Today is Finals day in our homeschool.
Through a process of trial and error, we have learned that regular weekly testing in most subjects isn't required to understand where our kids are at educationally. Tests seem to put undue pressure on them to cram, when the fact of the matter is, I'm with them each day and I already know what they have grasped and what they have not grasped.
When there is an area of importance that they haven't latched onto, I find that a test just makes them feel worse about that and instead, it's best to just review the topics again and sometimes in other ways that might better help them understand.
But once a year, I like to do Final Exams.
You may think I'm sick or mean or whatever (depending on your own view of final exams), but the difference between my final exams and those administered in other schools is that they do not indicate pass or fail. My finals are about documenting -- on paper -- where the kids are at in a particular subject area. I find that it's useful to compare from one year to the next their growth. And it's also helpful for them to see that all their hours in homeschool have not been for nothing. There's nothing like a test to show them they are learning and growing as a result of countless hours of reading, study and lessons they've endured.
It still seems to put pressure on the kids, which is the part that's difficult for me to see. Of course, I don't want to be the cause of stress in their lives (though often, for a variety of reasons, I am). But I do know that without occasional stress of challenge, they will not learn to cope with the various stresses that are inevitable in our lives.
In this way, no matter how much they document on paper that they know, the process of final exams is yet another learning process for their lives.
And isn't that what we, as parents, are challenged to do with our children (homeschooling or not)? Teach them to learn what they can in all circumstances? And if we're lucky, they'll learn to love the process of learning.
Let the testing begin...