Friday, December 14, 2012

How Do I Know They Are Learning What They Should?

Many homeschoolers test their children every year to make sure they are “keeping up” whether their state law demands it or not.

Many testing companies will only sell to degreed individuals or even certified teachers. You can usually find someone to hire to administer the test for you if you don’t qualify, or public or private schools may allow your child to join a class on test day.

There are several tests that will sell to anyone, such as Calvert, Christian Liberty, and Covenant Home. Most homeschoolers use these.

I have not formally tested mine. I have bought tests and sat down to look them over before administering them only to discover that I already know whether they knew the material or not. Each time, I decided it would be a waste of time to give them the test since I already knew the results.

How could I know? I sit next to each child everyday and go over all their work with them. I see what they have problems with and what they understand.

I know what we have covered through the years and what we haven’t.

This is one reason the tutorial aspect of homeschooling is so superior. I don’t have to waste time going over things they know, nor jumping ahead to what they don’t understand. We proceed at the pace that they show is best for them.

Tests were invented to tell a teacher of a large class what his students were “getting” and where he was failing.

They also tell parents how their children are doing when someone else is doing the teaching.

I don’t find either of these reasons necessary in my case.

One good reason for testing, however, is so your children will learn “testing skills.” These skills are essential for college and many jobs. So at some point I will begin teaching these skills through formal tests, though the speed drills we use in math probably teach most of them.

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