It’s the time of year when many homeschoolers are evaluating their assessment options. One way some homeschoolers assess their student’s progress is standardized testing.
However, not all standardized testing options are equal. Some are online, some require a licensed teacher, and some companies have even more specific requirements. Today we are going to take a look at some of the standardized testing companies homeschoolers can choose.
This company has been providing testing options for homeschoolers for decades. They offer many different testing options for homeschoolers and as well as serving individual homeschool families they also serve Christian schools and large homeschool groups. To test through BJU you must apply to be approved as a tester. You can find more information about their many options and the tester requirements on their website.
This is the company that I (Misty) have used since I began homeschooling. They offer many different testing options. We have used the CAT (California Achievement Test) test previously, and this year plan on using the Terra Nova. You can look at the different testing options on their site and they even have a comparison chart.
In addition to offering many different testing options, FLO also has top notch customer service. I have called them many times with questions like which test would work best for my kids, would an updated test cause a decrease in scores, and other related questions.
Christian Liberty Press has been offering testing services for homeschoolers for decades. They currently offer two different testing options. One is the CAT test on paper as well as an online option. The online CAT version allows parents to have immediate feedback instead of having to wait for test results in the mail.
Their site offers a frequently asked questions page as well as information regarding why the 1970’s CAT test is still so popular even though some may deem it “outdated”.
Local School Districts
In some areas, local school districts will allow homeschoolers to test with their public school counterparts. This is an option that is NOT offered everywhere. I know local homeschoolers who have tested with Christian schools as well as public schools. This is a good option if you don’t feel comfortable testing your children yourself, or if you want them to get used to testing in a large group. This is NOT a good option if you have a child with an undocumented IEP as they will not be able to accommodate your child’s special needs. Contact your local school district to see if this is an option for your family.
Depending on the size of your homeschool group, they may offer testing services for their members. These testing services are often offered in a similar environment as public school testing days. Again, if your child has an IEP this may not be a good testing option. IT is a great option if you want your child to be used to testing in a group, yet around children, they know and are comfortable with.
Testing your homeschool child is a decision that must be made based on your own beliefs, your child’s abilities, and requirements within your state. Once you made the decision to test you can use this post as a reference to choosing one of the many standardized testing options for homeschoolers.
Misty Bailey is a work at home homeschool, mom. She loves helping new homeschoolers and has a Homeschool 101 eBook for those getting started. She shares her struggles with time management, becoming unglued and finding joy in the everyday moments of her blog Joy in the Journey.
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Ray Simmons and Cynthia homeschooled their five children together. He severs as elder and Bible teacher at Grace Community Church. He’s also an accountant and has successfully managed money for thirty years.
Your child may not learn to read till they are around age 5, but your child is learning from the time they are born. The foundation of good literacy skills is started while the child is still young. Early literacy skills are things like communication, recognition of letters, numbers and words (not reading, but recognizing), storytelling, being able to narrate what was said, or read, learning to rhyme, and recognize sounds.
Here are some simple things you can do to teach literacy skills:
Read to your child!
Start at a young age, even infants and toddlers can learn to love books. When your child is around 3 or 4 start reading good quality literature to them. Some good ones to start with are Charlotte’s Web, Stuart Little, or the Little House Series. Reading is such an important tool in a child’s life and can open up a whole new world to a young child. Studies have shown that exposing children to reading before preschool greatly improves their academic performance when they start elementary school.
Give them books-lots of them!
Don’t feel obligated to buy them though, get in the habit of taking your kids to the library every week (or at least once a month) and checking out great books for kids. When they are young they may just look at the pictures. They may hold them upside down, or even teeth on them. This is okay; the point is getting them in their hands while they are little.
Talk to your child about letters and words they see every day.
There are letters and words on road signs, store signs, labels on foods, cover pages on books and magazines. Point out the letters and words to your child. Look at the EXIT and STOP signs and explain what they mean and how the letters come together to make an important word.
Make a game out of rhyming words.
Say funny phrases like “The man has a fan and a tan” or “The fat cat sat on the hat”. Point out the words that rhyme in the phrase, and see if they can come up with one of their own.
Use claps, jumps or pats to teach syllables.
Start with your child’s name. For example “Alyson” has 3 syllables so we would jump 3 times (AL-Y-SON). Then you could move on to your name, the dog’s name, what you are eating for dinner, etc.
Teach through play!
When teaching them to write their name or learning the alphabet, use a stick and let them play in the dirt! What kid doesn’t love to play outside? This is a simple way to get them learning while they are up and moving.
All of these skills can be taught at home with little or no money spent on “curriculum” or “early learning tools”. Learning through play is important for young children and these are just a few tips you can use to teach literacy skills and help your child learn.
Author Bio: Misty Bailey and her husband have been married for over a decade and have three beautiful children. She shares her struggles with time management, becoming unglued and finding joy in the everyday moments on her blog Joy in the Journey.