Deciding whether or not to subject your children to home school testing? You are not alone!
Whether you are a new or veteran home school parent, the home school testing question seems to come around every year.
Finding the answer, may be as simple as looking at your state's home schooling laws.
In some states, testing is required. You can easily visit your government's website to find out if testing is one of the homeschooling requirements for you.
If it is not required, why would you want to test your home school students?
Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles/freedigitalphotos.net
Although one reason for administering standardized tests is to fulfill state testing requirements, there are other reasons - four of them, why parents choose to test in their children.
Administering tests may help you see how well your child comprehends, remembers or has mastered subject material. You will discover if your child is ready for the next level, or needs more time to focus on an area before moving on. However, don't rely solely on tests to gauge your child's ability. Some children do horribly at written tests, but do well with oral tests.
Test-taking can affect your child's self-image negatively. Children can easily feel like their performance on tests correlates to their self-worth. Use tests as a tool. Home school testing should be a positive, enjoyable experience for you and your child.
Don't get hung up on tests and scores. Your child's character is more important than good grades, a high IQ, or perfect test scores.
Home school testing may reveal areas of difficulty for your child. Tests aren't always a good indication, though. If you feel like your child has learning disability or comprehension problem, consulting with a professional or doing some research may provide better answers.
Your child may just not do well with written tests, or they are too young. Try oral quizzes... or assessments done via the computer - either through a software program or online, maybe a perfect solution.
Look at other activities in their education as a measuring gauge. Projects, oral review, ability to listen and follow directions, and their interaction with you and others can indicate that your child is learning and progressing in their educational and character development.
Your child may get all the answers correct on a test, but still not know how to apply their knowledge to everyday situations.
Perhaps a test shows that your child has no knowledge in a discipline. Use the test results to guide you in your home school planning and fill in any gaps.
Remember that you can be more relaxed in your schooling if you decide to home school for a longer period. You don't have to wait to cover certain subjects in a specific grade.
You may study the solar system a year earlier than required or a year later... usually it doesn't matter.
Having a concrete way to verify your child is progressing encourages both child and parent. Children like to know that they are doing well. Most like to share what they know and see improvements.
Remember to remain positive when looking at test results. Use them to motivate your child, never to compare them to others or discourage them. You want your children to love learning and know they are special and unique, no matter how well they do in school.
As parents, we want affirmation that our home education efforts are effective and we are doing the right thing. Home school testing can certainly serve as a confidence booster, but there are many ways to gauge how you are doing at home schooling.
Using tests to build your confidence is one way, but don't discount your child's character, attitude, and other abilities that tests can't measure.
Do you have some test taking tips? Or a great story to share? Has your student ever struggled with tests and then found success?
Please share your story and tips to help others!
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