Test Prep


Tomorrow Rachel must go for standardized testing.  In our state home educated students in 3rd, 5th, 8th grades must get standardized testing.

Standardized testing is a tool that schools use to show where their students are in light of the curriculum chosen by the state to teach in say grade 5.  They find results that show that some students are above grade level, below grade level or average.  The teachers take weeks to prep their students for standardized testing.  They "teach to the test" so to speak.

Home educating families typically don't do this.  I don't use the same curriculum as the public school.  I use a lot of readers for history, we use a different math program, etc.  When it comes time for standardized testing, most 5th grade tests will have all the things state educated 5th graders have been studying.  My 5th graders typically are learning the history their high school sister is doing.  So if she were to take a 5th grade history test, based on what the state schools are doing, she may not do well.  Does that make sense?  

Sometimes students both home educated and state educated are behind grade level in certain subjects.  With standardized testing it makes them seem as if they are failing, when really it is only that they haven't learned it on the state's time table of when they decided student should know a certain thing.  What does it matter when they learn it, as long as they learn it? 

Sometimes kids just need time...my kids have been all over the place in their educations, behind in certain subjects, ahead in others.  By the time they graduate they are good, well rounded people who know how to learn.  They are interested in many things and love to learn, but they don't know Calculus like their friend Liz.  Liz has a gift my kids don't have and that's alright.  We don't need to compare our kids to each other - they are all unique, just how God made them!

Rachel is a little bit behind in her math.  Not far but a bit behind where the 5th grade standards are set.  So we have been doing a wee bit of test prep with her, so she will feel comfortable with the test and the material.  I have been very pleased at how quickly she has grasped material that just a few months ago she wouldn't have been ready for.  Again, sometimes they just need time.  She may never go beyond Algebra 1 or perhaps not past a good general math course.  That is ok.  Did I ever tell you how she practically taught herself to read?  Her gifts lie in other places than math.

That's the beauty of a home education.

Fortunately for us, our state only requires that home educated students be tested in math and language arts.  We are using a CAT test this year and it is being given by a friend of ours at her home.

She won't need to do testing again for 3 more years.  Sarah will do testing next year in 3rd grade and her issues are more reading related, though she is coming right along.

Well, I need to get back to a bit of test prep.

Have a lovely day, friends!


  1. Go Rachel!!!! I know you'll do well. Is it Mrs. M or Mrs. W who will give this test? Either of them are great!!!

    Mrs. K.

  2. These are my opinions, that is why i assume you have a blog for people to post their opinions, not to offend what so ever just something to think about.

    How can you say your children are not gifted at things they never had the opportunity to try?

    Knowledge of Calculus is not a gift for most people it takes learning and studying.

    Granted after we have the opportunity to try Calculus and we do not excel at it, only then you can say that maybe your not gifted at it.

    The state has provided a time line of things you need to know at a certain age so that by the time they graduate high school they are prepared for college. There is no possibility of college with out basic knowledge of math or language. If anyone did go to college without that basic knowledge the state will make them then at the age of 18 learn things they were "supposed" to already know to graduate high school.

    I am not gifted at math, not at all, but through the state system of public school i was given the opportunity to learn algebra, geometry, intermediate algebra, and at first it was hard, but with work and studying i did an ok job, i am not gifted at geometry or intermediate algebra but i can say that because i have tried it.

    It seems as though you are makeing excuses for their lack of knowledge. Your children are extremely smart and given the opportunity they can excel at anything they believe they can, as a parent you need to believe in your kids and give them opportunities, so that your kids can learn to believe in themselves and be gifted at things you never thought possible.

  3. I so agree with your post! I'm glad we don't have to do standardized testing. I have never believed in "teaching to the test", and realized as a student myself that much of what I learned was for a test, and then soon forgotten if it wasn't something I was truly interested in. My goal as a homeschooling parent is to teach my children to "learn how to learn" and to desire to serve God with their gifts and talents.

    My older two boys just graduated from college. Randy had a gpa of almost 3.5 and Ryan graduated cum laude because his was over 3.5. I know this is not because of anything I did as a teacher, but because of what God did in their lives. Yet in 3rd, 5th and 8th grade, they might both have done poorly in standardized tests. God was shaping them into the men He wanted them to become, but He was doing it on HIS timeline, not the school district's or state's.

  4. Dear Jill,

    I didn't see your comment until today, as I was very busy this week and weekend.

    First I must say that your comment is offensive simply from the aspect that you have assumed my children don't have "the opportunity to try" things! You have made major assumptions.

    I did not write what I did to "excuse" their lack of knowledge. Did I say they have a lack of knowledge? You are right to say they are very intelligent, and they have excelled at learning.

    Lindsay for example finished high school in three years. She did this by doing two English courses her last year - American Lit. and British Lit. She also had previously done English I and English II her freshman and sophomore years. She also did Physical Science, Biology I with Labs, and Botany including labs and field work, and she also did an basic Electronics course. For Social Studies Lindsay studying American History her freshman year, World History I her Sophomore year, World History II her Junior year as well as a full Government course her Junior year. For math she did pre-algebra, Algebra I and II and Geometry. She excelled at it all earning A's and B's in all those courses. She also did Home Economics I and II, Phys. Ed, Driver's Ed. She did an Apologetics course, Media Arts, Photography and Music.

    I don't understand, dear, why you would assume that my kids haven't had the opportunity to excel and try things. My goodness that is so narrow minded.

    My children have so many opportunities and we use them! They learn in many different places and ways.

    My post was only to communicate that standardized testing doesn't always show what a person has learned or when they have learned it. That was all! Oh, and the fact that I don't use the state's curriculum for their education.

    Could you explain why you would assume your cousins haven't had opportunities to learn? Are you assuming that because they aren't in a state or private school they couldn't possibly have opportunities?

    I would like to dialog with you more. I was so surprised to see this comment because you know your cousins, they are intelligent, well rounded young women, which you obviously know.

  5. Ok a couple quick items.

    1. Being from a public schooling. Not once ever did I or any of my classes take part in prep sessions for the standardized tests. Not a day or weeks. It just didn't happen. Maybe they do something different in pa, but here in California that didn't happen.

    2. I know I'm in the minority here. Public school is great. Being a product of public school, I can say that. Not demeaning home school, because that's good too for the people that do it right. I've seen kids come into school from home school, both ahead of the classes and way behind where the classes are.

    Not everyone home schools, and that's okay. Not everyone goes to public school, and that's okay. Let's get rid of the stereotypes for both sides.

  6. Here in PA they spend alot of time on test prep and we did too in CA when I was in school. Practice tests for weeks before the 'real' test. Don't know what they do now.

    My post wasn't about public school or homeschooling even - just that we have to do a test that is written for state school. End of story.

  7. WOW this was taken to generalized,

    i asked if your children were given the opportunity to try Calculus Specifically that subject because you made a comment that they are just not gifted at it.

    Never in there did i say that your children did not take any course that public schools did, i was merely giving an example of how my schooling was.

    And how exactly am i being narrow minded? All i was saying was to believe in your kids, do not say they are not gifted at things they have never tried! i never said they were not given opportunities.

    The point i was trying to make was did lindsay have and take the opportunity to try Calculus specifically? if not as a parent do not say she is not gifted at it if she has never tried it.

    Like i have said before offending is not my intention, i was merely stating my Opinion one that everyone is entitled to have with out being name called. People have different opinions, and i just didnt agree with what you said and i stated that.

    I want my family to be smart, educated and able to hold their own in this society, i want them to do all that they dreamed and more. Not what their parents dreamed for them but what THEY dream. and in my opinion in this society not passing a basic math course in your lifetime is not ok.

    If what you want is for your kids to grow up and be just like you, a homemaker, a mother, a teacher, they need the knowledge to teach thier kids.

    again, that is my opinion, i am not trying to make you angry, in no way am i trying to be put on the blacklist of family members we do not talk to anymore. Again all of my Cousins are smart and they all excel at what they try! I love each and every one of them. i shouldnt have to explain that just because i state that my opinion is different than yours.

  8. I stated that you were being narrow minded because you made an assumption and still are in this comment that Lindsay or any of my kids didn't have the opportunity to take Calculus.

    Did you take calculus? Were you interested? Lindsay was not interested in pursuing higher math, she could have if she had been interested.

    Your previous comment was written in an inflammatory way, whether you meant to write it like that or not.

    You said that I was "making excuses for their lack of knowledge," and so on.

    Seriously Jill, I am not black listing you or not loving you at all. You are entitled to your opinion, but you made assumptions in your opinion, it is not based in fact.

    My daughters and sons education is very thorough. They do all the state requirements as well as many electives. I believe in "delight directed studies" for much of their extra course work. When they have an interest in something, we pursue it. Hey, I have horses in my backyard and the kids ride in the fair every year!

    The girls are interested in music and play instruments. They got interested in photography and have studied and both have great camera's and have won ribbons for their photography.

    All this started when I stated in my post that they weren't gifted in math the way their friend Liz is. Really they aren't, neither are Liz's sisters! It's ok!

    My kids are thriving! They can handle college work and if THEY are wanting to pursue that they can!

    I get the feeling that you think that they are somehow being hindered. They aren't. We believe in all of our children being very well educated - but it doesn't have to be done only at college.

    Lindsay continues to pursue areas of interest to her, she is continuing to learn and study.

    I think you think somehow they are living out my dream for them - they are doing and pursuing what their interests are.

    You must remember Jill, that I am entitled to my opinion as well. And I am allowed to say that I disagree with your opinion. You have been inflammatory with your comments. You insinuated that I do not allow my children to try things or to learn etc... This is absolutely untrue.

    Your opinion is that my children are smart and can learn anything and excel! That is my opinion too!

    You stated that you want your family to be all they can be and in this society not passing a basic math course in your life time isn't ok. Did I say that my kids haven't done this?

    Maybe I am misunderstanding some of your points.

    I do sense that you think that I am in some way being unfair to my children, or that I am not allowing them to be all they can be. What makes you think this?


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