SAT/ACT and the Homeschooling Mom

by GfG on May 25, 2013 · 5 comments

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HB and I faced a milestone this month: the big standardized college entrance test.  Ugh.

I remember taking the ACT.  I knew it was a kind of a big deal, but didn’t do anything to prepare.  No one even suggested such a thing in 1987.  I don’t know if people took test prep courses back then or not.

Maybe that influenced me as a homeschooling mother.  Maybe I just didn’t want to believe that the ACT or SAT was important.  Maybe I just didn’t think about it.

Then my first born started her junior year.  Egad.

The night before the PSAT, I was nervous.  HB was not.  I fretted.  She did not.   When the results came, we were all thrilled.  She did fabulously.  I was so excited.  Naturally, I shared the news on Facebook.  Didn’t think twice about it.

The night before the SAT, I barely slept.  I cried.  I prayed.

I’m sure many, if not most, parents are nervous for their children as they face the SAT or ACT.  Every parent wants their child to do well, to not feel badly, and to achieve their goal of college admission.  That’s common to all mothers.

The difference for the homeschooling mama is that she feels the weight on her shoulders.  When you are pretty much the only teacher a student has had, well… .

The buck can’t be passed: it stops at our home.

The curriculum can’t be blamed: we chose the curriculum.

The teacher can’t be blamed: well…sure she can.

A homeschooling mama wants her child to feel good about the test, for sure.  That’s half the gig.  The second half is that others will make decisions (good and bad) about the homeschooling kiddo and the mama.

I do NOT believe that standardized tests are a 100% accurate reflection of a person’s intelligence.  I do not believe that they are a 100% reflection of how a student will do in college.  I do not believe they should be given so much importance or emphasis.

Seriously.

And still I cried in bed.  Woke early.  Prayed like crazy.  Distracted myself all morning.

HB was her calm, cool, and collected self.  When we picked her up, she said she felt good about it.  I exhaled for the first half.

Then I took her to Starbuck’s for a treat (naturally, the teacher got one too!).

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While I don’t think the ACT or the SAT are a huge deal, college and our culture do.  And like it or not, people make decisions about a person, their school, and their education based on them.  I hate that.  I really do.

I am purposing to educate my children well.  To give them a solid academic background….BUT I’m striving for so much  more than that.

In our homeschool, I want my children to know about relationships, about family, about serving, about ministering, about sacrifice, about the Bible, about worldview, about what education means, about a love for learning, about themselves, about their culture, about….

And the ACT and SAT don’t test that.

So, while I have to play the system’s game to a degree, if my children want to earn a degree, I refuse to let it define me or my children.

To reflect that, I’m taking a friend’s advice from now on: only the child, mom, dad, and colleges of application will know the test scores.

As soon as that advice was given, it resonated with me.

Choosing to keep test scores private does a few wonderful things:

  • It keeps something private private.
  • It prevents the chance for others to make any kind of assumption based on test scores.
  • It helps the other children in the family from feeling any kind of superiority, pressure, or fear of failure.
  • It helps other people from feeling any kind of superiority, pressure, or competition.
  • It fulfills the actual task of the ACT/SAT: colleges get the information they want.

The more I think about it, the more I believe this is the most honoring way to handle it.

I know that it will irk some people, but I believe choosing to respect privacy and to do what we can to keep stumbling blocks from others is more important.

Keeping the test scores private isn’t a reflection of not loving someone enough, but instead of loving them exceptionally.

Hannah Beth’s scores should arrive any time now.  I’m confident she did well, but I will admit I’m still nervous.

While I still feel pressure and much weight, I now also feel freed.  How delightful is that?

The homeschooling mama faces a pretty big fear when facing the ACT/SAT, but with God’s guidance and grace, she can walk in peace, trusting Him.

She can also bless her child not only by providing a solid academic background, but by extending grace and freedom from allowing the ACT/SAT to define him or her.

May God equip me to do both!

 

 

 

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