Need a shot in the arm for your homeschool?

Get Thrive Together, a monthly email that brings you:

  • the best of the homeschool blogosphere,
  • current happenings in education-land,
  • and great quotes that will refresh your homeschool mama mind.

Yes, I want Thrive Together!

* indicates required



Recent Posts

Some links on this site are affiliate links. A percentage of qualifying purchases support this site. 

HFC is powered by SiteGround.

Subscribe to our Mailing List

Get the news right in your inbox!

Privacy Policy

Standardized Tests, the SAT, and Other Things Homeschoolers Shouldn’t Care About

Standardized Tests, the SAT, and Other Things Homeschoolers Shouldn’t Care About

“Exactly! That’s just was I’ve been thinking!” I burst as I drove down the highway. My unconcerned kids didn’t hear what Andrew Kern said in my earbuds, but they’re used to verbal eruptions like that when we drive. Maybe I should have been embarrassed, but I don’t care. And that’s the point.

We want classical education to prove itself in the research-based mode and in the utilitarian analysis mode. It will, if we stick to it—by accident. In other words, if you just give your kids a good classical education, they will do really well on SAT scores. To which I say, ‘Who cares?’

Our Misplaced Worry

We care about all kinds of things we shouldn’t, like what the in-laws think of our cooking, “Is lunch both nutritious and delicious?” Or what the neighbors think of our lawn, “What do they say when they see all my dandelions?”

It’s like we’re on the highway driving our dented, thirty-year-old, orange (who paints a car orange?), but paid-off van, when everyone else on the road is cruising by in their sleek black sports cars. Secretly they’re cursing the weight of the car payment, but they’d never let that show. They look disdainfully out their tinted windows as they and their custom hubcaps fly by.

We get self-conscious. “Maybe we could afford that car payment.” Certainly our kids would be less mortified. We worry and overanalyze. We may even fight with our spouse about it. It’s hard to be the guy in the orange van. But it’s the better choice.

We Simply Have Different Aims

I’m a classical homeschooler because I believe the classical model is a lush climate through which any serious student can grow in wisdom, love toward God, and love toward his neighbors.

Classical and other similar forms of homeschooling have the capacity to nurture all of a student’s humanity: the need to discover Truth and develop memory, the need to create and communicate, the need to synthesize faith with experience.

But the culture doesn’t get that. That’s why it has no use for homeschooling, classical or otherwise. When was the last time you heard anyone in public education mutter the word “trivium,” or speak of nurturing a student in wisdom and love toward God through her studies?

When the Culture Holds Too Much Sway

The problem is, even those of us in the classical renewal let our utilitarian culture influence us too much. We fret that our kids won’t get into college or get a good job. Subconsciously, we worry they’ll end up destitute unless we give them a college-preparatory education like ours.

So we succumb to the culture’s demands to evaluate the work our students do everyday. We begin spending time preparing for standardized tests, instead of nurturing our students where they need it most.

But we can’t drive the van and the sports car at the same time. We’ve got to get real and recognize how different our educational approach really is from the rest of the culture. And we need to embrace our plan.

Refocus and Embrace

Think about just three advantages homeschoolers have over their peers in public school:

  • An insanely low student-teacher ratio
  • The ability to go at the student’s pace instead of the pace dictated by the teacher, class, district, state standards, or other outside forces.
  • Time freedom for out-of-school exploration—they’re not tied down to one building for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week and can explore nature, museums, historical sites, local businesses, and more.

Given just these, it would be hard to be a serious homeschooling family and not do well on the SAT and other standardized tests.

If we look under our van’s hood, we see a powerful engine, and unlimited fuel. The hot little sports car sputters and chokes to a stop three miles down the road, right when the driver gets a call saying he’s behind on his payment and underwater. He stubbornly can’t understand why we drive our paid-off orange beast. He still thinks we’re stupid for it. And we look ridiculous.

We may, but we’re flying down the road in our loving, robust vehicle full of character and wisdom.

If we simply focus on where we’re going, success on these tests will come naturally—our kids will have learned far more than what they need to know just to get great scores on their SATs (if they take them).

What are ways you maintain focus on your homeschooling, despite the cultural pressure to focus on test scores?

I’ll leave Mr. Kern the last word.

We need to not look for validation to this world that has no idea what education is…Why would we grovel before them when the whole point of us starting to homeschool and start other schools is because we don’t think they know what they’re doing?…We don’t need validation from those who think what we’re doing is useless.

Rhiannon Kutzer

All posts

No Comments

Leave a Reply

Nice to meet you!

I’m Rhiannon.

You can call me Rhi for short (as in “rejoice”). I’m a fiercely independent homeschooling mom of five, a Navy wife of 13 years, and a creator of various things: articles, a semi-regular newsletter, quilts, furniture, and the occasional knitted scarf. This is the site where I write about our homeschool journey and news and happenings in the homeschool world. more about me.

Rhiannon

Subscribe & Follow

Popular Links

Let’s Thrive Together!

Need a shot in the arm for your homeschool? Get Thrive Together, a monthly email that brings you:

--the best of the homeschool blogosphere,
--current homeschool news,
--and great quotes that will refresh your homeschool mama mind.

Latest Posts

Instagram

  • Happy New Year and all, but more importantly, today we got to watch our @wyo_football win the Arizona Bowl. (With a freshman QB starting for the 1st time ever, btw 😮😮😮💪🏻) Way to go Pokes! #theWorldNeedsMoreCowboys #OneWyoming #GoWyo
  • We always have so much fun doing projects from @artforkidshub #homeschool #trynewthings #watercolor
  • Morning Time Details! E. (12), S. (almost 8), and L. (6). Our Morning Time morphs as the kids grow and change. It usually includes a combination of memory work and reading aloud. We try to cover a WHOLE LOT of things: Shakespeare, Bible, poetry, catechism, hymns, timeline, art study, composer study, and Ambleside selections for nature study, tales, and church history. This term I’m adding Plutarch.
.
The hard part is figuring out where I want to aim, with the 5-year gap between E. and S., and then L. being a newbie to full-on school. Having moved twice in 2019, I nixed MT and just focused on individual work. That came with costs. Shakespeare, Plutarch, art study, and composer study suffered. Memory work barely happened at all. I was BUSY. We missed out on discussing things together. Now that we’re settled, it’s time to restart MT.
.
This term I’ve decided to aim Shakespeare and Plutarch at the oldest, while the girls listen in and do handwriting/drawing/fine motor. I won’t ask them for much narration. Our reading schedule for these is AMBITIOUS. Maybe crazy. Then we’ll do all the memory & read aloud stuff that suits everyone. These lessons are SHORT. Then E. will go do his individual work while I read aloud w/ just the girls.
.
Also, “Morning Time” is a misnomer, considering we break it up throughout the day. It should really be called Morning/Lunch/Nap Time. I need a new name. Circle Time? Except we don’t sit in a circle. Together school? Except we’re together doing school all day. I don’t think English has the word I’m looking for. Maybe Tertulia or Salon?
.
Our actual coursework is: the Scottish Play, Plutarch is Alexander the Great’s life, our artist is Gustave Courbet, composer is Paganini, Bible memory is Psalm 46, Hymn is Jesus, Savior, Pilot Me, read alouds will rotate from Burgess Bird Book, Trial and Triumph, Blue Fairy Book, Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Vanderbeekers, & picture books. Timeline is from Classical Conversations. Poems are Charge of the Light Brigade, Winter Night by Teasdale, and The Land of Nod.
.
Whew! It’s gonna be a fun term! What do you guys do for Morning Time?
  • #homeschool #family #weekend projects. Oldest got through a CPR course, curtains are hung, first batch ever of hard apple cider is bottled (a big learning experience!), and Morning Time for the next term is planned. 👊🏻 Time to call Dominos so these people can get fed 😂
  • Oh Halloween. That day when I pull costumes out of thin air at T-minus one hour ‘till trick-or-treating. Then one kid melts down in the middle of the fun, and is carried screaming to the car, with me hoping all the while that no one thinks I’m abducting a child. And, my favorite non-PC thought: one kid suggests we should have dressed as hobos, since we’re going around asking people to give us free candy. Phoned it in this year, Kutzers. 🤦🏻‍♀️🤷🏻‍♀️ #gladitsover For the record, we had a soccer player, an archer, Spider Girl, a princess, a tiny farmer, a witchy mom (Is that even a costume or just a Thursday?), and Bat Dad.
  • We may not get school started until 8 or 9, but we eat well while we read. “Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, and a life.” I think the house smelling like bacon counts as atmosphere. 😂🥰
.
#homeschool #charlottemasonirl #homecookedmeals #livingbooks

Follow @rhikutzer

Twitter

Find me elsewhere:

×