Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Homeschooling Tips: to Test or not to Test

This week students across Indiana are taking the ISTEPS.

This week, my children are taking the Iowa Basics.

Indiana does not require testing for homeschooled children, so why are we doing it?

I don't believe the point of education is to test my children. However, I do believe that testing them periodically (about every two years) provides me with a tool to see how I am doing as a teacher. Are there areas that are weaknesses? Are there areas where I may not be challenging my children enough? It provides me with a tool that allows me to determine if I'm seeing my children's academic progress accurately.
For example, the first time I tested our oldest, she was in third grade. I knew spelling was a weakness of mine when it came to teaching. I hadn't found a curriculum that worked for us. The test reinforced that, but also showed me that she was basically at grade level. Because of where she fell on everything else, I had the push I needed to find a spelling program that works for us (which I have in All About Spelling).

The testing also gives me husband the assurance that homeschooling is working. That our kids are excelling and thriving. In addition periodic testing is important to help prepare my kids for the important college admissions tests: the SAT and ACT.

However, I never want testing to become the goal of educating. Instead, I want my kids to delight in learning. To love the process of constantly learning new information. To be sponges like their father, who knows more about diverse subjects than anyone else I know.

Your turn: Do you think testing has a place in education? If so, how do you think it should be used?

2 comments: said...

We test for similar reasons--I want to see where I need to work more with them. I try to keep it VERY low-key for them. It is not required in my state (OK) but I just like to know. :)

Cara Putman said...

Charity, it's not required in IN either, but I like to know how we're doing. But we also don't test every year. About every two to three seems about right.


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