When we made the decision to homeschool, I immediately noticed one significant benefit – no more test anxiety.
My son stressed constantly about his next test, and then the next. Every Thursday night was a disaster, as we studied for his weekly, Friday morning spelling test. Never mind the annual week of standardized testing. It seemed endless, for me and for my son.
Homeschooling meant no more tests.
It was wonderful.
Until it wasn’t.
At some point along the way, I realized that I needed a way to assess my boys’ progress, and help them feel a sense of accountability and pride in their own learning.
As a result, for the past few years, I have been looking for out-of-the-box ways to create tests for my out-of-the-box boys.
We’ve had some successes and failures. I’ve reverted back to multiple choice tests at the end of the chapter more than I care to admit. But eventually, we got into a testing groove that works well for all of us.
Here’s what I’ve learned works best for my learners –
How To Create A Test Your Child Will Love To Take
The easiest and most accurate way to assess what a child has learned, is to incorporate his natural learning style and strengths.
For my youngest, this means movement, hands-on learning and getting outside.
One tool has helped me more than any other, in creating tests that actually help my son feel confident and show proof of progress.
It’s so simple, I am almost embarrassed to share it.
It’s sidewalk chalk.
Seriously, sidewalk chalk is my not so well-kept, secret, must-have item for creating tests my child loves to take.
With sidewalk chalk, I can easily take a standard written test, and turn it into an activity requiring movement and balance.
It’s super cheap and easy to use – even on the toughest homeschool days.
Here are some of the ways we have used sidewalk chalk to test my child’s retention of new learning.
Draw two circles. Write a T in one and F in the other. Ask true or false questions and have your child jump to the correct response. Or, if your child is not up for jumping, have your child toss a bean bag into the circle with the correct response.
Make a standard hopscotch and write sight words, vocabulary words or prefixes and suffices in the squares. As your child jumps to a square, ask him to read the sight word, define the vocabulary word and use it in a sentence, or describe how the prefix/suffice changes a root word.
Make it even easier on yourself and just place the flashcards pre-printed with the sight words, vocabulary words or prefixes and suffices into the drawn squares.
Draw a number line for testing your child’s knowledge of basic counting, addition and subtraction and negative numbers.
Write A, B, C, and D, for multiple choice quizzes and encourage your child to jump or throw a bean bag to the correct response.
Spelling tests are much more fun when allow your child to write the words on the sidewalk.
This is so simple, but the benefits are great. For us, removing formal testing also removes the test anxiety and perfectionism my children experience. By turning the same information into an activity, we achieve the same objective but in a manner that is not only more effective, but more fun as well.
Friday Fun-Days: 52 Weeks of Easy Hands-On Activities
This Friday, I want to encourage you to try any of the above ideas with your children in lieu of a formal test. You’ll be amazed at the confidence and excitement this type of testing inspires in our kids.
The best news?
He was able to demonstrate his mastery in a way that was not only effective, it was encouraging and fun.
Looking for more easy, hands-on activities?