Tuesday, June 03, 2008

"Are You Going to Test?"

I get asked this question a lot. My parents ask, strangers (not that it's any of their business) ask, other homeschooling moms ask. Last year I thought I would be testing both of my kids at this time. Not so!

Now let's face it, having a baby in the middle of the school year is not conducive to lots and lots of school time. In thinking about it more, I came up with the ultimate question. Who would I be testing for? I know what subjects I have and have not introduced. I know how well my children know the material. I know the context of how I introduced the material. I know my one daughter is terrified of timed tests.

I know also that I disagree with a lot of what is taught in public school. One of the main reasons I homeschool is so that I am in control of the subjects my children study. I'm not talking about anything other than the order scientific and other ideas are taught. I am atheist so it's not like I teach my kids religion and call it school--which it is not.

You can see that there is no point in testing for myself. Should I test so I can wave aroung peices of paper for others? I'm not homeschooling for anyone other than my children. Should I trust that anyone other than myself has their best interests at heart?

1 comment:

LynnG said...

Excellent question. Why bother to test. Maybe you don't need to. Testing (now renamed as "assessment") can be a powerful tool for a teacher (or homeschool parent) to determine if the child has actually learned what you think you taught.

It's easy for a parent/teacher to believe that the instruction was so clear and the kids responses so thoughtful, that of course, they know the material.

Assessment would help you identify gaps (if they exist). Frequent testing will help you move more quickly or slow down and repeat instruction from a more informed vantage point.

That being said, you'd want the test to test what matters to you.