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You’ve probably read that homeschooling gives you and your child freedom to do things your own way, to go at your own pace, and to learn what you want to learn. One thing many parents wonder, though, is “What about testing?”

Tests are the classic way to check on a student’s progress. While you CAN homeschool without tests, we’ll assume that you will administer tests. Some programs will also offer you support with testing, but just in case it’s all up to you, let’s discuss how to create your own testing solution.

Look At Your State’s Testing Requirements

The first thing you’ll need to determine is whether or not your state requires your child to take one or more standardized tests each year. This site:

includes a list of all 50 states and what their homeschool testing requirements are. If your state does require tests, it’ll give you a bit more input into how to structure your curriculum.

Keep Records

Regardless of whether or not your state has mandatory testing, you need to keep records of your child’s test performance. These will be useful not only for you to track their development, but also because, if a state doesn’t have mandatory testing, they’ll still require some evidence that you are teaching them. These HOMESCHOOL PORTFOLIOS fill that niche and are their own form of assessment.

Think About What Type of Test You Want to Give

Unless you’re using a pre-packaged curriculum such as Abeka, you can get a bit creative with what kinds of tests you’ll administer. Will your tests be multiple choice? Involve essay writing? Book reports? Will they be timed or untimed? Since you have some freedom, you can play to your child’s strengths and way of learning. There are many ways to assess whether or not your child’s learned!

Have Goals

Tests are helpful not only since they measure your child’s progress, but because they function as goalposts. If you decide to administer a test on this date around this subject, it gives you something to work towards because you know you want them to be proficient in that subject by that time. Set weekly, monthly, and/or quarterly goals.

Make Adjustments Based on Test Results

Tests are an assessment of where your child stands with the material. Since you’re probably only working with one or two children, you have the opportunity to really evaluate their results. If they did poorly, provide more help: maybe they did well in one area but not well in another. Adjust your curriculum accordingly.

Talk With Your Kids

The great thing about homeschool and that the focus is only on one or two kids is that you get feedback from them. You can try a few different types of tests; see which works best for them. If your state does have standardized testing, you should administer that type of test now and again to make sure they aren’t taken by surprise.

Overall, testing can be administered similarly or differently to how it’s done in public school – it’s your choice. As an added note: if you homeschool your child through high school, you’ll definitely want to prepare them for the SAT and/or ACT, which will be incredibly useful in college admissions.

Tests are about assessment. They inform you what should change and what can stay the same. Take them seriously, but remember there’s more to the picture!