Thursday, April 18, 2013

More Thoughts on Testing

·         Two sharpened pencils with erasers.
·         Desks set at least two feet apart.
·         Empty dots.
·         Filled dots.
·         More empty dots.
What do all these remind you of?  Standardized testing.  There may be two things wrong with that: it involves testing that is standardized.  Fear not, friends, I have not fallen off the deep end of homeschooling.  In fact I have encouraged many homeschoolers to use this educational tool as I have done for the last 9 years.  That said, I fear that testing still has to be evaluated individually as well as nationally. 
My children have little anxiety as they approach these yearly tests.  We do not teach for the test nor do we view them as irrelevant.  My kids soar through some tests while on others they are challenged.  In the end, the scores give a fair evaluation of my kids’ achievement . . . . sort of. 
Here I go muddying ideas again.  I appreciate the breakdown of each subject area.  I can at a glance view strengths and weaknesses.  I can better specialize each child’s educational plan with these tests as ONE tool.  As a whole these tests can be helpful if viewed to help the child.  I will get the results back in June and will be able to adjust my teaching to better educate my children.  However, a classroom teacher is limited as to how the test for this year will help his/her class in the future. 
That is where some have found themselves in deep water drowning.  In their case, the tests have no longer been about helping educate a child but rather to employ a teacher.  Tests become more important for the corporation rather than for the child.
I am blessed to have my children tested at a private school where I know the teachers and administration.  That has added to the benefit for my children.  My kids feel the necessity to show their best work, but the pressure to perform is not there.  Not that any school is perfect or that all public schools have fallen into the performance trap. 
My job as a Christian homeschool mom is to educate my kids the best I can according to the gifts that God has given them using the tools that are available to me.  Testing is one of those tools.  Each child will test differently.  Each child will present differently in the end. 
I am thankful that my kids do not take the same curriculum that everyone else may take.  I am thankful that some things come easily for them.  I am thankful that some subjects require a struggle.  Of course, I would love to see my kids excel, but in the end I need to take testing as only one element of their education. 
I feel privileged to be able to educate my children this way.  I make many mistakes.  I change things up all the time because kids are kids and moms are moms and life gets crazy.  I am thankful for a Christian school who partners with me in this area of testing.  I know I differ from many others in all areas of schooling.  When all is said and done, I pray that we are doing our jobs to the best of our ability to raise Godly, thinking, responsible adults.  That is what I am accountable for.

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