Is Testing Homeschoolers Really a Bad Idea?

A recent Washington Post article promotes homeschool testing as a way to tame this huge “sleeping giant”. To ease the fears of public school students and to protect students from “well-meaning but inexperienced parents” It seems the general public wants to put more restrictions on homeschoolers regardless of how successful we are.

The article profiles author, associated professor at Indiana University, and former high school teacher Robert Kunzman and his book “Write These laws on Your Children: Inside the World of Conservative Christian Homeschooling”.

The author was allowed into the homes of six homeschoolers across the country so he could nit pick over their homeschool “shortcomings” and write a book about it. One child counted on his fingers and another family used what appears to be a public school text book approach of reading the chapter, answering the question and taking the test, but he had an issue with that too. After his little test, Kunzman decided:

“Home-schooling regulations are only justified, Kunzman says, when (1) vital interests of children or society are at stake, (2) there is a general consensus on standards for meeting those interests, and (3) there is an effective way to measure whether those standards are met.
Kunzman offers only one possible regulation that meets all three criteria: he thinks home-schoolers, like regular school children, should be tested for basic skills in reading, writing and math.”

Just peachy! Excuse me for being a little cynical but one man’s obviously biased opinion isn’t going to send me running to find a testing center.

This doesn’t mean that I don’t test my children, because I do. My personal approach to homeschooling includes one on one assessments, regular chapter or unit tests, and also (gasp) standardized testing. While this works for me, an anal academic, for unschoolers and their children who are just as successful as those of my ilk, it would be torture! I’m not saying they would not pass the tests, but they would certainly feel violated by being forced to submit to them.

So is testing homeschoolers a really bad idea? It depends on the homeschooler. It is certainly a bad idea though to start drafting oversight legislation based on the opinion of one public educator.


Test Anxiety and the Homeschooler

The Purpose of a Standardized Test

Why My Kids Haven’t Taken a Test Yet