Standardized Testing…

Standardized testing can be a very controversial topic within the homeschooling community. Some look at the homeschool standardized testing as a way to see where our children are at… others view the tests as intrusive and simply a means to impinge on our privacy.

As a previous teacher, I do take the standpoint of using these tests as a means of determining where my children are. I enjoy seeing if they are at or above their “typical” grade level… which most of the time they are above grade level… to me it is a way to do a little “victory dance.” I can see that my goals and objectives are being met, and my children are exceeding the states’ expectations.

If you are interested in getting your child tested there are plenty of options. You can contact your local school to see if they allow homeschoolers to test with their students, you can contact a local private school (these tend to be more accomodating to homeschoolers and charge a reasonable fee), or you can locate a private testing agency. Whichever route you choose, please realize that this is simply a single test, and not an all inclusive indicator of your child’s learning. Simply use it as a single tool. One that can help the parents see what they need to be doing, and one that can help the student see how they can improve.

Finding Your Homeschool Record Keeping Niche

Homeschool record keeping is one of those necessary evils. It really isn’t fun, but you MUST do it. However, there are many ways to go about keeping records for your homeschooling endeavors. You can be extremely detailed or a bit relaxed. Whatever your family’s personality – there is a record keeping method out there to match it, you just need to find it!

Here are a few handy examples of record keeping that just may inspire you.

1) Be official and use a teacher planner. These books often have a little grade book built in, and you can keep you lesson plans and grades all in one handy place.

2) Use a calendar to keep track of your lessons and your grades. Use the daily spaces to record what happened on what day.

3) Use Microsoft Word to find a gradebook template that works for you. I do this, and am able to print my children report cards to use for “perks” at certain restaurants and kid fun places.

4) Homeschool record keeping and lesson planning software make this super easy!

5)Use a plastic rubber maid container to store examples of all your children’s work.

6) Assemble a homeschool portfolio to keep records. Some of the best homeschool records I’ve seen have been this type. The portfolio is simply a collection of the student’s work over a period of time. You can choose some, and then let you child choose some to put into their portfolios. Parents can keep a grade sheet and other pertinent info within the book as well. Typically a three ring binder is used.

7) or you can use an online curriculum that keeps records for you! Parent work is kept at a minimum and when the time comes, all you need to do is print out your portfolio.

Whichever method best suits your family is the way to go! If you don’t keep records at all, I hope that this article has motivated you to keep track of all your hard work homeschooling. If you are going to do the work, you’ve got to have proof!

Homeschool Report Card – 5 things to know about SATs

Everything needs checks and balances… accountability is a good thing…

I know in my own life I tend to do a better job, and put more effort into something if I know that I must be accountable for it.  Though state testing requirements vary, many homeschooling students across the country are requried to participate in standardized testing. States require this testing to ensure that students are learning and progress is being made.

1) Standardized tests are for the measurement of a child’s achievement. These tests do not measure students ability or aptitude, that is measured on a separate test (such as the Otis Lennon). Aptitude tests measure the school ability index or what used to be called IQ.

2) Most standardized tests assess only language arts and math. But, prior to having your child tested ask the administrator of the test what subtests are included and then make preparations for SAT study courses, or by purchasing prep books.

3) These tests are called stadardized because the test was taken by a sample set of students who took the test at the same time of year. The test makers take this sample group’s average score and allow it to represent the 50th percentile.

4) Using the same test from year to year for your child’s assessment will ensure a more acurate comparison of norms.

5) The student’s typically do just fine with taking the test, it’s the parents we often worry about!  So, take it easy, mom and dad.  Remember, that this is just one test and is not the “big picture” of your child’s learning. An accurate picture of how your child is achieving will include what they are learning in school, what they are learning at home, and how they do on SATs.

Other related posts:

Homeschooling in the South

Part 3 – Testing Series

Part 1 – How do you like your percentile?