5 Tips To Help Homeschoolers Excel On Tests


5 Tips To Help Homeschoolers Excel On Tests

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March 12, 2009

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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 promotion too.  

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 their books.

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 test scores.


Special offer from HowToLearn.com
$20 off their “Instant Learning For Amazing Grades” eBook.
Discount Code: Homeschooling

Click here to order.