~ 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!
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.
- 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!
Afternoons 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.)
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.
- 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.
Learning can happen all over the house. Second grader is doing her A Reason for Handwriting practice in her bedroom.
- 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!
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!
- Nana shared a Caterpillar tutorial and I shared about how easy and frugal art can be with all ages. Don’t miss it – our post is part of the Homeschooling for Free and Frugal series at Free Homeschool Deals. Be sure to pin it!
- Littlest Girl made her video debut teaching How to Draw a Caterpillar. She taught Nana!
- 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!
- I shared before and after photos of how Lauren Hill’s Spring Cleaning the Laundry Room ebook saved our laundry room! What a huge help her book was! I highly recommend it.
Many thanks to our hostesses!
- Collage Friday hostess Mary at Home Grown Learners
- Weekly Wrap-Up hostess Kris at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers
- Finishing Strong at Education Possible
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?