Keeping Tests (and other things) in Perspective

For several years now, I’ve worked with a local homeschool group to facilitate the Iowa Basic Skills Test, and it’s that time of year again.   So, for the past week, I’ve been seeing bubbles (as in penciled circles denoting right answers).   Though we don’t test as a normal part of school, our kids take this test every other year.   Personally, I don’t want a PSAT or SAT exam to be the first time that the kids sit down to a standardized test, and I use the tests for my own sake rather than using them to draw conclusions about the kids.   I can remember a couple of years ago when I realized, after viewing their test results, that our particular math curriculum didn’t stress measuring, and so we had a good time in the summer with the Keys book on measuring.   (I never realized that stop signs were so tall!)

 

My conclusion, based upon the parents I encounter each year, is that these tests become the parents’ tests, perhaps to a larger extent than the children’s.   At least that’s the attitude I pick up through smiles and pleasantries mixed in with fear and uncertainty.   These were my thoughts as I prayed, and my co-facilitator, obviously on the same page, uncharacteristically began to minister to the moms before we began testing.   With tears in her eyes, she spoke of how the most important thing was that our children love the Lord and allow Christ to shine through them.   My words before that—and it had never clicked in my mind this way before—were that tests, curriculum, and other items are tools to help us equip our kids for God’s kingdom.   Later, the co-facilitator fretted about crying in front of the kids, which, in her mind, only made them more nervous and scared.   I assured her that her words were very much in season and that what the children saw was her heart for them.   I think this is a word for all of us as we enter next year, and especially for those who might be getting started for the first time this year.   I’ll continue to reflect on this as a test for what to buy, if anything—is it helping me minister Jesus?

 

Monday and today were the only days of “real” school that we had, given the testing schedule.  As I realized that next Friday would have theoretically been our last day, I’m trying to figure out where 2-3 weeks went(?!?)   We will cease several subjects, and we’ve always continued math and reading through the summer, but history?  Science?   We’ll have to carry over a bit past where I wanted in order to be at a comfortable place for me.   We have a “normal” week next week, and following that is a holiday week, compounded with all the activities associated with the annual dance recital.   Following that, we’ll start our summer, which is increasingly looking like a lighter version of spring.  I think at this point I probably need to be on the listening end of some of those time management sermons I preach to my daughter.

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7 comments on “Keeping Tests (and other things) in Perspective

  1. 4sweetums says:

    Your message about tests is so true. We went through testing today. Today was our last day of "school" for a 6 week summer break. I worked my poor teen to the bone finishing up this and that the last two weeks. We will continue with some light stuff. In my opinion, learning never really ends when you homeschool but it will be more child led for awhile.
    Blessings,
    Dawn

  2. JamieLee says:

    We've recently done some testing, too. We're not required to do it yet, but I wanted a chance to "practice" so my daughter knows it's not that big of a deal, just something to see if there's any parts we need to learn a little more about next year. So far she has a great attitude about it, and I want to preserve that.

    Thanks for the great reminder that *I* need to not get caught up in the pressure either.

    Jamie at RoseCottage
    http://jamiescottage.blogspot.com

  3. Anonymous says:

    Hi Belinda!
    I was wondering what kind of preparation do you make for your children before taking the test? Do you use test prep books or anything?

    Kysha
    http://humblemama.blogspot.com

  4. SandBetweenMyToes says:

    A great encouraging post. My younger two (11 and 7) have not tested yet, but I will probably start with the older one in a year or so. I, too, want her to have taken one before time. We are not on the typical math and grammar schedule, though, so I don't want it to be a horrible experience for her because we are taking it like she needs it.
    I am also a HOMEschooler. I can do the road sometimes, but definitely not on a weekly basis. I can relate to your get-out-the-door stress!
    I'm with you on HGTV, too. I love some of the shows, although I don't watch too many. But, I also have to be careful of watching too often, because it will breed discontent in me.
    LetitiaEdited by SandBetweenMyToes on May. 20, 2008 at 2:51 PM

  5. Hediedforme says:

    This is a great reminder. Thank you! We do get so concerned with the testing, partly because we have to submit it but also because we do feel if they test poorly we aren't doing something right (and b/c of those who do not look favorably upon homeschooling, we can whip out the test if need be…). I think I am more spazed than my dh who honestly just wants to see best performance, whatever that means for each one. Anyhow, my overall goal is for them to be educated so they will know more about God and how to share Him with others in a variety of ways. I do think I struggle with being perceived as inadequate…that goes along with a lot God is working on me about though :).

    Take care friend,
    Psalm40

  6. HeartnSoul says:

    There is no mandatory testing here (yet!) but some parents do order BJU testing and have the kids take them anyway. I'm always puzzled because, except for Math (in some schools) are not going to be following the books the PS uses to "judge" if they know what they've been programmed with at PS lol.

    My 7 yr old can't stand "going backwards" to read easy 1st grade books now after reading the entire Bobbsey Twins book series by himself (age range 9+). If he is tested on 1st grade PS knowledge is that going to be accurate of his skills anyway?

    And, do I even want the govt. to know and track when my child will be graduating high school? Why has Bush passed a bill now to get an estimate from schools projecting the number of public high school graduates? He wants to know how many to expect to work (in organized govt. work camps?) by 2012.

    We all need to be looking outside the box and be aware of what is actually going on in our country. It won't be just about how well one does on an SAT, but what use will they be in the New World Order which is right on our doorstep. Scripture warns to "come out of her"- We need to untie ourselves and children right now from future bondage. If our children and we are led by the Holy Spirit, we all will pass any testing needed at the time, "do not worry about what you will say, I will be with you". Don't lean on the test (or the govt). ok off my soapbox 😉 sorry I wrote an entry for a comment lol.

    watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jl1VIhdpl4c&feature=related

  7. Abbyigale says:

    I really enjoy all your posts. You make me think completely outside of my box. This really changed my views on testing…in a positive way. Although, I do have a few years before I have to worry about tests.

    Thank you for the amazing and encouraging words in your comment! It lifted my spirits tonight.

    Abby

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