Essex was one of Queen Elizabeth's many male friends.  However, it ended up that he was thrown into prison and in the reign of the next king, James, had his head cut off.  But for the time being, they were friends.  He had to go over and help rule Scotland and that is when their enmity started.  One time he put on a play where a king was a bad king and was to be overthrown, and he and all his followers clapped at the right parts. They tried to make Queen Elizabeth act the part of the bad king and he act the part of the new and much better king.  Queen Elizabeth found it out and that's how he was cast into prison.
Mary Queen of Scots also ended up having her head cut off.  She was actually Queen Elizabeth's cousin, and they quarreled, and Queen Elizabeth got so mad that she shut up her own cousin.  Later when she was beheaded, she looked old but she was still young.

The tale of Christian and the Giant Despair

by Vincent
Christian and his companion, Faithful, were walking along the road when Christian saw a better road.  They went on that road but there was a great flood and they had to take a break in shelter.  When they awoke they found that they had been caught by a giant called Despair.  In the morning he put them in the dungeon and gave them no food or water.  The next day he said to them that it would be better if they just killed themselves instead of having to suffer so much.  After a long talk about this, they decided that they should not kill themselves because there still might be hope that they could escape.  Because once when he was beating them with a club, he had had a fit and he stopped moving.  The next day he showed them some bones and said that soon their bones would be among those.  One day Christian said to Faithful, "I forgot that I have the key in my bosom," so they pushed open the prison door and ran out through the gates.  The Giant Despair was just about to run after them when he suddenly pushed open the gates and had another fit, and Christian and Faithful escaped, and they put up a sign to make sure that no other pilgrims went there.

by Gianna
They had just gone away from the lovely meadow and river, and the walking became hard because there were stones on the way and it hurt their feet.  There was a stile which led into another beautiful meadow and they were tempted to go in, though they knew it was not in the way.  Finally they were so tempted to go in it that they did go in it. Christian said to his fellow, "Let us go in it!" until his fellow finally gave in.  No sooner had they gone in than they fell fast asleep for they were tired.  Then a giant called Giant Despair came in.  These were his grounds, and if people were found on his grounds, that meant death.  (At least he thought so!)  They were led away, and for many, many days, he tried to convince them to give in. Christian and Hopeful would not.  They said that they would never ever give in.  He, seeing this, counselled his wife.  His wife told him to "show them all the bones that are in the garden.  They will find, most likely, that it is best to give in to you.  Or else, my dear husband, they will know that it means death."  So they were shown the bones in the yard and they thought nothing of it--at least they didn't think much.  Christian did--he kept telling Hopeful to give in.  Finally on probably the sixth night, they prayed, for they were going to be killed and beaten tomorrow if they hadn't escaped by then.  Christian cried out aloud, "Look!  I have a key in my pocket!  And it can open any lock! It's called the Key of Promise."  And so they went out.  The giant, hearing them, gave chase, but he got into a fit and couldn't move his arms and legs.  To think that Christian had a key there the whole time when he was with the Giant Despair!

Some Thoughts

:: Speaking of narrations, as you can see, Vincent is my one with the nearly photographic memory, but his vocabulary is a bit more stilted, and Gianna remembers less but tells it back with more style. ;) And what you can't tell from these transcripts is that Vincent's narrations are much slower and more measured but also more careful and methodical.  Gianna's are more fluent, but she gets ahead of herself sometimes.  I'm curious to see how this all will play out when we begin regular written narrations next year.
:: They loved the collaborative questions, so I'm going to be doing more of those!
:: They thought it was funny to be comparing Cromwell and Charles II, both of whom they thought were pretty terrible.  I'd like to have asked them to compare two good rulers, but they are so few and far between during this era.  Vincent, grasping at straws, actually mentioned that he'd rather live under Charles II because at least the fire swept the plague out of London when he was king!  That had me laughing out loud--you know it's bad when a citywide fire is the highlight of your reign. ;)
:: We didn't get through as much Italian as I was hoping to this term, but at least they remembered what we did work on.  To be honest, I don't think much will change in that area until summer, when I have a little more time to pull new resources together.


  1. Bravo! So nice. I loved the questions you chose and the answers. You gave me some ideas!

    1. Thanks, Silvia! That means a lot coming from you! :)

  2. So fun to have two the same age, so you can compare their answers. Loved to read their answers. Well done!

    1. Thank you, Helena! I think having two the same age as my "oldests" has really taught me a lot. My two 8yos are so different from each other in strengths and personality and quite often get such different things from the readings that I can't help but be aware that children are persons and that CM is a method not a system! LOL

  3. Very inspiring! You make exams look almost like fun. I have to try this sometime.

    1. They really are fun for us. We have a teatime to celebrate (which I do NOT do on a regular basis) and they get to show their work to Daddy, who really enjoys being in on some of the action for a change. Give it a try! :)

  4. I'm jealous of your homeschool and your cooperative children. Do you have any advice? I had to cut back to just math and reading and one other thing a day because they don't want to follow my lessons. It takes too much energy for me to corral them. They want to bulid buildings with the manipulatives and make up words with the letters, race instead of do push ups, not do the art projects I set up for them, sing different songs, hear different stories. They refuse to narrate. They hate memory work even though they are good at it. It goes on and on. I corect them, they are not walking all over me, they just have their own ideas about what we should do and it is a struggle and an argument for everything. I get them to do my lessons most of the time but not without so much mental energy on my part I am too exhausted to do anything but basics. I can get them to a state of cooperation for a few days but then it's back to square one the next day. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

    1. I don't know the ages of your children nor do I know any special circumstances that might be in play, so I hesitate to advise you. I encourage you to check out the AO Forums, since there are so many experienced, wise moms there ready and willing to help with all sorts of situations!

      But I will say that it sounds like the issue you're being challenged by is more a discipline issue than a school issue. I really try to keep the two separate in my mind, because I don't want to be questioning my curriculum choices and methods when it's really parenting questions that need to be answered--and a change in curriculum is not going to change that. Please believe me when I say that we have our share of discipline issues here too! And by discipline, I really do mean discipline, not punishment: the ability for the children to make an act of the will to do things they may not want to do. Ideally, school is a delight--and I think that is always our goal as homeschool mothers! "Joyous lessons," right? :) But sometimes children are coming to the lessons from a place of negativity--they are determined to dislike whatever feast we set in front of them, no matter how tasty, for other sorts of reasons. I think of CM's words: "The mother who takes pains to endow her children with good habits secures for herself smooth and easy days." And so whenever we have discipline issues, I dial back and focus on habits, habits, habits. Obedience, attentiveness, perseverance--one at a time, slow and steady. I'm not sure how helpful that is, but that is how I handle these attitudes when they crop up.

      Please do hop over to the forums and look for wisdom there too. Praying for you as you brainstorm solutions to these challenges!

    2. Oh, Celesre, thank you. I'm sorry I dumped on your blog. :) I hadnt realized how frustrated I was by the whole situation until I commented. I just can't figure out how to motivate these little people with a firm and gentle hand, I'm ar both end of the extremes. Even my husband is a million times better at eliciting cooperation than me. this was a very encouraging response and absolutely right. Thank you. I will try to get on the forums and ask for advice. I so hate Internet forums and I so hate advice, but it is time to bite the bullet.

  5. Wow. You are doing an amazing job! Trying not to idolize you right now ;)
    I've looked at AO but keep coming back to Mater Amabilis but this has me thinking a lot more about AO!

    1. Honestly, I love MA and think it is a fantastic resource! AO's booklist just appeals to me a bit more, and I end up enjoying choosing my own religion materials anyway, so AO works great for us. And thank you so much for your kind comment, but I promise I am just a regular mom with sometimes-naughty-but-thankfully-eager little learners to work alongside. ;)

  6. I enjoyed reading through your exam week! A time to celebrate a wonderful term!!!!

  7. I love that my oldest is a year behind your two oldest. We are going to do exam week this coming week and I popped in here because I usually use many of your exam questions (thank you!). I don't know that she will be as thorough as yours were. Term 2 got spread out with lots of break in it, but we will see. Do you have a specific recording app you use? I tried a few free ones and was quite frustrated with the results so I may just video tape her this time for the oral narrations. Did you start written narrations in year 3 or was that just for exams?

    1. I used the native Voice Recorder app on my smartphone, and it works great. Videos are super fun too. :)

      No, we didn't do written narration in Y3. They wanted to do a little bit of writing for exams, so we tried that and it was a nice change of pace.

      And just to reassure you since it sounds like it has been a busy term for you all: Have fun with it and encourage your kids to have fun with it too! I try to go in without too many expectations. There is always learning and connections going on in their minds that we can't see. :)

  8. I'm so glad I found this now when I'm starting to plan my exams. I have two in year 3 ad as well and I think they're going to love the collaborative ones :)

    1. It really is fun having two working together on some of these! I hope you have a great exam week! :)