Because we homeschool in Pennsylvania and T was the age of a typical third-grader this past academic year, I had to administer a standard achievement test and submit the results as part of our portfolio for the school district.
Because he is in a class of one, this was our first test of any kind. Tests are typically used to assess comprehension and mastery. If you have a class of one and are not sure whether a subject has been covered throroughly or whether your student grasps the concept, there is something drastically wrong.
Because a big part of my decision to homeschool has to do with being in-tune with the individual and remaining mindful/aware of my children's developmental readiness to handle/perform various tasks, we are following a delayed academic plan. In other words, I'm not concerned with whether they are learning in parallel with their age-peers, just with whether they are making healthy progress.
In other words, we did the test because we had to. And although I was curious (and a bit nervous) about the results, I am not putting undue weight on them. I am aware of what we've covered and what remains to be covered. I know what he "gets". I know what he still needs help with.
But we did the test. And today we received the results.
And he asked to see them.
I was concerned about that. I don't want him to tie his self-worth to a score (like, ahem, his mother did and took decades to let go of). I didn't want learning to become performance-driven, and I didn't want him to be discouraged.
But he wanted to know. So I opened the envelope and we reviewed the results together.
As I knew before we started the test, and as I confirmed during the testing, he was all over the map. Some areas, he was well above average. Some areas, we hadn't covered at all and he guessed with confidence but kind of bombed anyway. The overall score was a nice solid "average".
I couched the results in protective, explanatory language. "Remember, this is the part I said not to worry about because we never did that..."
Because my son? My beautiful, joyful, innocent, enthusiastic, well-adjusted, confident son...cheered. And did a happy little dance. And with sparkling eyes, announced, "I did GREAT, Mom!!"
Yes. Yes, you did.