Thursday, June 11, 2015

Standardized Testing ~ Homeschool Style

Here is something you don't hear everyday. My kids love standardized testing! They think it is fun. In fact, my daughter, Little Red Riding Hood, said at the end of last week's test, "That was was one of the easiest things we did all year".  Now, I hardly think I am challenging my kids too much day in and day out, but I do think the tests are pretty easy. We used the CAT this year. Sometimes we use the Hewitt Pass test. On occasion, some of our children have tested with a professional using the Woodcock Johnson. In this state, we are not required to take our children to a professional for testing. Most years, I don't take Tom Sawyer and Little Red Riding Hood to a professional, because I don't have any questions about how they are doing or what to do next. I just want to fulfill my legal requirements for my state. I took Timothy and Goldilocks to a professional for most of their end of year tests. I needed any advice I could get on new cutting edge learning disability curriculum that would help them.

So what does testing look like in our house? I do try to keep testing light and fun. I want them to do their best and to do well. They generally score very high on standardized tests. First, I review all the sound advice I have learned over the years of to keep your place while bubbling, dealing with multiple choice questions when you don't know the answer, and checking your work. I make sure they already have eaten and gone to the bathroom. Then, I tell them to pick a comfortable spot. They can test whereever they want. That was on top of the coffee table for Little Red Riding Hood this year.

I don't set the timer. I just keep an eye on the clock for timed tests. If I think they are taking too long, I encourage them to move faster. This rarely happens. They generally race through the test, which makes me worried that they didn't read everything. I let them pick which section they want to do first. Little Red Riding Hood picked both math sections. She feels more confident in math. Tom Sawyer picked vocabulary. He likes to use big and unusual words. At the end of each section, I let them get up from their spot and "stretch". Little Red Riding Hood did back bends, splits and cartwheels. I test them separately. I primarily do this because Little Red Riding Hood is a talker. She likes to talk herself through stuff and talks out loud through the entire test. Also, they are taking different grades with different time limits. I also let them have something that is a comfort to them. Tom Sawyer has sensory issues and loves to brush his hair. He brushed his hair all through the test.

When they are done, they get to do something special of their choice. Testing was the last requirement for Little Red Riding Hood's school year. For months, she's been wishing and hoping for a second American Girl doll and finally got it!

Tom Sawyer wanted to go out to lunch at CiCi's Pizza, which is not an approved restaurant with his food allergies. It is an all you can eat pizza restaurant in our town. We dosed him up with supplements and headed off to eat.

Do I think they are prepared to take harder tests like the SAT's? Not yet! I understand that those tests will come with more pressure. They will have stricter rules and be conducted in a more sterile environment. However, they are learning that fearing a test is not necessary. They are learning to bubble in scantrons and to be prepared for the test by studying and consistently learning their school lessons. That is good enough for me at this point!

Blessings, Dawn


  1. It sounds like good experience for them. That American Girl doll looks exactly like her! I think they will be well equipped once SAT's come around.

  2. I've got one of my kids working through the CAT online this week, too. Only it's not fun for him. :/

  3. Those look like great end of test rewards. My child likes testing too, but I'm not sure we will do it anymore. Habe a great week!

  4. Sounds like you have the balance spot on! To learn to love a test/exam is a great gift for the parent to give a child. My school always said that exams were your time to shine and show off and should therefore be something to anticipate and look forward to. Exams have never held any fear for me because of that!