In majority of states, even as homeschoolers, we are required to submit some form of end of the year testing. This shows the city/county/state that the child is progressing on grade level being homeschooled. It can be an enormous source of anxiety for both the parent and the child.
Within brick and mortar schools, children participate in large end of the year testing that can determine if they pass or fail a grade. This is anxiety provoking for many. They spend much of their time after winter break doing test prep, and hearing how important these final exams are. Teachers are instructed to focus lesson plans around these tests, and are in a constant test prep mentality. I have heard so many teachers saddened with how test focused teaching has become. Through homeschooling we do things much different.
The only testing prep my children receive is, go grab your pencil.
This sounds harsh, but we teach all of the concepts within their curriculum and supplementation. There is no need for us to hype up any test, or make them feel like the end of the year test is end all be all.
They don’t see these assessments as anything more than another unit quiz.
So what specifically in a list do we do in order to reduce anxiety surrounding their testing?
- Don’t focus on testing.
- Treat is as any other quiz or test.
- Don’t hype up the test, ensure they don’t see it as anything more than any other unit test.
- Know that as homeschoolers you can always test earlier in the spring, and then retest later if the results are not where the state requires.
- Know your alternative options. Some states allow you to undergo an evaluation of the students work, or obtain formal testing from a psychologist showing their progress.
As a parent it is our job to show them calm. Teach them to remain serene in situations that could be otherwise anxiety provoking. During these assessments we need to stay calm right along side them. Show them how to take deep breaths. Explain what to do if they feel they don’t know answers. Be their breath of fresh air if they feel like they are in over their heads.
If your child has incredible testing anxiety, it is okay to explore the alternative options that you have. Every child is different and that is the beautiful thing about homeschooling. You are able to play to your child’s strengths and build on their weaknesses.
Don’t let end of the year testing stress out you or your child.
It is all going to be just fine.