I know there are many homeschoolers who do not test their children, and that’s fine because the beauty of homeschooling is we can do what we want! However, my husband and I both agreed we would test the boys yearly, just to give us an objective measure of how they are doing. Of course, I know, that test results can be skewed, and a test is NOT solely indicative of how much a child has learned, but, I think that test results, when considered along with the progress you have seen your child make throughout the year, can give you a good “picture” of where they are at.
We took the SAT 10 with our local homeschool group this year. The boys had also taken the same test last year, and I mainly just wanted to compare their scores so I could see “growth” and also target areas of weakness. I am sooo very happy to say that their test results were really good, and went along with the progress they had shown throughout the year.
My oldest son tested very well in all areas, his weakest being math (which was not a surprise). My youngest son grew tremendously overall, but particularly in the area of reading. I cannot tell you HOW great this feels. I have seen his reading grow so much this year, and his confidence as well, and it thrills me. This is the boy who was going to be “held back” in PS because his reading wasn’t “up to par” and now, he’s a little above where he should be!! I have to say, there have been moments this year (and I know we all have these moments!) where I have been frustrated and questioned whether or not I was doing the best job possible for my kids. You know in your heart that you are, but still, doubt creeps in and whispers in your ear when you’re trying to sleep and keeps you up all night! 🙂 Well, after this I feel so much more relieved and confident!
I will say that we spent a LOT of time on reading this year, and not so much on writing, so I was not at all surprised to see my younger son score lower in this area. It was already something I knew we were going to need to focus on more for next year, and I plan to work “lightly” on it this summer as he keeps his reading journal.
Another surprising fact: both of the boys scored extremely well in the areas of problem solving/logic. We did spend time doing logic puzzles this year, and my oldest did The Fallacy Detective while my youngest did Logic Countdown. I really think that helped their scores in this area.
Testing also helps when family and friends ask for “updates” as to how homeschooling is going (with that doubtful tone in their voices). For some reason, people find it hard to argue with data, rather than just taking my opinion. I know it’s not a big deal, but if it gets them off my back, I’m all for it!
Now, I’m off to finalize (again 🙂 ) plans for next year! Ughh! Choosing curriculum is the HARDEST part of homeschooling for me!!