Quote Originally Posted by Tawny W View Post
So if I wait on grammer, spelling, and reading comprehension when should we start that? I know that my kids need to take a state test in 3rd, 5th, 7th and 10th. I'm not quite sure what they are going to be tested on but I do know that reading comprehension is on the test. Will they gain enough reading comprehension skills by reading and being read to?
Aside from FIAR & MadLibs we didn't do any formal grammar until one was in 4th & the other in 6th. They blew through the work pretty quickly to be honest. I've never done reading comprehension beyond having my child read a book & tell me about it. We've never done anything more formal then that. I have one who will read & give us every last detail, even at 16, about what he's read. The other may need a few questions to get him rolling. Spelling was something we added in around 4th for our eldest, dropped until he got his VPD diagnosis & filters & then began again. I dropped it prior to that because he couldn't see to actually grasp what he was doing. It is the #1 area he's likely not up to par on with his peers.

When I was a new homeschooler I read Kathy Duff's, then, Top 100 choices. In fact it's how I found FIAR. One thing she stated in that book has stuck with me for years: "You can choose to teach for the tests or you can choose to teach your children." Her stance was that if you taught for the tests you may not love what you're doing & there's a chance your children won't. Or, you can homeschool like you would if you didn't have tests & not stress over the results. We don't live in a place where testing is mandatory so it's never been a choice we've had to make.

Having said that, I think knowing how to take a test is important. I have had my children take some with a variety of different ways to answer questions. In fact by 7th or so we work weekly quizzes in there somewhere just to get them use to the idea that they are a part of life. I have one who use to freak out about tests & one who use to love them. The freaker has calmed & realised that he knows the answers it's just a matter of putting them down.

Honestly, I don't know that adding in tons of extra things is really going to help your children pass tests or not. If you're super stressed about what their peers are learning you could pick up the book by Rebecca Rupp called Home Learning Year By Year. I kept that one at hand often in the younger years & made some of the benchmarks nothing more then dinner conversation to be sure my kids knew the info. Then we'd just tick it off the list & move forward. Again, though, I didn't have the mandate of testing over my head.

Just keep in mind you have a year until testing is mandatory for one. That's a lot of time you can relax & enjoy yourself & as you near the test if you're really worried about it you could obtain practice tests to use as trivia or discussion points to see how he does & what areas you might want to spend a couple of weeks working on prior to going into the testing.