Putting Real Life on Hold

This is the week.  The week of the school year that always makes me cringe and make scrunchy faces and feel like taking more than one shower a day.

This week is STANDARDIZED TEST week.


Our state is BIG on the standardized testing.  I mean it’s REALLY  important here, for some reason.  I’m pretty sure that if every other child in America got “left behind” the ones in our state would stick their tongues out at them and deride them for not being able to fill in those little circles correctly. 

In our public schools here, they start teaching “Testing Skills” in kindergarten.  I’m not exaggerating even a little when I tell you that recesses were shortened so that kindergarteners could get in their Testing Skills practice daily! (And our state legislature can’t for the life of them figure out why there is so much growth in homeschooling here in the last five years.  I guess standardized testing doesn’t necessarily guarantee brilliant politicians??)

But sadly, homeschoolers are not immune to the testing fetish here either.  Our state homeschooling regulations include a requirement that homeschoolers take a nationally standardized test annually.  As much as I have always detested high stakes testing and all that it represents, I admit that this year it has bugged me more than ever.

Probably because we are in such a terrific relaxed-learning groove.  In fact, neither Uber nor H-T has taken anything close to a “test” this entire school year.  And yet now, they are supposed to stop what they are doing, halt their enthusiasm for whatever it is they are learning at the moment, and prove their knowledge by sitting at a desk for two hours at a stretch and filling in little circles with a specifically numbered pencil. 

I remember back in my public school days when we would have a half day of testing-prep followed by a whole day of testing.  And I’ll never forget one of my science teachers getting up the next day and opening up our text book and saying…”well, let’s get back to real life, shall we?”  The teachers knew better than anyone that what we had been doing for two days was completely ridiculous, highly political, and a huge waste of time.  They knew, and yet they were required to do it anyway.

I feel so helplessly in the same shoes today.  Heaven only knows how anxiously I await “real life” to resume again.


8 Responses

  1. James has his first year of testing this year. I am perhaps more anxious than ps teachers. Take him out of his normal environment, put him in with a bunch of strangers, strange adults, and let him have at it. I’m not so concerned with the results as his emotional state. I’m hoping he enjoys it as a social opportunity; is there play time during testing? I kind of doubt it.

  2. I am a homeschooling mom that doesn’t mind standardized testing. Frankly, its just a few hours and my dd having been to private school prior to being homeschooled is familiar with it. In fact she just finished a test she elected to do on her own. Since her state mandated standardized test scores are so high she was invited to take part in a talent search style test called the BESTS test. I do hope to see her attending a major league college eventually and testing will be a part of her life then. She might as well get used to it now and we just don’t see what the big deal is.


    Thanks 🙂

    PS love your site.

  3. It is so ridiculous isn’t it? A~man never tests anywhere near what he knows. We test in June. Thankfully the tester has worked with sn’s children…we do ours one on one orally. Our day is coming. Hang in there! Maybe you need a break at Nibs this week. 😉

  4. I wish you a speedy return to real life!

    In Massachusetts, homeschoolers are exempted from the state standardized tests. But that doesn’t stop our town from putting into their “Homeschooling Approval Procedures” paperwork that, A. they reserve the right to haul the child in for testing with an administrator, and B. that under NO circumstances are we allowed to opt IN to the state-mandated MCAS testing! Weird, huh?

    Great post!

  5. Standardized testing was the main reason we chose to homeschool. I couldn’t stand the fact that my ds spent all of 2nd & 3rd grade stressing/prepping for a 30 question test that he took at the end of 3rd grade! There was just way too much importance put on it for my comfort level.

    Sending positive thoughts and wishes for a quick return to regular life!

  6. I have a question about the results of the testing. What would “happen” if a homeschooler tested “low”? Are there certainly results that “must” be achieved? In my state there is no testing required.

    This year I did give my child a Seton test and he ended up with a 72. What I learned from it is
    1) my son doesn’t know how to take a test
    2) my son DOES know all the correct answers to the questions on the test. None of the wrong answers were due to lack of knowledge or understanding.
    It was a useful experience for us overall and we will probably do it again next year, just for fun 🙂

    • Great question, Melissa. Truth is, I have no idea! We submit our test scores and sometimes they are lower than others, but I’m not aware of any particular level of “badness” that would be “too bad”.

  7. My friend homeschools in Oregon and they must test every 3 years. I just looked at their testing requirements (where they get tested, what test they should take and the results) and it states that
    “A student must score at or above the 15th percentile on one of the approved tests”
    So OMG, what a horrible joke. 15%. Perhaps your state has an equally silly level or if maybe they don’t spell out a level at all.
    Also, it says if they get less than a 15 the child will take the test the next year again. If they get less than 15 again
    ” the ESD superintendent may require the parent or guardian to place the student under the supervision of a licensed teacher at the expense of the parent. OAR 581-021-0026(7) ”
    Interesting stuff.

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