A few years ago my Mom called me super excited, “Ticia, the homeschool co-op that meets at my church is setting up standardized testing, do you want me to sign you up?” I shut her down hard. SO hard that six years later when I said I signed my kids up for homeschool testing, she doublechecked I was still me. It was, and despite still being very anti-homeschool testing, I signed my kids up for online homeschool testing.
(This post is sponsored by Affordable Homeschool Testing Services, I’ll talk more about them in a bit, I’ve got a few affiliate links in here in addition)
Love standardized tests or hate them, they are part of life
This is the main reason I decided to sign my kids up for online homeschool testing. In the next few years, my kids will be taking standardized tests for college entrance exams. They’re not there yet, but it’s coming very fast.
I am setting my kids up for failure if their very first time taking a standardized test is when they go in to take the SAT.
I want my kids set up to go to college if they choose a career that needs college (one of my children is looking at a career that won’t need a standard college degree).
In the same way, I didn’t give my kids tests in elementary school. I didn’t see a need for them because we taught to mastery, so if they didn’t understand a concept we kept working on it. Grades made absolutely zero difference. As we have gotten closer to high school I’ve introduced them to tests (teach how to take tests), and now I’m teaching them how to take standardized tests.
What online homeschool testing is like
For a homeschooling mom who’s never had her kids take a standardized test, I was a bit worried about how it would go. I HAVE to recommend Affordable Homeschool Testing Services. You go to their website and click on BOOK NOW to set up your testing. You are signing up for a specific date and time. It takes about 2 hours spread over two days, it is not timed, but my kids took a little less than an hour each day.
Before your test, take some time to use their sample tests, so you are familiar with how the test works (this is all in the email they give you).
On the day of the test, you call the phone number they give you and then enter the login information to your computer. The people you’re working with are super helpful. I was impressed with their customer service.
One thing to know, the test is set up for your child to miss questions, if you have a perfectionists like my daughter, she is going to freak out at the idea of missing questions. You need to reassure your child ahead of time they will miss questions.
What I learned from our experience with online homeschool testing
My kids do not know how to test for reading concepts. They know how to read, and read a lot, and can discuss the books, but because I do not enjoy analyzing books in the way I did in high school I haven’t taught that.
I was starting to do this, but we hadn’t yet. I looked and found some Reading Comprehension Fundamentals books, I’m going to use to teach the skills. Their main struggle was with finding the best multiple choice summary.
It’s a simple skill, and in retrospect, there are curricula I could have used that would have helped with this.
My kids all bombed the geometry section of math. It brought their math scores down enough so they were a grade level or so behind where they technically are. At first, I was discouraged, but I started looking at the math curriculum I used, and because of the way it was taught they haven’t covered much in geometry. I know next year they will be studying geometry, and everything they’ve missed will be covered next year.
After taking the test you get fifty pages of material explaining how your child (or children) did on the test. It breaks how they did, what level they are at, and what steps you should take next. There are so many resources to break down where you should go from there, I’m still working through it all a few weeks later.
My next steps after homeschool testing
I mentioned the areas the kids did not do as well, knowing how to take reading tests and geometry.
They are taking geometry next year, so that is covered.
My kids aren’t happy, but I’m formalizing their reading more. We are still doing our book and a movie each month, but I’m adding in discussion questions and reading questions they are answering in addition to vocabulary questions. I’m using the Seven Sisters literary guides for that, and if they don’t have one for the planned book I’m scouring the internet to find discussion questions and vocabulary. As an example, this month we are reading Ender’s Game and all of the guides I found were junk, so I went through and pieced several together.
To help them work on multiple choice questions, I’m going to use the Evan Moor Reading Comprehension I mentioned earlier. I know this is just a matter of familiarity, and they’ll get it down quickly.
Final thoughts on Homeschool Testing
I plan to use them again in about six months. They actually do not let you test one week after the other. I’m guessing that’s to make sure you don’t game the system.
I like how they make it truly AFFORDABLE Homeschool Testing Services. If you are testing more than one student there are discounts, which makes this not a break the bank when testing.
I loved the whole process, it was great, even for an anti-testing homeschool Mom like me.
Win your own Homeschool Testing to try it with your kids
Sadly, this is for USA residents only, it’s open until March 20, 2019 at 11:59 pm.