Homeschoolers, Don’t Fall for the Standardized Testing Gimmick!

Standardized tests have nothing to do with learning.

I hate standardized tests. As a homeschool mom, I think they’re one of the most useless things on the planet- right up there with cockroaches and mosquitoes.

Yet, just the other week I had a conversation with someone about homeschooling that went something like this: 

Them: Oh, you homeschool?

Me: Yes, we do.

Them: Well, how do you know your kids are on par with public school kids?

Me: Oh, well my kids always score higher than their public school peers on their standardized tests. In fact, homeschoolers score an average of two grade levels higher than their public school peers.

Falling for standardized testing ploy

When I realized what had actually come out of my mouth, I was horrified.

How could it be that I- the one who champions against these sorts of bureaucratic wastes of time- had somehow also fallen for the idea that standardized test scores actually mean something?

The sad part is that I know how futile they areI know that they aren’t even close to being a clear indicator of what a child does or doesn’t know.

And yet, here I am, equating the success of my decision to homeschool with my kids’ test scores.

The fact is, as a society, we’ve been conditioned. No matter how we feel about these tests, all we hear time and again all over the news is about standardized tests, standardized tests, gotta get those scores up if you want funding, blah, blah, blah.

Plain and simple, we’ve been brainwashed. And for those of us who are honestly awake to the fact that these tests mean nothing more than a way for the school system to label our kids, slap them in a group, and move them down the assembly line, we need to be ever so vigilant. We need to keep our heads clear in order to be the voice the children in this country need.

Children aren’t car parts. They are individuals created by God to serve His purpose.

So the next time you are questioned about your homeschooled children’s abilities, I beg you to rethink it if your standard response is their high test scores.

True learning can’t be defined in this way. It’s defined by their innate curiosity in the world around them and the conversations you have while sitting around the dinner table. It’s evident while you’re listening to your older kids patiently explain something new to a younger sibling. It’s perfectly illustrated as your child excitedly shows you a clutch of frog eggs he’s discovered.

Learning looks different for every. single. child.

But that doesn’t take away its value.

True learning is defined by your child’s output- not by what you put in.

And there is no test that can measure that.



Author: Shelly Sangrey

I'm Shelly, a Christ-following, homeschooling Mom of eleven children ( okay, not ALL children. My oldest is 23.) I met my husband right after graduation, and we've been together ever since. Though my life can be hectic at times... okay, ALL the time, I wouldn't change it for anything.

13 thoughts on “Homeschoolers, Don’t Fall for the Standardized Testing Gimmick!”

  1. It’s a meaningless question anyway, to ask a homeschooler if they are on par with their public schooled peers. One of the points of homeschooling is to educate differently than public schools. That often means homeschooled kids are learning what interests them, plus learning at their own pace. And in the long run it does not matter when every child learns to read (for example). It only matters that they do learn and they’ll enjoy the process more when the timing is right for them. Excellent post as usual, Shelly. 🙌🏻

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I am new to homeschooling, but as I considered how I would go about it, testing is in my plan. When I think about it, it’s quite odd to include it in the plan when I’ve opted to UNSCHOOL!!! How whacked out is my plan? I reasoned with myself that it was in my plan for my own “peace of mind,” and so that I knew he would be at “grade level” should he ever go back into public school. I’m only two weeks into homeschooling, and ready to backtrack on that part of the plan for so many reasons, one of which is that it is really the opposite of what unschooling is all about. I’ve also had to wonder over the past couple of weeks why I would want to test when that is exactly one of my big reasons for exiting the public school system. We would end up just like the teachers: teaching the test. And that is exactly what I don’t want. Thank you for the timely post as I reconsider my own thoughts and plans on this subject!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. More important that thinking about what your children don’t get, is thinking about what they do get. In my opinion, standardised tests have no place in home education. You know yourself if your child is enjoying learning and making progress. You don’t need to compare them to anyone else. That’s the point isn’t it. Let them learn in their own way, and what they are interested in?

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Oh boy do I agree with this! In Alabama we don’t have to test but we are moving to North Carolina where we will have to test.
    My kids are so far advanced than their public school peers..2 grades further.
    We don’t “test” in our school so this is a scary thought to them.
    And why do we have to measure their “success”…everyone is different so success is different for everyone.
    Ugh I hate governmental restrictions and control!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Ugh, the dreaded testing question!! It’s hard not to have that snap answer though, especially when the question is given in a very judge-mental tone. It’s so interesting the faith that people place in a number. Recently, I was having a conversation with some public school teachers and we were discussing the negative aspects of our current school district. BUT – when they found out I homeschooled, they were quick to change their tune and defended the system that they were just putting down!! Beyond testing and crowded class rooms, there are just so many more reasons to homeschool. Some people will just never get it.

    Liked by 1 person

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