Our children’s biggest concern is never in taking the actual tests, but in letting us down. They are anxious about not hitting the mark. Wow! Interestingly, these ideas are completely of their own making. We, as their parents, have been very clear about this having no bearing on their grades, their advancement, or our relationship with them. This is simply a test to see how well I do as their teacher. This is more a testing of my own ability and our current resources, than of their skill.
To help ease the apprehension, we took a few important steps to make testing run more smoothly:
Prepare – Before you start accusing me of ‘teaching to the test’, this is not what I mean by prepare. The night before a big test, we make sure to set out the items they are going to need for the following day. This reduces the list of things needing to be done before heading out the door and helps ease their mind from details which plague their overactive brains. (They get this from their mother; poor things!) They set all of their necessary items in one spot, making their morning run more efficiently.
A Good Night’s Rest – If at all possible, we make sure all of the kids get to bed at a reasonable hour. When the house is quiet, the test takers are able to relax and get a better night’s sleep. If they are particularly nervous, we attempt to tire them out with some running around beforehand. A good night of sleep is always a good idea.
Shower Power – Hitting the showers first thing in the morning is a plus. Usually they takes their showers at night, but recently we’ve switched to mornings and this seems to be helping them start the day off on a better foot.
Breakfast of Champions – Unlike most parents, I allow my children to choose whether or not to eat a large breakfast. While most people consider breakfast essential, I understand, from experience, that eating while nervous is not always a good thing. I trust their judgement to know if this is the best option. They will have plenty of opportunity to snack during breaks.
Packing Preferences – I try to let our children pick which snacks they would prefer for the day or tell me which they want brought along. Knowing their favorite comfort food is waiting during break times really helps.
Power of Prayer – As much as we’ve drilled into their brain that these tests are just a formality (required by our PSP and an assessment for mom), it is a must to pray with them before they actually walk into the testing room. Prayer helps them to remember they are not alone and refocuses their mindset. This isn’t about how great they are going to perform, but doing their best for the glory of God.
Constant Reassurance – Whenever they step out to take a break, I make sure to smile and let them know they’re loved. (Yes; I stay on campus, even though I could leave.) I reassure them of my affection and once again remind them there this is nothing to worry about. We discuss how they feel things are going so far and answer any questions they might have.
Test taking is never a fun experience, unless you are testing out chocolate, but, with a little care, it can certainly be less stressful.
Am I worried about the results? Not at all! Again, this isn’t a pass or fail; this isn’t about meeting someone else’s standards. This is about discovering areas which might need a little strengthening and perhaps adjusting our routine to better meet their growing needs.
🔔Time to Chime In: Is it SAT season in your neck of the woods?