Ca standardized test prep at {Home}

I am one of those homeschoolers who doesn't put much stock in standardized testing.  I am not a fan of the large amounts of time public schools now spend studying to pass the tests.  I am not a fan of cutting out subjects such as art, History, Science, music- that will not be tested that year.  I am not a fan of some of the hard to understand questions on the tests, or of having to pick the more right "politically correct" answer from 2 or 3 possibly correct answers.  I also think it is hard to measure learning, there are so many variables that go into the equation- how much of the curriculum was covered before testing? Did the teacher branch out deeper into some subjects but missed others?  Were many of the kids sick that year, or did they arrive in the classroom already behind?

So, yes, I disagree with the mania and emphasis and carrot/stick application of the No Child Left Behind act.

And yet, my kids will need to be tested.  Yes, they will be taking the SAT's in highschool.  We homeschool using a public Charter School program that is made up entirely of homeschool families.  We do have to test every year because we use a charter school.  My approach has been to downplay the whole thing, and just show up on testing day with some yummy snacks.  Yeah, that's it.

Until this year, that is.  Last year, Meg scored very high on her standardized tests.  And yes, it went to my head a bit, and made me feel really good, I admit it.  Not that we did anything different, we did not prepare for testing at all.  She just did really well.

And it went to my head. I already mentioned that part, yes?  I liked how it felt.  I liked that I had concrete proof of their learning and retention.  So, with all that, I decided to do it a bit different this year, and study a bit for testing.

We are casually, going through these workbooks, starting at the beginning of February:

Spectrum California Test Prep grade 4

Spectrum California Test Prep grade 6

(I found a lack of materials for test prep for High School...)

Daily Warm Ups: Language Skills grade 4

Flash Kids Language Arts test prep grade 8 (the highest level I could find for Josie-grade 9)

9th+ Grade Use it! Don't Lose it! Daily Language practice (for Meg, grade 11)

I am surprised to find I am enjoying working slowly through these books with the kids.  In the past, when I've glanced through these sort of books, I've turned up my nose, because there is no teaching helps or explanations for the questions and subjects. But, I am finding that I am totally capable of explaining the concepts as we move through them.  I like that I am pushed to address some skills that we are not covering, it's good to be stretched some, yes?

How about you?  Do you *Homeschool parents and also *public school parents- do any special prepping for testing season?Are you a public school parent who afterschools some?  Please share your wisdom :)