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    Exam Questions for Year Four, Term Two

    March 18, 2012 by Brandy Vencel
    Thus ends my least favorite term. Term two, that is. I always dislike the second term of the year, at least in comparison with the other terms. Why? Well, I suppose it is that we are most likely to get sick, and scratchy voices make it hard to practice our memory work or our beloved songs. It always feels a bit cluttered, but in a weird way {like preschool swimming lessons or unexpected doctor visits}. And there is never a break after the term. We go straight into the next term, and wait for Easter break. I want an Easter break, so I plan it this way, but oh I wish I had an extra week and might add in a break here as well!

    As you may know, we have our own way of doing exams {and I don’t give exams to children under about age eight or so}. I give written exams during the day, and then we have an exam night one evening, which also include a recital {all of the children like to participate, though some of them know the selections better than others!}.

    And of course we serve dinner and dessert.

    The grandparents come over, and we generally have a nice time.

    Here, then, are the written exam questions, which I spread out over four days:

    1. Why did God take the kingdom from Saul and anoint David instead? {Bible}
    2. Why was it okay for David and his men to eat the showbread in the tabernacle, even though it was against God’s law? How is Jesus’ disciples picking grain to eat on the Sabbath like David and his men eating the hallowed showbread? What else did Jesus do on the Sabbath? {Bible}
    3. Write a newspaper article telling about (a) the Boston Tea Party OR (b) the Boston Massacre. {composition, American/colonial history}
    4. You are John Adams. Write a letter to Abigail updating her on the news. {composition, American/colonial history}
    5. Tell a story in prose, or verse, about David Balfour. {composition, literature}
    6. Tell a story in prose, or verse, about (a) Baucis and Philemon, (b) Proserpine, (c) Glaucus and Scylla, (d) Pygmalion, (e) Dryope, (f) Venus and Adonnis, OR (g) Apollo and Hyacinthus. {composition, mythology}
    7. How are mountains formed? What is a volcano? Give a diagram. {natural history/general science}
    8. Describe, with drawings, the four types of clouds: (a) cirrus, (b) cumulus, (c) stratus, and (d) nimbus. {natural history/general science}
    9. Why do mountains in the distance appear to be blue? {natural history/general science}
    10. Draw a map of the coast of California, putting in cities and landmarks. {geography, CA studies}
    11. Tell about the flow of the Mississippi River from Minneapolis to the Missouri River. Use drawings if desired. {geography}
    12. Describe John Singer Sargent’s “Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose” OR “Oyster Gatherers of Cancale” {picture study}
    13. Make a sentence where “you” is understood. {grammar}
    14. Make a sentence containing a subject, verb, and prepositional phrase. {grammar}
    15. Diagram this sentence: Jack left them here for my dinner. {grammar}
    16. Translate into English: {from Latin}

      In principio est Deus. Terra non est. Non est caelum. Deus creat caelum et terram. Terra est vacua. Terra est obscura. Lux non est in terra. Vacua et obscura est in terra. Estne lux in terra? Non est. Suntne populi in terra? Non est. Suntne herbae in terra? Non sunt. Suntne bestiae in terra? Non sunt. Ubi sunt herbae et bestiae et populi? Non sunt in terra. Terra est vacua. Terra est nova et obscura et vacua. Deinde, Deus dicit: Fiat lux. Deinde, lux est in terra. Lux est bona.

    I don’t include math in the test, but we do continue with math throughout the week, doing about two pages per day.

    Evening Recital

    1. Parable: The Treasure Hidden in a Field {Matt. 13:44}
    2. Psalm: Psalm 8
    3. Poem: My Shadow by Robert Louis Stevenson {younger three children}
    4. Poem: Crossing the Bar by Alfred Lord Tennyson {E.-Age-Nine alone}
    5. Hymn: Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise
    6. Folk: Now is the Hour
    7. Children’s Catechism: up to question 33

    Evening Oral Examination

    1. Describe Satan’s temptation of Christ. {Bible}
    2. Why did Brutus help kill Julius Caesar? How could he believe that this was not a crime against Rome? {citizenship/Plutarch}
    3. What part did George Washington play in the French and Indian War? {American/colonial history}
    4. Tell the story of Pontiac’s rebellion. {American/colonial history}
    5. How did Ch’ien Lung, emperor of China, defend China from the influence of the European “barbarians?” {world history}
    6. How did Alexander Hamilton end up in the American Colonies? {American/colonial history}
    7. Explain what a bubble is using the example of the Mississippi Bubble. {economics, American/colonial history}
    8. John Wesley was a missionary to America when he was not yet saved. Describe Wesley’s true conversion. {church history}
    9. How did Pierre Caron become a nobleman, even though he was born a bourgeois? {world history}
    10. Tell about the miracles of Christ. {Bible}
    11. It was said that Brutus was much more virtuous than Cassius. Give some examples of why this was so. {citizenship/Plutarch}
    12. Why is Honda Head called The Devil’s Jaws? What happened there? {geography, CA studies}
    13. Why does a nettle sting? {natural history/general science}

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  • Reply ...they call me mommy... March 21, 2012 at 12:57 am

    Awesome! I’ve been looking at the idea of exams online and at Charlotte Mason Helps…I hope to do this with my dd soon. I love the idea of making it a party and also the idea of a daddy show ‘n tell!

    • Reply Brandy @ Afterthoughts March 21, 2012 at 7:29 pm

      It really is fun to approach it this way, and it keeps that knowledge-is-a-delight attitude in focus, which is so important.

  • Reply Mystie March 20, 2012 at 3:30 am

    Ah, alright, for the lurkers: I was going to do exams this year, Brandy-style, but as far as we’ve gotten is two nights of show-and-tell with Daddy. 😉

    • Reply Brandy @ Afterthoughts March 20, 2012 at 4:22 am

      Okay, so are you going to do a post to show us or explain to us how that works? Because I think that is great! I also wonder if it would be something that would appeal to A., who is just not nearly as brave as her brother!

    • Reply Mystie March 20, 2012 at 3:12 pm

      Haha. 🙂 It looks like this: Each child grabs his papers (mostly drawings, some writing, some labeled maps) from the term (they both do lots of drawing) and shows each one to Daddy after dinner, explaining what it is.

      And, it’s happened twice, but we’ve finished 4 terms. 🙂 But lately they’ve been showing him their work on their own more regularly throughout the term.

    • Reply Brandy @ Afterthoughts March 20, 2012 at 3:19 pm

      Here’s what I heard:

      It’s very bad that I throw almost everything away!


    • Reply Mystie March 20, 2012 at 5:18 pm

      I throw it all away after they show it off. 🙂 Actually, the boys throw it in the fireplace and we burn it. They think it’s loads of fun.

    • Reply Brandy @ Afterthoughts March 21, 2012 at 7:29 pm

      How nice that fireplaces are legal where you live.

      I am. not. kidding.

      Our air district decided a number of years ago that all new houses could not have wood burning fireplaces. If you burn wood outside (we have a firepit, for instance) on days when they have not “approved” it, they can fine you.

      I get all grumbly just thinking about it!!

      But I think busting out the firepit would be a fabulous way to deal with the papers. 🙂

  • Reply Mystie March 19, 2012 at 10:10 pm

    Whew. I feel like a slacker. 🙂

    Way to go, Brandy and E.

    • Reply Brandy @ Afterthoughts March 19, 2012 at 11:08 pm

      Don’t! Don’t feel that way!

      I know you’re joking, but in case lurkers are really thinking that…Just remember: all those things that you studied that aren’t on this exam? We don’t know any of that stuff. 🙂

  • Reply Meredith in Aus March 19, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    Hi Brandy,

    Wow! Love the ‘exam.’ Just enough for them to reflect on how much they’ve learned without being too scary.

    I’d love to hear your quick answer to the written exam question number 2. I’ve not figured that one out yet. Point me in the right direction, please. Pretty please. :o)

    I was so pleased to be able to translate the Latin even though I didn’t get to progress very far with my kids (had too many littles to look after at the same time). And now the biggers have had to stop too due to various circumstances. I hope you’re able to continue. It really is useful.

    Have a great week.

    In Him


    • Reply Brandy @ Afterthoughts March 19, 2012 at 2:18 pm

      Hi Meredith! Funny you should point that out. The *only* reason I put in that question is because there was a note in my Bible about it, and we read it aloud, and he seemed very interested, so I’m curious what his answer will be. He seemed to be pondering it later. The note, by the way, tied the two incidents together {because obviously Jesus does}. It wasn’t very extravagant, and I don’t know that I’m completely satisfied with what it said, but I wanted to see what *he* thought.

      The note basically talked about mercy/grace trumping law. I was thinking later that since Jesus says that the whole Law and Prophets are summed up in the two great commands to love God and love neighbor, then it does seem that mercy and grace would reign supreme. I still think there is a lot of room for thinking about it beyond simple Bible study notes! 🙂

      I hope I can continue with the Latin, too. I actually had a long talk with E. about it because I felt like I was holding him back. We cannot do as many lessons per week as he could alone. I just don’t have the time. But he pretty much begged me to do it with him, so for now, since he is still so young, we will do it together. I think he bonds over doing such things together, so I try not to cut too much even though he is very capable of going alone. I will say I don’t think I could do anything other than Visual Latin right now! It is so easy to do, which keeps me from putting it off! 🙂

    • Reply Meredith in Aus March 20, 2012 at 3:22 pm

      Ah, I see. Well, that’s basically the only explanation I’ve heard for it, too. I also wonder if there is ‘more’ to it. Thanks for your help, though. If you remember, I’d love to hear E’s take on it.

      I know what you mean about the holding them back in Latin. I ‘tried’ to do Latin in the Christian Trivium with my 3 oldest last year (or was it 2010???). Just couldn’t fit it in enough to make it worth it. I said to my 2nd born (he’s the one that has always been good at Latin) that I thought he should attempt it (LitCT) himself next year since he’ll be turning 15 and should be able to tackle it. He seems keen. Maybe he can download his learning into my brain.

      If you want some extra translating practise, Cambridge Latin is excellent. It is whole to part, so no declensions etc memorised, but the whole book is quite entertaining in that it is based around Caecelius and his life in Pompeii before the volcano erupted (minus the debauchery, I assume!). It has lots of little vignettes that are quite fun and I think E would find them easy to do on his own. Cambridge also has a website where you can play some ‘games’ related to each volume in the series (I haven’t visited in a while, though). You learn a good deal of vocab from Cambridge. The newer versions are full of really good pictures too. Anyway, just an idea!

      Blessings to you.


    • Reply Brandy @ Afterthoughts March 21, 2012 at 7:27 pm

      We ended up answering that question in conversation instead of on paper because he told me he didn’t know what to write. 🙂 So we talked about it, and he basically concluded that it is never wrong to feed the hungry! I thought that was an interesting take because it wasn’t actually based upon the study note we had read in my Bible. 🙂 When we talked about the other things Jesus did on the Sabbath (like healing), then he decided it wasn’t wrong to do good on the Sabbath, especially the good that is right in front of you. Also interesting!

      Thank you for the Latin ideas! I will definitely look up Cambridge.

  • Reply Josh March 19, 2012 at 11:50 am

    Wow. How fun! I was homeschooled through 11th grade, and I am very thankful for how it involved the whole family in our education.

    I’m impressed with these topics and that the kids can answer them. I’d struggle with many, and I’m much older than age eight!

    • Reply Brandy @ Afterthoughts March 19, 2012 at 2:12 pm

      Welcome to Afterthoughts!

      I think in this style of exam, the questions to do not change as much as the children get older, but the *answers* do, if that makes sense. Take the very last question: “why does a nettle sting.” A high school student who has studied this might say something about chemicals and skin cells and who knows what–because I certainly don’t know what! But I anticipate this student basically equating the “juice” of the stinging nettle with venom…and answering it in about 30 seconds! 🙂

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