Tuesday, August 16, 2011

peace of mind passing

I am a chronic fretter. 

No choice ever goes without a good round of second guessing.  The harder the decision – the worse the sleep loss!   

And the further into this homeschooling thing I’ve ventured…the more I’ve found myself worrying that I don’t measure up.  Especially as the core academics grow in intensity and difficulty.  Oh…I read all the encouraging articles and blog posts.  I flip through my HSLD magazine when I get a chance.  And I remind myself often that our choice to home educate isn’t entirely about academics.  I cling to the Scriptures.  And they help alleviate my symptoms. But ever so slowly doubt will creep back in.  Are we making a mistake?  Is this all wrong?  What if he could become more with a different choice?  The questioning flies despite my knowing that we’ve prayed and feel Peace over this decision.  Somewhere over the course of this past year, I decided for me, having Toby take a standardized test would help my heart immensely.  If he passed, I mean.  Although, Lord knows, I’ve fretted about that too!  Because, seriously, I’ve graded his papers!   

I don’t remember how, but I found this online version of the CAT (California Achievement Test).  Maybe it was the nostalgia of knowing that’s the testing I took during my school years?  Maybe it’s the ease of being able to schedule the test according to my availability?  All I know for sure is, I knew that I knew I needed him to take it.  Not for him so much, as for me.

Testing happened today.  And although I won’t go into specific specifics, I’m happy to report that he tested average or above in everything!  My heart is SO relieved!  Seriously, relieved!  And just in case some of you have battled similar feelings and think having your kiddos take a standardized test might help your heart too…here are some things I’ve learned.   

  • Order the test beforehand.  Online does not mean instant!  It takes about 24 hours to process before you get the code.
  • Remind your child that this test will have questions ranging from 1st to 12th grade and he should not be intimidated if something seems too difficult but should just do his best.  
  • Make sure to have scrap paper and pencil ready for those pesky math problems.
  • Speaking of pesky math problems, no matter how smart your student thinks he is make him check his work!  Toby is a mental math guy, which is great.  But he still makes mistakes and checking his work is important!  I let him calculate mentally and then check it on scratch paper.  
  • Take breaks.  I didn’t realize we could take breaks between each section.  This is important!  Especially if you have a fidgety kid!  But hey…he survived.  Smile
  • Make sure to go over the sample questions WITH your student.  The timer will not start until the sample questions have been discussed.  However, if you have a less than patient child like I do, he may or may not try to get started on the next session without you and may or may not find himself totally lost which may or may not mean a portion of that section will cost precious time because he’ll have to go back and make corrections.  All of which could have been avoided had he waited to start the next section with his teacher!  Which is why you need to… 
  • Stay with your student!  I tried getting him set up and then leaving the room.  This was to prevent either of us from being tempted to “cheat”.  The only trouble is…he gets distracted way too easily!  And he proceeded into new sections without telling me.  About four sections in, I decided I needed to sit in the same room for the duration.  But…
  • Resist the urge to watch every.single.choice.  It will drive you bonkers!  And you don’t want to skew the results with frowny face encouraged do-overs.  If you start feeling frustrated go put on another potta joe.  Or make sure you have a book you’ve been itching to read on hand.  Smile  That’s what I shoulda done.  
  • The Language sections are a little tricky.  They are a complete story but each line is broken up which can be a little confusing.  The print copy may be less so than the online version? 
  • Lastly…try to relax!  The thought occurred to me after the fact - of course he’d do well!  Studies support the idea that the smaller the student to teacher ratio…the better the learning.     

I feel so good we may have to do dinner at Applebees (cause kids eat free) tonight in celebration!   



  1. Congratulations on now being able to start another school year without a reason to be worried! (although I know another worry will pop up--I am the Queen of second-guessing!)

    What a relief, though! Go Toby!

  2. Hopefully it'll last. The happy I'm actually a decent teacher feeling. :) We should totally start a Second Guesser support group!


  3. Of course he tested average or above. Standardized tests only measure the very basic minimum skills public school students are expected to learn. Homeschoolers learn FAR BEYOND what the kids in public school learn. Study after study has shown that homeschoolers FAR outperform their public school counter-parts, not only on standardized tests but in REAL LIFE which is the ultimate test.

  4. Stopping by from the TOS Crew Blog Hop ... I am your newest follower.

    Great testing advice. We love the CAT! I tested two of my children back in April - it was my first time administering the test myself we had been paying $75 for each child in the past. It was so easy and we were very pleased with the testing results.

    Have a great weekend!

  5. Really great testing tips! I had my oldest tested last year and was extremely thrilled by the results. Our other 2 were not tested, but I plan on having them tested at the end of this next year, so I will definitely use your tips and advice. I know what you mean about second-guessing ourselves. I think ALL homeschool moms go through this several times a year! It is nice when we can see something concrete as evidence our children are doing great. Thank you for sharing!

  6. i test my children every year not because of state rules just for my own peace of mind. Every year they do just fine and I feel more comfortable beginning the next year. Hope this eases your mind a bit too. Children learn at their own pace and the beauty of homeschooling is you can go at their pace.:)