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Feb 22, 2013

Test Prep Smart Parents

Good Day readers! As March is quickly approaching I find myself beginning to think about testing my first grader to evaluate where we are in our education journey. Now I understand that a lot of homeschoolers do not agree with testing and believe testing to be one the reasons they dislike public education. Please know that I agree that Standardized testing puts every unique child into a box and should that child have a different way of learning and responding to learning then testing doesn't adequately show what your child may actually know. However, there is a positive side to homeschool testing. If you're a homeschool parent like myself then some form of validation is needed from time to time. One form of validation can be achieved through testing. Also the benefit of testing at home means a parent is sitting next to their child and baby-stepping their way through the process together so come REAL test time they are equipped for the real McCoy ;)

Why do I agree with practice testing?
Practicing basic skills in a testing situation can help ensure that your students:
  • are comfortable with the testing environment
  • know how to approach different kinds of test questions
  • apply knowledge to a variety of test formats
  • use time wisely during tests
First Create mini-unit tests which focus on a subject found in each section that review what your students learned. Then use these mini-tests to implement the following tips. Additionally Do Not Rush and help your child relax and take time to answer each question. Some kids rush through questions and answer before reading through the entire question. Ask your child to explain why they chose that answer and then they might catch their mistake. If not gently point it out and encourage them to go over it again and let them know you will be there to assist them if need be.

Here are Tips for Test-Smart Parents:

Multiple Choice Tips:
  • Make sure that your child is filling in the correct answer circles by asking your child to point to the question number and the answer choices.
Reading Skills Tips:
  • Ask your child to explain the "clue" the led to each correct answer.
  • To help you child find the main idea, ask "What is the big idea in this story?" Read each answer choice aloud. Talk about whether each answer choice states the big idea.
  • After your child finds the correct answer, look back at the story. Ask your child to find the sentence that states the main idea. Your child should notice that this sentence is typically the first sentence in the story. Point out that many stories begin with the main idea. This strategy can help your child find the main ideas in test stories.
  • Help your child answer questions by rereading sections from the story.
  • Emphasize signal words if you need to reread the story. Help your child recognize the meanings of words.
  • You might explain the words cause and effect. The reason why something happened is the cause. The thing that happens is the effect
Math Problem-Solving Steps: (for word problems)
  1. WHAT IS THE QUESTION: Read the problem. Can you see what you must find? What is being asked?
  2. FIND THE FACTS: Important facts are facts you need to do the problem. Facts you don't need are facts not needed to do the problem. Are more facts needed? Do you need more facts to do the problem.
  3. GET A PLAN: Chooses a way to do the problem.
  4. DO THE PROBLEM: Use your plan to do the problem.
  5. DOES YOUR ANSWER MAKE SENSE? Read the problem again. Does your answer make sense?
  • Remind your child to look at the plus or minus sign to decide whether to add or subtract.
So here it is my mouthful of helpful hints and tips for parents to aid in equipping their young loved little ones for the world of testing. By beginning in first grade my hope is that by third grade my eldest and children following will be ready for the day when they have to face the real deal. My intention is only to be helpful :)

Grace to You,
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