We live in a test-crazy world and for many
homeschoolers, the test-taking season is upon us. Many of you know Pat Wyman,
affectionately known as "America's Most Trusted Learning Expert." We have
interviewed Pat several times as part of our homeschooling Teleconferences, so
we thought we'd ask Pat if she had some easy-to-implement tips that could help
homeschoolers do well on any state tests that they may be required to take.
Pat said, "You can give a better learning and testing
foundation by treating your children to the inner 'how to' of test-taking, so
they're prepared for any type of test. "
Why? Some states mandate annual tests -- reading,
spelling and math testing is always in the mix – and your child has to pass
their driver's license test, and of course, if your child applies to college,
tests go on for many years.
Plus, great test-takers have an advantage in the
ever-changing work world. Life-long tests are a part of licensing and credential
programs of any type, and your child may need to pass a test for a work
5 Great Tips
to Help Your Child Do Well on Tests
1. Tests generally involve reading, so help your child be
a great reader, before taking any test. Besides the usual preparation, listen
to your child read aloud, and continue doing this several times each year.
Check for any of the following to uncover hidden
visual/perceptual problems that may hinder reading success: skipping lines,
losing place, not noticing punctuation, adding a word from the line above or
below into the current line, changing the order of letters in words, or getting
tired quickly when reading.
These can all be signs that your child doesn't see the
printed page the way you do, or is using far more energy than necessary to read
The Tip: Dig deeper than a diagnostic test, giving
you only a grade level score. You want to cure the cause. Look online for a
developmental optometrist to find the underlying reason for reading problems.
These doctors specialize in reading and learning.
In addition, you can help your child be a great reader by
turning the print into movies in their mind, speeding recall during any test.
2. Make sure your child's personal learning style matches
the testing format, if you really want to see better test scores. If your child
thinks in pictures, and is a visual learner, there's a match, increasing the
odds of much higher scores.
If your child is auditory and learns best by listening, or
kinesthetic, and moves around a lot, there is no match between their learning
style and a written test.
The Tip: Add some visual learning strategies, like
looking up, above eye-level, and have your child make a mental movie out of
everything they read to boost memory, and ultimately, scores on a test.
3. Is your child's diet affecting behavior and test
scores? Food and learning go hand in hand. The experts say eating protein
keeps blood sugar levels more stable throughout the day. Studies frequently
show that kids who eat a great breakfast, stay more focused and really do get
better test scores. The same is true for adults.
The Tip: Nix most of the sugar, add more nuts,
lean meats, fish or beans to your child's diet after a quick talk with your
child's pediatrician to make sure your child can eat these high protein foods.
4. Have you ever asked how your child 'feels' when they
read, or write? Kids really do love to learn, as long as it isn't painful. Get
to the bottom of anything that makes learning uncomfortable, before thinking
your child isn't unmotivated.
Many kids get labeled as slow learners, learning
disordered, ADHD or worse, all because no one knows why learning and test-taking
is hard for them. Spend some quality time with your child, and keep asking how
they feel about what they're doing. You'll be amazed at what you can uncover.
The Tip: Rule out learning problems, speech and
language disorders, health concerns, eye and vision issues, etc., just by asking
the right expert to test your child.
Ask other parents in your community about books, and
references to learning and diagnostic experts so you know for certain if
anything is in hindering your child's learning and test-taking success.
5. What about sleep? Is your child getting enough? Lack
of sleep can cause a whole set of learning and even behavior problems. Ask your
child how he sleeps, and if you don't like what you hear or see, keep a diary of
your child's bedtime and sleep habits.
The Tip: Ask your child's pediatrician if sleep
studies can help your child get a better night's rest, and keep your child more
focused on any new learning or any test.
These 5 unique tips will go a long way to removing
roadblocks to your child's success and definitely help your child get better
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