What Happened When We Did Homeschool Testing After 10 Years
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What Happened When We Did Homeschool Testing After 10 Years
Do you know the loudest nagging voice in the back of every homeschool mom’s mind? You and I both have it, we all have it. The one that says “Am I ruining my kids?” “Am I even educating them?” is the question some days.
Our old friend self-doubt. He pops up all the time causing us to question our abilities as home educators.
Well after a decade of homeschooling I am pretty sure I am not ruining my children, but there are still days when I wonder about gaps in their education. There are days when I wonder if we are covering enough and if I will cover it all in time before they graduate.
The way we homeschool today is not the way we began homeschooling. Occasionally I worry about those early years when we were still finding our groove and making curriculum changes. I fear my chosen methods to home educate may or may not be working at times.
Let me first say these fears are common and understandable.
I run a business consulting homeschool parents, and I hear it every time I get on a phone call with another homeschool family.
What can we do to subside those nagging thoughts and fears?
Many of the families that I coach have nice checkpoints in place. They may have to complete a portfolio and have it looked over to give them the reassurance that they are educating by their state or province laws. Some families are required by the state to have their children take standardized tests periodically so that they can see where their children measure academically.
My family resides in the great state of Texas, so our homeschool freedoms are many. We are not required by law to test at all. In addition to that, I have never been a big proponent of testing my children.
I am in the camp of homeschool parents that believe there is much more to measure than academics on paper. My measure of a well-rounded educated child cannot be found in a standardized test alone.
With that said, we have homeschooled from the beginning and for over ten years. My oldest has never experienced testing with a nationally recognized test like Stanford Achievement Test 10. But since my daughter is finishing middle school and working her way toward high school, I thought now might be an excellent time to see where we stand.
I recently heard about Homeschool Testing Services and had an opportunity to test my oldest child. Our family felt a sigh of relief after we tested and I can’t wait to share our overall experience with you.
Homeschool testing is the perfect way to calm the nagging voice in the back of your mind filled with self-doubt. You can find out where you might need to focus more attention moving forward or where you might need to give some much needed accolades. You can get a healthy assessment of your student conveniently.
What I Wanted to Accomplish by Homeschool Testing:
- Before my daughter enters the high school phase of her education, I want to have an idea of any gaps or areas that I can customize her education to cover. One of the best benefits of homeschooling is that I can custom tailor her education to fit her right where she is at. So testing allows me to do a thorough check up and see what we may need to focus on as we move forward. And I am entirely comfortable telling you this even as a homeschool consultant because there are no perfect home educators. There are no perfect teachers or students. But if we can identify what areas we need to work on, we are empowered to progress, meet goals, and succeed.
- As I mentioned earlier, my daughter has never officially tested so I thought by administering a test of this magnitude I can also give her a taste of what testing is like. It is inevitable that in college or during preparation for college there will be tests. It only seems right that I should prepare her for real-life situations. Someday our children may be taking the SAT or ACT, and I am all about preparing our children for the future and test taking is no different.
- I decided to use homeschool testing as a learning experience in itself. As we prepare for the testing day, we can discuss test anxiety, best practices for testing, what to expect, and even talk about the potential outcomes. What if she doesn’t test well at all? What if she does? All of it, we can talk about it all.
How Easy is Homeschool Testing?
Getting the test is extremely easy; you can quickly go to the Homeschool Testing Services website and order the test. It arrives shortly thereafter with full instructions on how to administer the test.
The Stanford Achievement Test 10 with 2018 norms is a national achievement test that you can administer at home in your pajamas. The test results will give you grade percentages over a multitude of academic sections and comparisons to nationwide test results of your child’s peers. The test is not a pass or fail test, but more of a checkup of progress.
Administering the test was fairly simple. We blocked off some time to work through it with adequate breaks. It might seem like a lot especially if you have never tested before, but keep the end goal in mind. You are trying to get a healthy assessment – and that can only strengthen your family in the long run.
It was an excellent experience for my daughter so she could fully grasp what testing feels like. Testing at home with a standardized test requires patience, focus and a sharp pencil.
We packaged up our completed test and mailed it back to Homeschool Testing Services. Your results are uploaded to a private online user account that you create when you order the test. You will get a notification email that your results are ready to be reviewed at your convenience.
Truth-Telling Time – The Test Results
Ok, this is what you want to know right? How did we do? Well, after this many years of homeschooling, in all honesty, I am fully confident in my abilities as my children’s teacher. But remember that nagging self-doubt that creeps in for all of us. Yep. He shows up right as I begin to look over the results. But I quickly remind myself we are doing this to find out exactly what we don’t know.
I decided to read the results alone without my kids or husband so that if by some chance I had messed my kids up for life I could brace myself before admitting to my husband that our kids were doomed. Haha, just a little homeschool humor.
The results give you a few different factors to look at and also compare your child to the public average. You will see the number your child got correct from each section for example – Vocabulary – 11 of 12 correct = 92% correct – “Above Average” – Then you will see for comparison the National Percentage Correct = 74%
My eyes began to fill up with tears as I read the results.
Ok, you get the point. But if you are a homeschool mom that works so hard for years and still doubts herself occasionally if she is doing this homeschool thing right. Then you know exactly how I feel. Overcome with joy.
I felt in that moment that everything I had done, even the choices I called into question from time to time, it was all paying off. Y ‘all this was a proud homeschooling momma moment for me.
(I am protecting her privacy and keeping all of her exact scores private.)
I want to encourage you to think about testing at home.
Whether it’s to find out what subjects you need to improve upon or see where your children measure up academically – knowing is comforting.
Even if my daughter had all below average results I would have a solid starting point to create a plan to cover whatever it is we needed extra help with. No matter the results I knew it was going to give us some direction, especially if we needed to up our homeschooling game moving forward. So I encourage you to administer the test for a healthy evaluation of your student(s). You will be glad that you did.
Enter the Giveaway for 1 FREE Test
Giveaway starts 4/8/2019 ends 4/30/2019 11:59 PM CT. TEN winners will get their choice of Stanford-10 test. Prizes shipped only to US addresses.
Thanks, Courtney for sharing your experience. It has helped inform my own decision of when and if I wish to test my children. I will pray about it, of course, however I’ve come to the conclusion that practicing and learning how to take tests and to deal with time constraints, rules, etc of testing and other situations that are similar will benefit my children. Thank you again!
You are welcome Jennifer. You are so right! So glad our experience resonated with you.