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Test Preparation for Young Learners

Jan is the mother of three boys, all of whom are homeschooled. She has a B.A. from the University of Missouri in Finance and worked on Wall


As spring approaches it brings in new buds and and opportunity to review the home school year by ways of standardized testing. Did I hear a groan or two? I've always approached end-of-year testing with more excitement than trepidation. For me the test is more of a tool rather than quintessential assessment of my children's knowledge. I use the results to help me understand what is happening nationally with other students and more importantly as a way to help me understand how to fill in the gaps in what may be missing from my children's curriculum.

Step One - Understand what your students are being tested on.

Once you've selected and ordered the correct test (based on your state requirements,) make sure you understand exactly what your child will be tested on. Then a month or two before the test begin to supplement some practice into your daily learning. An example is to search "reading comprehension worksheet 2nd grade" and find some free resources online. This is also a great opportunity to practice filling in the bubble on the correct answer. This is something that we adults who have been tested for decades take for granted.

Step Two: Mock Test

Have two or three short mock tests with your children. One of the most challenging things for them and you will be that you will not be able to help them find the correct answers. As home school teachers we are use to assisting (to a flaw at times) when they stumble. A mock test will help you both feel more comfortable when the actual testing day comes.


Step Three: Physical and Mental Preparedness

Make sure your child's physical needs are being met.

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1. a proper night's sleep that's eight to ten hours, with no TV or other stimulate in the background.

2. a healthy (non sugary) breakfast. Sugar over stimulates and discourages focus.

3. Plenty of water (not juice, hi c, or other sugar drinks) plain ole fashion water. Brains need adequate hydration for proper function.

4. Before the test have your children do some sort of physical activity that they love (ride bikes, swing, chase the dog around the yard). Physical activity helps the mind, body and spirit. It gets endorphins moving and it gets blood flow to every part of the body including the brain.

Step Four: Testing Space

The space where your children are testing needs to be clear, quiet and without interruptions. Homes are generally busy, noisy places. Turn off phones, let others who are working, living in the home know that today is test day and there shouldn't be any avoidable distractions. This may be one thing that traditional schools have an advantage over home schools.

Step five: The needs of the children

If your child isn't feeling well or two parts of the test are too much, close the book and plan the test for the next day or two. This is really one of the benefits of home education is that you can work around the needs of the child and family. Likewise, if the child is focused and motivated and wants to do an additional part, knock it out.

Step Six: Realistic Expectations

Your child is unique, like no one else on earth. Everyone excels in some areas and struggles in others, so remember this when the results come in. Celebrate the achievements and work on the areas that need some attention. And remember that you can always retest in a month or two when your child has mastered additional skills.

So when you hear the robins chattering and see the daffodils bursting through the cold grass and you realize that end-of-year testing is approaching, don't panic! Simply welcome in the opportunity, like the spring, to pause and marvel at the growth of your children.

© 2018 Jan Copperpot

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