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PA Homeschoolers is NO longer able to offer a testing service for homeschoolers
Susan Richman, 2/12/2017

Pennsylvania Homeschoolers is no longer offering ANY group testing services at all. We regret this decision, as I know many found this a terrific way to meet your testing requirements. Time constraints meant we had to give this up-- our PA Homeschoolers AP Online classes and our work with the Pennsylvania Homeschoolers Accreditation Agency programs is indeed taking all of our available time right now. 

I do have some suggestions on ways that families can find another possible testing option: 

Here is what the Pennsylvania Department of Education has posted on their website re/ homeschool testing requirements, and which tests are on their approved list.... 

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Two spring testing locations with PA Homeschoolers-- Indiana PA and West Shore Harrisburg PA
Susan Richman, 2/14/2016

We are pleased to be able to offer two testing dates for homeschooling families this spring: 

Testing Dates and Locations: 

A. Tuesday, March 15, 2016 -- Indiana PA 
B. Wednesday, April 6, 2016 -- Harrisburg Area

Time:  9:30am to 12:00 noon -- NO science and social studies is offered in afternoon

Who can test?? Any homeschooler in grade 3 to 12

Cost per student:  $30 with pre-registration // $35 at the door

Check the LINK to TESTING SERVICE and you'll see all info-- or just head to our online store to register and pay online. Hope to see many of you there!

Remember-- testing is required under the Pennsylvania home education law in grades 3, 5 and 8. Testing is *optional* in other grade levels. Under the changes in the law made in fall of 2014, testing results need to be shown to the *evaluator*, as part of the portfolio for the year, but do NOT need to be turned in directly to the local school district. I feel that evaluators *should affirm* that testing was completed as required, and that these results were included in the portfolio that they reviewed. 

Susan Richman, PA Homeschoolers

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YES! Three November Testing Sites with the TerraNova Achievement Test-- just in WESTERN PA!
Susan Richman, 9/29/2015

Yes, finally here's an UPDATE on our Fall Testing Service! Thanks for your patience, everyone! 

We will *only* be testing in Western PA this fall-- our work with our AP Online classes is taking most of our 'homeschooling time' these days, and so we've needed to scale back our testing services. 

Testing Dates and Locations: 

Thursday November 5, 2015 -- Latrobe PA

Monday November 9, 2015 -- New Castle PA

Tuesday November 10, 2015 -- Altoona PA

Time:  9:30am to 12:00 noon -- NO science and social studies is offered in afternoon

Who can test?? Any homeschooler in grade 3 to 12

Cost per student:  $30 with pre-registration // $35 at the door

Check the LINK to TESTING SERVICE and you'll see all info-- or just head to our online store to register and pay online.... 

 

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Yes! Registration now open for our two Spring Testing Dates! Indiana PA and Harrisburg PA....
Susan Richman, 1/28/2015

We now have information all updated on our two PA Homeschoolers spring testing sites-- we'll be in Indiana PA on Thursday, March 26, 2015 and in the West Shore of Harrisburg on Wednesday, April 29, 2015. We'll be testing students in grades 3 and up. 

Pre-registration (online or via 'snailmail') is just $30 per student if you register before the stated deadlines. 'Walk-in's' on the testing day are also welcome-- fee that day is $35. See full info by clicking on the TESTING SERVICE link.  If you prefer mailing in your registration, the 'directions to testing site' includes a paper registration form to print out....

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YES, PA Homeschoolers *will* be doing FALL TESTING-- online registration coming very soon... but here's the schedule
Susan Richman, 9/5/2014

Yes, Pennsylvania Homeschoolers will indeed once again be offering our Fall Testing services, traveling across the state. This will be our *last* year to travel 'way East' for Fall Testing-- we will continue a few more years with testing in our region of Western PA. 

Online registration for testing will very shortly be ready, but here is the schedule, so that you can make plans for a testing site near to you: 

FALL 2014 TESTING DATES: *all* sites are ‘same location’ as before

Tuesday, October 14, 2014:  NEW CASTLE

Monday, October 20, 2014: GETTYSBURG

Tuesday, October 21, 2014:  LANCASTER

Wednesday, October 22, 2014:  ALLENTOWN

Thursday, October 23, 2014:  KING OF PRUSSIA (north of Philly)

Friday, October 24, 2014:  HARLEYSVILLE (Bucks / Montgomery Co)

Wednesday, October 29, 2014:  ALTOONA

Thursday, October 30, 2014:  WASHINGTON CO / PGH

Thursay, November 6, 2014:  LATROBE (Westmoreland Co)

We will again be using the ....

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Still room for students in September SAT Essay preparation course online through PA Homeschoolers!
Karen Boyd, 8/8/2014

There is still room for more students in my Fall SAT Essay Preparation class. If your student will be taking the SAT this year or in 2015, he or she will be required to write an essay in 25 minutes on a topic given by the College Board.  This can be very intimidating to homeschool students, especially those who have already taken the SAT and scored poorly on the writing section.  Helping students learn what to expect is a significant benefit of the class.   The concepts that we focus on most have broader application than just the SAT.  I  teach the students to write a Thesis Support Essay and encourage analytical writing, and both of these skills will serve them well as they continue their educations.

The class begins on Sept. 1, 2014, lasts four weeks, and ends in time to take the October SAT exam.  However, many students  find it beneficial to take the course several months before they take the SAT.   While September 1st is a holiday, students who register a week before the class begins will get all of the assignments so they can do them ahead of time and take Labor Day off.  Registration ends on Aug. 30,  but if the class fills up it will end sooner. 

Some of you may have heard about the re-design of the College Board SAT exam, including making the essay optional-- however, those change will not take place until spring of 2016, and the essay will be required until then. Help your student be prepared!

We hope this very helpful course will be a good fit for your high school student! 

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PA Homeschoolers FALL TESTING registration now open!
Susan Richman, 8/9/2013

We are once again hosting a series of Fall Testing Sites all across Pennsylvania, using the TerraNova achievement test. Please see full info by clicking here, or on the link above that says 'Testing Service'. The cost is still just $30 per student with pre-registration either online till October 21st, or by check mailed in post-marked October 18, 2013. Note: there is a $3.95 service/handling charge on all online orders. If you prefer to just come to a test site that day and do 'walk-in' registration, the fee is $35 at the door (this $35 fee also applies to online registration after October 21st). 

All testing days start promptly at 9:30am (so plan to arrive by 9:10am!), and we're so grateful to the churches and synagogues that have opened their doors to allow us to offer this service, where homeschoolers can be tested in a comfortable group setting with other homeschoolers.

The testing fee covers all expenses of the testing date, and includes the service of mailing your child's test results to your home directly, within usually 10 days of testing. Students should bring pencils for the testing day -- all other supplies (simple rulers, scratch paper, etc) are provided by us... and if you forget pencils, we'll have extras, too! Students in 5th grade and up can also bring calculators, which can be used for the math word problem section only (this is optional-- calculators are not required). 

Do check out the past articles we've posted here about preparing for testing-- see our right-hand sidebar links. 

Hope to see you at one of our Fall Testing Sites! 

Best wishes,

Susan Richman, Editor PA Homeschoolers

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Indiana PA testing date for March 6th POSTPONED -- new date is Wednesday March 20th!!
Susan Richman, 3/5/2013

Due to forecasts of up to 4 to 8 inches in the region for tomorrow morning, we've decided to *postpone* our testing date in Indiana PA. Our new testing date is Wednesday, March 20, 2013, at the same location, Sovereign Grace Church in Indiana PA. 

Hope to see you there! We have sent an email message to everyone who has already pre-registered for testing, and we've updated the online registration form to reflect our new date-- you can still sign on up! 

Hope everyone enjoys a fun *snow day* tomorrow-- you might want to take a look at this fun set of writings from students from my Homeschool Writing Club about What Homeschoolers Do on a Snow DayEnjoy!

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Still time to register for our next SAT Essay preparation course!
Susan Richman, 1/16/2013

Our online SAT essay writing class prepares students for the on-the-spot essay now included in every College Board SAT exam. These 4-week classes, which precede the October and March test administrations, use the same interactive format that has been so successful in ourAdvanced Placement test preparation classes. Students write, get feedback, and then revise up to five different typical SAT exam essays as they sharpen their writing skills in preparation for the exam. If you register now, you will be signing up for a class which begins on February 4 (2013), which finishes in time to prepare students for the March 9, 2013, exam or later exams.

Karen Boyd, our long-time teacher for our SAT Essay Preparation Class, will be leading the course again this session. Students will use the SAT Study Guide published by the College Board for the course-- all essay topics will be taken from this excellent and comprehensive book. A bonus is that this guide can also be used by your student for self-study for all Critical Reading and Mathematics sections of the SAT also.

Karen Boyd writes in the course description found here:  This is the ninth year, this class has been offered.   Over the years I have observed that many homeschoolers have never written a timed essay. Many more had never written an essay in which they were asked to defend a clear position in writing.  In fact, the idea seemed foreign to them.  This class is designed to introduce students to that.... 

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NEW re-schedule date for Washington/Allegheny County testing: THURSDAY, Nov. 8th-- same location!!!
Susan Richman, 10/30/2012

We are so grateful that the wonderful Venice Presbyterian Church in McDonald PA in Washington County (see our 'TESTING SERVICE' link above for directions to the site) is able to host our re-scheduled FALL TESTING DAY next *Thursday*, November 8th. Same time, same location as always. We'll start testing promptly at 9:30am.... so aim to arrive by 9:15am (9:00am if you are planning to 'register at the door' -- just $35 per student), so that we can get start promptly. 

I hear that the local homeschool group meets at the church on *Wednesday*, and the (wonderful!) secretary mentioned that the group could probably help in setting up the needed tables in the social hall that afternoon. THANKS in advance for helping out in this way!

Look forward to seeing everyone at this testing site, and hope all of you are safe and dry-- even though the storm was not as terrible as it might have been out here in Western PA, I know this was the right decision to re-schedule. 

Please 'spread the word' to your homeschool groups about this NEW testing date! Thanks so much!

Susan Richman

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Hurricane Sandy-- POSTPONING our Fall Testing set for Tuesday October 30th in Washington County PA!!! More info...
Susan Richman, 10/29/2012

Due to the weather forecast of very strong winds and possibly heavy rain tomorrow morning, and the very real possibility of major power outages in the region, we've now made the decision to POSTPONE our scheduled Fall Testing Day set for Washington County (serving Allegheny County and all surrounding areas also). Testing was scheduled for the Venice Presbyterian Church in McDonald PA (Cecil Township). 

We have been in touch with church staff, and are working to set up a suitable NEW DATE for Fall Testing at this same (wonderful!) location. Hopefully by tomorrow or Wednesday (October 31st) we will have a new date set-- my hope is to be able to reschedule for either Wednesday November 7th or Thursday November 8th. We will post here, and email everyone already registered for testing at this site, as well as getting info out on various homeschool email lists just as soon as we have a definite reschedule date. 

THANKS for your understanding-- know that our biggest concern is safety and well-being, for you and your children. I also  think many children could feel very distracted by the unsettled weather and not be ready to focus on achievement testing. 

As always, families are VERY welcome to 'register at the door' for testing-- again, just check back here to find out about the new date. 

Praying for everyone's safety in the storm-- and especially for all homeschooling families right in the path of the hurricane. 

Susan Richman

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You can still register online for our FALL TESTING SERVICE.... or just 'register at the door!
Susan Richman, 10/21/2012

Our 'early bird' registration for our TerraNova Achievement Testing is completed now, but you can still register online at the $35 per student rate. OR just 'register at the door' at the test site most convenient for you-- see our full schedule of testing sites at the link above. 

Looking forward to seeing you and your kids at one of our testing sites! 

Remember-- we can test any level from 3rd grade to 12th grade (NO 1st or 2nd grade testing). 

Here's all you need to bring on the testing day:  pencils (though we have some if you forget!). We'll supply everything else-- the testing booklet / answer sheet, scratch paper, simple ruler.

It is OPTIONAL to bring a CALCULATOR for your 5th grader or up student-- the test proctor will let your child know when it can be used. 

Looking forward to seeing you soon! 

Sincerely,

Susan and Howard Richman

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Fall Testing schedule now updated!! Open for any homeschool students, 3rd-12th grade
Susan Richman, 8/20/2012

We are once again hosting a series of Fall Testing Sites all across Pennsylvania, using the TerraNova achievement test. Please see full info byclicking here, or on the link above that says 'Testing Service'. The cost is still just $30 per student with pre-registration either online or by check mailed in. Note: there is a $3.95 service/handling charge on all online orders. If you prefer to just come to a test site that day, the fee is $35 at the door. 

All testing days start promptly at 9:30am (so plan to arrive by 9:10am!), and we're so grateful to the churches and synagogues that have opened their doors to allow us to offer this service, where homeschoolers can be tested in a comfortable group setting with other homeschoolers.

The testing fee covers all expenses of the testing date, and includes the service of mailing your child's test results to your home directly within usually 10 days of testing. Students should bring pencils for the testing day -- all other supplies (simple rulers, scratch paper, etc) are provided by us... and if you forget pencils, we'll have extras, too! 

Do check out the past articles we've posted here about preparing for testing-- see our right-hand sidebar links. 

Hope to see you at one of our Fall Testing Sites! 

Best wishes,

Susan Richman, Editor PA Homeschoolers

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Registration now open for our 3 spring testing sites in PA-- Kittanning PA, Indiana PA, and Harrisburg area
Susan Richman, 2/14/2012

You can now register online (or print out a registration form) for our three Spring Testing Sites in Pennsylvania. Just click on the Testing Services link at the top of this page-- or just click here. You'll see we'll be testing at the following locations: 

Online registration fee is still just $30 per student (PLUS a handling fee of $3.95 per total order). You can also 'come at the door' for $35 per student. 
Here are some simple ideas to help make your testing day with us go smoothly, and help your children know what to expect: 

 

1) Discuss test taking manners-- such as being very quiet and polite during the whole morning, especially while directions are being read. Silence is expected during the timed portions of the test, although students can raise their hands to ask questions if necessary. Students need to be able to read silently rather than orally, so as not to disturb other students.

 

2) Let your child know he can *not* ask questions such as “I can’t read this word-- can you tell me what it is, please?” or “I don’t understand how to do this math problem-- can you help me?” This is a test to see how well your child can do on these tasks without any help....

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Sign up now for our SAT Essay Writing course-- 4 weeks... and you'll be ready for the March SAT!
Karen Boyd, 1/29/2012

Editor's Note from Susan: We are so grateful to master teacher Karen Boyd for continuing to offer her very valuable SAT Essay Writing class. Designed for high school students planning on taking the College Board SAT this March. 

It’s not too late to register your high school student for my four-week class on writing the SAT Essay.  This class helps students prepare for the essay portion of the March SAT, however students who will be taking the SAT at future dates are encouraged to join us.  

 

Students from coast to coast and from four continents have found this class to be helpful in many ways.   First, it provides practice and guidance in writing a timed essay.  Many students report that it helped them feel confident about taking the SAT.    The class provides accountability and other people to comment on their writing.  While it focuses on the SAT Essay, many of the skills can be applied to other writing, such as the need for organization and a clear thesis.   Finally, the students learn to think about their own writing in new ways as they interact with the other students in the class. 

 

The class begins on February 6 and continues into the beginning of March.    The registration deadline is January 31.  The class requires a text book -- the College Board SAT Study Guide--  that is needed on the first day, so either register early and order from pahomeschoolers.com , or plan to buy your own copy before the class begins.

 

For more information go to the Online Store link above-- and then to "Online Classes" and then “Online SAT classes.” 

 

Thanks,

Karen Boyd

 

Comments from former students

“This class was very helpful to me.  First of all, it made me sit down and actually practice writing essays.  Second, it was good to have someone read my essays, grade them, and tell me what was good and what was not.  Also, I liked seeing what the other students wrote to see how I did in comparison.”

 

“I just want to say thank you to you, Mrs. Boyd, for teaching this class!  It helped me a lot, and now....

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Confessions of a Homeschool Mom Regarding Achievement Testing
Patti T., 1/27/2012

Editor's Note from Susan Richman: Often when I talk to families about how their kids did on achievement tests, I have a special question I ask-- it's "What is your child reading independently-- and does he enjoyreading.... or need to be 'nudged' to tackle a book?"  I've found, over many years of informally asking this of parents, that a pattern has emerged-- those kids who read widely, and have a lot of personalchoice over what to read, generally do great on achievement tests. Those kids who don't read much at all beyond their required homeschooling studies or texts, and who clearly don't like to read, generally don't fare so well. Doing things that are 'like' achievement tests on a daily basis does not seem to be the key factor -- though definitely familiarity with testing formats is a great help, and I certainly recommend some focused 'test prep'. But I've met kids who have *only* done 'comprehension questions' during the time the family is helping them get ready for standardized testing-- at all other times, the child simply readsand enjoys and talks about his reading informally with his parents every now and then... and these kids generally do just fine when the scores come in. This general trend was shown again in the experience thatPatti T. describes so well in this touching piece-- I hope it is a good encouragement to all other families facing the 'dreaded' 3rd grade testing experience! 

I have been homeschooling my son since he was in kindergarten.  As we went through our first few years, I had this gnawing feeling about third grade. I knew that was the year we would encounter achievement testing.  I knew in my heart I was doing my best to make sure my son was learning and thriving in homeschool, but to have “THE TEST” prove or disprove this point was a little scary for me.  OK, very scary!!!! So I was on a mission to be prepared!!!!

I purchased the sample test material from PA Homeschoolers for his appropriate grade.  I was glad I did because after the test my son remarked, “The test was just like the one we did at home.”  I was glad he felt comfortable from having done the practice tests.

In addition, I combed the PA Homeschoolers website, in the months prior to the test, for any information regarding achievement test taking.  I am thankful for the resources I found to help me prepare my son and myself.  They really put my mind at ease and helped me to keep the whole test experience relatively stress free.  Knowing the test results were not the soul benchmark for how our homeschooling was progressing was the biggest relief!

I remained optimistic waiting for the test scores.  When I received them, I could hardly believe my eyes.  My son did very well on the test.   All of the prep work we did helped, but the biggest preparation was something we had been doing his whole life.  We instilled a love of books and reading in our son. 

My son is an avid reader.  It is not uncommon for us to walk out of the library every other week with 30+ books, and he reads every one of them.  I let him pick whatever books he wants, even if they are his old favorites like Henry and Mudge or Mr. Putter and Taby.  He likes to read graphic novels such as Stone RabbitLunch Lady, and Tiny Titans.  Yes, he also likes Captain Underpants as well.  I let him read those books and trade off with books I have selected that are a little more appropriate for his age.  I think the reason he loves to read is because he has the freedom to explore and choose the books that interest him.  He isn’t just forced to read the material assigned by me for school.  His love for reading is the biggest factor as to why he did so well on the reading and language arts portion of the test, so I am told.

Now, interestingly, I should mention at this point that I have a rather unique visual impairment that makes it challenging for me to read without the assistance of visual aids.  I developed this issue......

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Registration now open for our Fall Testing Service!
Susan Richman, 8/16/2011

Susan and Howard Richman have been offering a Fall Testing Service since the homeschooling law in Pennsylvania was enacted in 1988, helping families to meet the testing requirements for 3rd, 5th, and 8th grade testing in a 'homeschool friendly' setting at regional churches or synagogues. They also welcome students in other 'non-testing' years, 4th grade thru 12th grade, as many families like to make testing a routine part of each school year. 

We are very pleased to announce you can now register online or by mail for our upcoming Fall Testing Service. We'll once again be using the TerraNova nationally normed achievement test. Morning testing will coverreading, language arts, and mathematics, and we will again offer optional afternoon testing on science andsocial studies. 

drawing from testing day.JPG

    A delightful drawing done by a 3rd grader at one of our testing days-- it now hangs on my wall!

You can click on the TESTING SERVICE link above -- or just click right here

We also recommend that you consider using the Scoring High testing preparation practice books in our online store to help you guide your child in being well-prepared. 

Further, take a look at the various archived articles right here on our website, on ways to help your child feel ready for testing experiences-- we have lots available! You'll find ideas on how to ease test worries (for both mom and student!), how to see what areas of readiness you have some control over, what to do if your child might not score as well as hoped, links to resources for science and social studies testing, and much more. And if you might have some further areas you'd like to see us cover, do post your comments and thoughts below. 

The 'early bird' pre-registration fee of $30 per student (*plus* a $3.95 handling fee on the whole order) is applicable through October 10, 2011....

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Fall Testing Registration fee goes up to $35 per student on October 8th online-- sign up now :-)....AND free helps for the Science and Social Studies sections!
Susan Richman, 10/6/2010

On October 8th, the Fall Testing registration fee goes up to $35 per student-- so we hope you can remember to register *now* and get in on the $30 rate :-). We look forward to seeing each of you at one of our testing sites-- check the 'map' in the testing section of the our site to see all the varied locations.

And for ideas on how to approach testing and help your child feel comfortable and ready, do check out the articles in our 'archive' on testing. And remember, we do have 'Scoring High' test preparation books for all levels (book 1-8), and many kids find these a great help in gearing up for standardized testing.

Many parents wonder just what they need to *bring* with them to the testing day. We provide the testing materials (of course :-) ), scratch paper, and a cardboard ruler for the math section. We also have plenty of extra pencils, though most kids prefer bringing their own (any #2 pencil is fine). If your child is 5th grade and up, they are welcome to bring a *calculator* for the math problem solving (word problem) section-- this is NOT required, and no problem requires a calculator, but they are *allowed*. We do not provide any calculators for student use. Many kids appreciate having a quick and non-messy *snack* or water bottle with them for the breaks between testing sections.

Many wonder about taking the Science and Social Studies subtests, something we offer as a *option* for famlies. First, you do not need to let us know in advance if you plan to stay on for the afternoon science and social studies sections-- and you can even decide that day if you want to stay on.

There is no special preparation exercises in the 'Scoring High' books for these subtests-- and I know many wonder just what types of questions are included. Fortunately, there are many great links online...

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Testing Questions-- what if my child doesn't do well??? what then??
Susan Richman, 9/22/2010

Susan Richman is the longtime editor of Pennsylvania Homeschoolers, and the mom of four now-grown homeschoolers, and grandma of four. She's worked as an evaluator since the very first year of the PA homeschool law in 1988, working with a wide range of homeschooling families with all types of approaches to learning. She's been testing 3rd graders in small group situations since 1988, and has talked with countless parents about their child's reactions to testing. She also leads a very popular AP US History online course with homeschoolers across the nation, and is a member of the Board of Directors of PHAA, the PA Homeschoolers Accreditation Agency.

As our PA Homeschoolers Fall Testing Service is gearing up for mid-October through mid-November, I'm starting to get more questions from homeschool moms about what to expect, and how to prepare their children. One question came up today on what to do if a child scores poorly-- especially a child who may indeed be a bit behind typical grade level expectations. Will families have to be braced for 'trouble' from their school districts? Will they be in danger of not being allowed to continue homeschooling? What have other parents in this situation found in the many years of the current homeschool law? I'll aim to answer all these questions here-- and I'd love to hear comments from families facing this issue, sharing what you've experienced.

First, yes, some homeschooled children do not fare well on formal academic testing. I know, I know.... we've all seen the studies of how very *well* homeschool kids tend to do compared to students in public schools-- and our results from our large testing service also back up these general statistics. BUT that doesn't mean that all homeschool kids ace achievement tests. My previous articles on thinking about standardized testing (see our archive) talk about the range of reasons why a particular child might not do well on a particular test on a particular day. All that said, some kids just will *always* find it very challenging to take these tests-- and some kids are indeed working at a slower pace than the norm. Some may have some learning deficits or difficulties or challenges that make typical studies daunting, to say the least. Some may have true difficulty in learning to read, making these types of reading-dependent tests almost impossible....

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Our Fall Testing Schedule is now up online-- ready for you to register!
Susan Richman, 8/4/2010

We now have our annual PA Homeschoolers Fall Testing Schedule up online here on our site-- just click the link above and you'll get to all the info. We hope we can serve you with this comfortable way to meet this testing requirement. My husband Howard and I have years and years of experience testing groups of homeschoolers in PA, and testing days run smoothly and we make every effort to run a professional day where parents and children feel very welcome. 

Remember, homeschoolers in 3rd, 5th, and 8th grade need to take an achievement test from the list established by the PA Dept of Education-- the TerraNova test that we use in our testing service is indeed on this list, and our Fall Testing meets all testing requirements for the year. No need for testing in the spring if you take part in our Fall Testing days.

Also do check out some of the past articles....

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Mega Study Tips Link-- including a link to a PA homeschool dad's blogsite!
Susan Richman, 7/6/2010

I just received a nice email tonight from Cate Newton, a woman who works with the very interesting website www.GuideToOnLineSchools.com -- this site covers info on colleges that offer online courses and degrees, and a whole lot more. Cate had noticed our articles here on test taking skills, and thought our readers might be interested in their compilation of the very best 'study skills' and test-taking strategy sites online from various colleges. I was impressed with the links-- and these ideas are from major universities such as Penn State University, Cornell University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, James Madison University, Dartmouth College, and many, many more-- and there are also article links to the College Board, news magazines, and therapists who helps clients deal with test anxiety, and more. It's a treasure trove-- I think all homeschoolers with high school kids will find something very useful here. Cate wrote:

My interest in study skills sparked an article we just published on our website, Guide to Online Schools, here: http://www.guidetoonlineschools.com/tips-and-tools/study-help . I noticed that there was an absence of quality resources for students, especially in the realm of study guides. So we found the best note-taking, test anxiety and general study tips resources on the internet and compiled them into an all in one, easy to navigate article. The article would be a great addition to your resources. I hope that you and your students find the resources helpful. Let me know what you think.

I was really delighted when one of the links in this huge compilation was to the blogsite of Dennis Jerz, an associate professor in the English department at Seton Hill University in Greensburg PA-- because just yesterday I'd met with his wife and 6th grade son for their homeschooling evaluations!....

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More on Testing Preparation-- how do our KIDS view the testing situation?
Susan Richman, 3/31/2010

Susan Richman is the co-editor of PA Homeschoolers and a homeschooling evaluator in Pennsylvania. She regularly tests children in PA to help families meet the testing requirements of the PA homeschool law, administering both the Terra Nova achievemet test in group situations, and the Woodcock-Johnson Individual Achievement Test for students who need a one-on-one testing situation. She also leads AP US History online with homeschool students all across the US, and helps these kids learn to handle the high-stress AP exam situation.

Back to our on-going discussion of helping our kids feel reading and comfortable with standardized testing. We've discussed so far the first factors that can have an impact on testing: demographics, physical environment for testing, and the parents' view of the testing situation. Now on to how our KIDS view testing requirements. Here are some things you may want to ask yourself:

  • Does my child understand why we're doing testing? Have I communicated with me child about testing requirements of our homeschool law or regulations? I'd suggest being 'matter-of-fact' about testing requirements-- that it's something we need to do, and so we're doing it. And we're going to also use it to help *us* gain some insight into how things are going, and to just gain experience with this sort of testing. Know that some kids get really worried about standardized testing-- they view it as an 'all or nothing' sort of affair....

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More Thoughts on Helping your Kids be Ready for Testing…. How parents’ attitudes can make a difference….
Susan Richman, 3/8/2010

Susan Richman is the editor of PA Homeschoolers, and has been doing group and individual testing with homeschool students for over 20 years. She's also helped all four of her own children approach testing with a positive attitude, from the required 3rd, 5th, and 8th grade testing in PA, to the SAT exam and Advanced Placement tests.

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In my last posting about getting ready for testing, I listed the six variables of testing that can make a difference in your child’s ability to really demonstrate what they know on testing day. Today we’re going to look at how our attitudes as parents towards testing requirements can be key—and how we might be able to adjust these attitudes in a positive direction.

I’ve met hundreds and hundreds of parents at our testing sites over the last 20 years, and have seen lots of different attitudes. I’m going to imagine here a couple of ‘composite moms’. First I’ll give you a highly upbeat scenario—and then a practically full-blown panic attack scenario. Most of us probably fall somewhere in between these extremes—but thought this might give us a good way to tackle this topic, and see things with some greater perspective....

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Getting ready for Achievement Testing??? What can we do to help our kids be prepared?
Susan Richman, 3/4/2010

Susan Richman is editor of Pennsylvania Homeschoolers and mother of four homeschool grads. She also does all the 3rd grade testing during our Fall Testing Service as well as our smaller Spring Testing Service for homeschoolers.

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(7th grade portfolio cover page for our son Jesse-- who's now 32 and the father of four!)

So, is it time for achievement testing for your kids? Many families do achievement testing with their kids in the spring-- for many, it's part of a state law requirement. For instance, in PA homeschool kids need to take a nationally normed standardized test in 3rd, 5th, and 8th grades. In some states it's every year-- in some states it's an optional thing that many parents just like to do for their own information and sense of well-being. Regardless of why we are having our kids tested, most of us want  our kids to have a fair chance at doing their best. So let's think about how we can do this.

First, I think it's handy to realize what the variables are, so we can see what we might have some *control* over when thinking about standardized testing. One website I looked at years ago had the following list of key variables that all impact how a child does on a specific test, and I've found these categories very helpful:

  • Demographics
  • Physical environment for testing
  • Attitudes of teachers and students toward the testing program
  • Student's test taking skills
  • Alignment of the curriculum content with the test content
  • Quality of the instructional program

Now, this list was looking at kids in schools, but I think this can be a great start in thinking about how we can deal with testing effectively, too. We'll cover the first two in today's posting-- look back here every few days to see discussion of the rest....

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