Helpful Homeschool Habits for Standardized Testing

~ I’m keeping up the habit of sharing a helpful homeschool habit on Fridays!

After we took a homeschool spring break, we went right back to it with required standardized testing. It was a productive yet interesting week of juggling things with our multiple ages. I am sharing our week and my tips in today’s weekly homeschool wrap up, Collage Friday style!

Helpful #Homeschool Habits for Standardized Testing www.hodgepodge.me

Doing testing right after a break has several benefits, I think. You can still fit in regular sorts of learning. There’s reason for getting outside in the afternoon. There are many positives! So, in no particular order, I will share a few tips from our week of standardized testing.

  • Testing right after a break finds us a bit more relaxed. There are always obstacles for getting back into a routine. So, why not change up the routine and get the testing under our belts?
  • Be sure to check your state requirements! While I don’t feel it necessary for us to test every year, here in Georgia we are required to test every third year: 3rd, 6th, 9th and 12th grades. The results we are to keep on file.
  • Not only is it good to stay in line with requirements, the results often are a confirmation of what I already know as my children’s teacher. Yes, we know about math or needing more practice in spelling. So, here in the flurry of end of the year activities and celebrations, I make note to spend more time on a subject. And/or place emphasis on a certain curriculum for next homeschool year. But usually it is mostly a huge hooray for all that they truly have learned, the knowledge base they have.

Tapestry of Grace afternoons www.hodgepodge.me

  • Other subjects can continue in the afternoon. We had a MUCH lighter schedule this week with testing. But there’s really no reason why Tapestry of Grace reading can’t continue in the afternoons. Keeping books within sight is a habit I turn to often. Not only to make a suggestion to the children but to remind myself as well!

Spring time living in the south www.hodgepodge.meAfternoons after testing are also good for the park! Or for noticing signs of spring and breathing in the air (with less pollen) after the rain.

  • Order/arrange for testing that works best for your family. We have always used Family Learning Organization and the CAT for our testing. We have long been pleased with this service. You order the appropriate test, ask for a certain week for the test to be shipped and then you ship it back to them for grading and scoring. (We have also tested outside the home with our homeschool group and 10th grader took the PSAT last fall at the local private school.)

Hodgepodge of learning www.hodgepodge.me

Other homeschool happenings around here: 1. Piano practice (in the afternoons after testing!) | 2. Snack time | 3. Practicing driver (her instagram caption): “I’m going places in this world… mostly parking lots, at least for now.” | 4. Math practice with cards – Littlest Girl teaching younger brother to play war!

  • Snacks can happen at the kitchen counter. Since the table was taken up, the younger set snacked at the counter, so as not to leave any chance of getting food/drink on borrowed tests!
  • Sharpened pencils make for easy testing. Yep, our pencil sharpener broke and we scurried around until we found another.

6th and 9th grade standardized testing www.hodgepodge.me

  • Older children do best at the kitchen table. (At least ours do.) There is more room to spread out. Plus I can oversee the goings on easily. Once the older children start a section of testing, I am able to help younger ones with their school work. Above are sixth grader and ninth grader doing their separate tests. I used the stove timer for one student and the microwave timer for the other.

Language Arts second grade www.hodgepodge.me

Learning can happen all over the house. Second grader is doing her A Reason for Handwriting practice in her bedroom.

Homeschool learning all over the house www.hodgepodge.me

  • For the other three not testing, moving to a different spot was not a problem.
  • Testing brings up all sorts of discussions! Our one complaint this year was by our ninth grade son. He was not pleased with the references to evolution he found in the very first section – vocabulary. He encountered another reference later in the test. And we talked about how he would likely face it much more often if he were in public school. And how his Bible studies in apologetics helped to prepare him to know the truth and how to answer with the truth. He was not happy about having to choose something he knew was incorrect – simply because it was the correct answer to the question.
  • The easy button! I don’t have a photo, but having the easy button close by to press after finishing a section of testing sure was a fun thing.

In summary: I do appreciate testing to a certain extent. While I feel I know my children best (much better than a test shows) –  their abilities, level of understanding and what all they have accomplished – testing does have a place. Ultimately though, what matters most is each child’s relationship with the Lord. Testing is such a tiny part in their overall homeschool education and experience.

We are glad testing our testing requirements are behind us for now. Until this time next year – when we will have a third grader!

Back to #homeschool after spring break www.hodgepodge.me

Spring is in full bloom! The pine pollen has a few of us down. But we sure are enjoying the colors. Especially the redbud tree in the front yard. Always a treat from our school room window!

Free or Frugal Homeschool Art for All Ages www.freehomeschooldeals.com

More Hodgepodge:

  • The Ultimate Homeschool Pinning Party will still start tonight! Be sure to drop by any time after midnight and find you some great resources – and be sure to share your Pinterest profile, your favorite pins – so we can all find you!

Laundry Room Spring Cleaning www.hodgepodge.me

Many thanks to our hostesses!

Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years

Homeschool books at moms meeting www.hodgepodge.me

Coming up this weekend – mom time! These are several boxes of books from a friend who graduated her homeschooler last year. I’m fixing to have some fellow homeschool moms over this weekend for a homeschooling high school meeting (several veteran moms are coming to share tips!) THEN we are having a Jane Austen movie night – watching Pride and Prejudice. Can’t wait!!

How about you? Are you doing standardized testing this year? Do you get together with fellow homeschool moms for encouragement?

About Hodgepodgemom

Tricia faces a daily dose of chaos homeschooling five children. The biggest lesson she’s learned? At the end of the day – when the dishes are put away and the children are tucked in bed – truly what matters is each child’s relationship with the Lord. Raising children is a God-given privilege and, folks, the time is short.

Comments

  1. Thanks for your kind words this week. We will be testing soon. Your mom night sounds delightful.
    Blessings,
    Dawn

  2. My kids have the same difficulty when they encounter evolution. What a wonderful week! We don’t do standardized testing, but I can see how you incorporated it into your routines so easily.
    Phyllis at All Things Beautiful recently posted..History and Geography Meme #112: High School GeographyMy Profile

  3. Great tips! I used FLO and the CAT many times in the past. And I only tested “on the threes,” too. This year, the girls’ hybrid school required the ITBS. They can take it there after the last day of school, but we are going to be out of town, so I arranged to administer the ITBS (through Seton Testing Service) at home. We actually took it over spring break, which I liked. There was no other work to accomplish, the girls were more relaxed, AND I could spread the testing out over the entire week, versus their only having two days to take it if they’d taken it at their school. I think we’ll do it this way every year, despite the fact that it’s on my nickel. After six years of homeschooling, the thought of sitting in a classroom for hours over a two-day period taking a standardized test does NOT appeal to my daughters (or me, either!).
    Ellen, the Bluestocking Belle recently posted..Pulling Together the Screened PorchMy Profile

    • I love when you just ‘find a groove’ with doing things, like testing, the way it works best for your family!

      And I can’t believe I forgot to share one of our favorites from the week – ear plugs!! Perfect in a loud, busy household :)

  4. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on testing. this is our first year and I’ve been debating as to whether or not we should. I’d like to have an idea where we may need to shift our focus. I will check that company out
    Kayra recently posted..A week of planning and learningMy Profile

  5. Ahh, we do testing every year here in Ohio. It’s an easier/faster alternative than a portfolio review for each child. We get ours from FLO too and usually do the CAT.

    I wish I could come to your mom time and chat about homeschooling high school! Makayla is nearly there and I’m beginning to plan and wrap my head around it all. I’ve been reading your blog and others in the Finishing Strong linkup for a few weeks now. Thank you for taking time to blog your homeschool journey with multiple ages! It is a wonderful encouragement to me as we keep going on this journey. Especially as we have hit the ‘add a new student every year’ stage. 5 officially schooling next fall with 3 little ones in the wings. Yikes!
    Tristan recently posted..Week in Review ZooMy Profile

    • Tristan – I learned a lot from our meeting and am aiming to share a post in round up fashion in the next weeks. You are SO smart to start researching and learning about homeschooling high school now. And I appreciate your sweet comment – this homeschooling multiple ages is not for the faint of heart yet a continual blessing. I am always amazed at how the Lord put our family together – with the different learning styles. Plus the people He places in my life in His timing – to encourage and point me to resources that fit us best. YOU have/will have a busy household indeed!! :)

  6. I love reading your posts! It’s refreshing to read your down home, straightforward approach to homeschooling. I am a veteran (former) public school teacher and newly homeschooling mama as of February to our 4th grader. I’m also in GA and was curious about the state’s requirements for test administration. Is it my understanding from your post that any homeschooling parent/teacher is able to administer the CAT? Do you know where I might find a list of qualified tests according to state law? I’d appreciate your help.

  7. This was our first year doing standardized testing right after Easter; usually we do it much later. You make some excellent points about why the timing can be good for many families.

    http://ontheroadschool.blogspot.com/2014/04/jamestown-round-2-our-second-time.html
    Mel M recently posted..Jamestown, round 2! Our second time through American HistoryMy Profile

  8. Wonderful tips on standardized testing. This year was our first time testing, and I was surprised at how easy it was and how it confirmed so much that I already knew about my student :-)

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