Test Days

"The LORD trieth the righteous" (Psalm 11:5a).

Test days brought varying responses from my homeschooled children. My oldest daughter was ready to tackle whatever was thrown at her with aggressive confidence. My oldest son faced his tests pensively and held a quiet, inner confidence as he matched his knowledge against the written questions. With the fearful apprehension of a person facing the gallows, my youngest daughter dreaded the challenge, and my youngest son just shrugged off the pressure and simply gave tests his best shot. Surprisingly, test days not only revealed what my children knew academically, but they also revealed their character.

The tests in life also have a way of showing a person's character. Christ's disciples proved that to be true when Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane. Peter boldly came at the temple soldiers with a sword as he cut off the ear of the high priest's servant (John 18:10). John quietly stood back and followed Christ to the high priest's court to see what would happen to his beloved Lord (John 18:15). The other frightened disciples ran away, fearing a sure death for following Christ (Mark 14:50), and Judas' greed was shown when he betrayed the Lord with a kiss (Matthew 26:49).

What do the tests that come from those who oppose homeschooling reveal about your character? Are you defensive and ready to attack? Do you quietly sit back, do your own thing, and hope others will leave your family alone? Does fear make you constantly worry about possible problems with school authorities? If God is in control of your homeschooling, He wants you to reflect His character to the world. When the infamous socialization and legality questions are thrown at you and you're tempted to speak your mind, trust God instead to give you the right answers. Only He can make you shine like Christ as you tell an unbelieving world of the joys of homeschooling. "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear" (1 Peter 3:15).

Lord, sometimes I get so tired of defending our homeschooling. Help me to seek Your wisdom and love in responding to those who don't understand the blessings found in homeschooling. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Comments(21 comments)

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JUNETTA C 01/27/2009 09:40:02

My son is in eighth grade, and two people recently asked if he's been tested. My heartfelt (but unspoken) response was, "For what? Why should I test him?" It is not required in my state, so I don't see the need if I'm not trying to register him in anything. I feel a subtle pressure to put my boys in "real" school because they're growing up. My issue is the comparison. Do my friends and family want to know "how smart" he is compared to other students? Do they want to know if he's truly a homeschool geek with a high IQ or just a homeschool dork with no social skills like those "normal", schooled children they haven't had the pleasure to rub shoulders with. Or are people genuinely interested in how my boys are progressing academically--testing is the natural way to find out. Having taught school myself, I understand that when children are in those settings, there's no other way to classify them except to rank them by testing. There isn't much incentive to get to know them as persons, and encourage them academically as individuals with a unique intelligence. My children have tests at home once in a while, and I believe that because I don't hype it in any way, they are relaxed about it, and do the best they can. I have to ask myself what my hesitation to testing is. I suspect that testing would communicate to my children that they're either "better than most" or "not as good" as other children their age or grade level. I know an argument could be made for testing being the only realistic gauge of where they are academically. But I have echoes in my heart about David taking a census. God had forbidden it at a certain point--probably because the people would measure themselves against other nations they had to fight. Human nature tells you to be afraid if you're outnumbered, or to boast if you appear to be "the heavy". I don't want my children to prematurely "measure themselves against others", lest they get "the big head", or alternately think too lowly of themselves. As their teacher, I believe my sons are very intelligent and gifted. I don't suspect any of their marbles are missing. But as a teacher, I honestly wonder if they're getting all they need academically. Doesn't every teacher wonder the same thing? Who knows exactly what they will need? Certainly not the state, or even the federal government. They're still experimenting on children! My hope is in the Lord who called my husband and I to educate our own. He reminds me daily that He will provide all the necessary resources for our boys to grow in wisdom, stature, and favor with God and man. In this world, I know that my sons will have to be tested--both by God and by man. When the time comes, I hope they know they don't have to sweat--just allow the truth of what they know to surface. But for now, I want them to enjoy this period of uninhibited learning, without the complications of comparison.

MANDY B 01/27/2010 08:03:34

I really appreciated today's thoughts for a number of reasons. One of the family goals in our home is to learn how to respond Christlike in every situaltion that presents itself. This is a wonderful example of how these men all responded differently and it challenges us to ask ourselves which one are we. I'm going to share these scriptures this morning with my sons while we have our Bible time this morning. Thank you so much. M.B.

TIFFANY M 01/28/2010 09:53:51

Thank you AOP for today's Test Taking devotional. It blessed me greatly to know my fellow sisters and brothers are praying in agreement... especially on the defence to homeschooling. You see, my family's homeschooling has been under attack! In fact, the state currently has us under investigation! Nevertheless, we are pushing forward and NOT giving up our homeschooling and the many blessing that come with it. We WILL train up our children in the Lord Jesus! Moreover, the seeds have been sown and NOTHING the devil brings can raze our crops! Friends, I was not this fearless three weeks ago when the state first arrived at my door. In fact, cried in fear through the entire interview. Yes, I would have ran, with my family in hand, if I had been able to... I was heartbroken (because someone we know had made the report) and scared to death the state would somehow force us to stop homeschooling. My reaction was not normal by far.. typically I would have drawn my sword... but I was afraid and could do nothing..... It was the faith of my four boys that gave me the strength to stop being afraid! I told them before the interview started to go and to pray for us. THEY DID! Moreover, they continued to pray everyday! They kept telling me, "God is going to take care of us". I could see the fear in their eyes but it was like this "Jesus we are afraid, please save us..." It was a honest childlike fear and when tested my boys RAN, not walked, to Jesus! I say "my" boys, however it is obvious they are not "mine" they are His!!!! Even though the investigation is not over for another week, I believe with all my heart and soul that the boys are right and that God is going to take care of us! Thank you Father for the tests You bring us and for the faith and strength in You my...Your boys have. It is a blessing to be tested in Your holy name. Lovin' Him, T.K.

LISA K 01/27/2011 05:09:53

TK I know many will be praying for you. God will be the victor. Many blessings to you!

LAURA S 01/27/2011 05:11:46

Thank you for this today. Although I had intended to wait until next fall to return to homeschooling my 2 boys, today I will be withdrawing them from public school. This also means that I must quit my job at the school. I laid awake a long time last night, trying to rehearse what and how I will say what I need to say. I do realize that if I allow the Lord to to do the speaking for me it will be a much wiser approach, as I am filled with emotion on the whole matter. I would appreciate prayer as I go before the principle, and my boss today. I pray God will give me the control and boldness that I so desperately need. Thank you :)

SUSAN H 01/27/2011 05:58:29

TK and Laura S - I will be praying for you today. Be encouraged and uplifted as you seek His Will for your families. Susan H.

ELIZABETH W 01/27/2011 06:24:30

Hi TK & Laura S Have prayed for you both & your situations & will continue to do so. What a great & wondrous God we have who not only hears our prayers but answers them too. May God richly bless you both & your dear families. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7

CHRISTINA L 01/27/2011 07:18:12

I had to do the exact same thing. You can do it! I took my children out of school through an email, nothing more. I told my employer my situation the day after I talked with the president of my company about advancement. Leaving was really hard, but my 2 weeks notice was in regardless. My 3 children are more important to me then money or any job. You're a good mom and you're doing the right thing for your children. I'm believing God for you and He'll give you the strength you need.

BRANDY A 01/27/2011 08:51:52

Just last night I was reading a booklet on "character" and was so inspired. Amazing how God works. Today a wonderful devotional on character more or less. Our motto is "Knowledge is Power" and now after reading what I read lastnight and today I am going to incorporate something about character as well. In this booklet I was reading lastnight there was a quote by Martin Luther King, Jr. "Intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character, that is the goal of true education." I loved this quote. So now we will be coming up with an add on to Knowledge is Power and somehow adding something about character. Thank you for the inspiration.

TRACY H 01/27/2011 08:52:25

This is my first year as a Homeschool mom. I have an 8th grader who also has a learning disability in math. In the public school system last year, he did not pass the End of Grade testing for math, and he was allowed to take it twice. I am having alot of anxiety and fear the testing my state requries for Homeschools at the end of the school year. He is way behind in his Math book because I have had to go back and teach him basic math fundamentals that he should have learned in the 3rd or 4th grade. Now I have to consider next year and High School. I want to make sure I am doing what is best for my child, and am not hindering him in any way from being able to get into a good college. I am praying for God to give me the wisdom and strength I need.

CHRISTINE S 01/27/2011 13:25:19

Reading all of these comments has really inspired me today. We are all mom's doing our best for our children. I pulled my son from school at the end of February 2010. This year has been my first full year of homeschooling, he is in 7th grade. I feel as though God is leading me to leave my job at the school as well and do homeschooling full-time. I work part-time now. Our state also requires yearly testing because I don't have a 4yr. degree. My son has test anxiety and I am concerned that his scores will not truly show his abilities. They never have in the past. Please pray for my family....it is nice to know that we are not alone. =) Castlelina

OLIVIA S 01/27/2011 15:41:25

Thank you so much for this devotion, I am a student myself and it can be hard at times because everyone assumes your not learning anything, plus your anti-social. But as I was in high school I discovered I was sort of anti-social but as I went through homeschooling, I have so many friends.... I guess the calling of teachers/counselors/ASRs made me get the hang of how to talk to someone, and so it's easy to talk to everyone. I'm more open now thanks to AOA, love this devotion, thank you again! :)

RENEE B 01/27/2011 19:45:06

This was a wonderful devotional and much needed in my life today. Since the beginning of our Homeschooling journey, I have never actually felt the need to defend my position on the best choice we have ever made for our family. When we first made the decision to Homeschool, a good many of our friends were very curious and tended to question our choice. But I can honestly say, God has worked through my children in order to show our friends and extended family the wonders of Homeschooling and the joy it has brought into our children's lives. Though I do have very strong conviction that Homeschooling is one of the greatest blessings in my life, I don't think I'd be a good parent if I didn't doubt whether I'm doing enough sometimes....and then out of nowhere...God sends reassurance and peace my way!!! As for State, Local, and Federal Agencies...I will follow their guidlelines for Homeschooling...I will test when necessary, even though I believe it is NOT the only indicator of what a student knows, but I will ultimately answer to my Master who blessed me with these wonderful children. He will guide me and give me the wisdom to teach them well! To all of the families that have posted today, I will keep you in my prayers and wish you much peace and success in your journey. Renee'

A K 01/28/2011 08:03:06

HI! I have been wondering for some time now if there is a web site to visit to see how many parents ( or what their view is to) notify the public schools that they are homeschooling (when required by law)? Where I live it is req. to notify the public schools that your are homeschooling and to either have the kids tested, have a supervising teacher, or the portfolio method. But, I have some friends who believe it is not the states right to know and they will never notify the schools. And also, how kids get their diplomas if they dont use a correspondance school? I noticed in a previous devotional that her daughter took her GED test? Thanks for any input....... :)

JODI N 01/27/2012 07:32:15

Hi, A.K.! I don\'t know of any websites you could visit, but I can tell you that it\'s also required where I live to notify our local school districts of our intent to homeschool our children. My understanding is that if we fail to notify our school district of our choice to homeschool, before the beginning of each public school year, that our family would be in violation of state law and our children would be forced into the public school system. I have a friend whose family chose to homeschool and NOT notify the school system of their choice. They felt it was none of the government\'s business if they public schooled or homeschooled their child. They did this for several years without facing any repercussions. The have sent her to public school for the last 2 years and she\'s doing great. My oldest son will be taking his GED next month. He will be 16, which is the youngest our state will allow for taking the GED test. After he earns his GED, he will be able to go to work or college.

KATHLEEN L 01/27/2012 08:35:00

I never associated educational testing with seeing their character. That was new to me and I will be watching during future testings to see how my individual children react. I loved the correlation with how the disciples responded when Jesus was arrested. I have prayed for those who are facing difficulties. I am blessed that in my state there is very little official interference. And I haven\'t had to defend my educational choice since my oldest children were starting school so very long ago. And that was only to their grandparents who have since seen what a success homeschooling can be.

KATHY S 01/27/2012 08:57:04

I am so thankful that I can homeschool my son. It may be hard sometimes, but so worth it. I retained the\" HSLDA\" on the advice of a freind who has been homeschooling her 7 children for over 15 yeras now. I\'m very new to all this, so if you all know about this legal service and I sound silly for mentioning it, forgive me. It gives me some additional peace and I hope and pray that I never really need them for backup. Our State, from what I researched before starting homeschooling, has no testing laws, or accountability at all. I was told by the Regional School office that once my child was taken out and they were informed, basically, they washed their hands of us. Which thrilled me. I hope and pray they never do bother us, but, after all the abuse and neglect my son suffered at the Public school, I think they are more afaraid of a \"lawsuit\" against them than anything. Tiffany M. I will be praying hard for you. I absolutely hate that the government bothers good people who are homeschooling and taking care of their children, when I see so much despair in the news of children that are truly not taken care of, by Parents that don\'t care at all. My future sister in law is a teacher in a horrible school district, (well, as bad as where we live or worse). Anyway, she tries to minister as much as she can before school hours (it\'s a Public school also). But, without ever telling us a name (privacy) she describes the conditions of some of the childrens homelives. Some of these children are sleeping on\" bed springs\", not actual mattresses, they have parents that don\'t care about them, yet, I never hear of these children being harrassed by any officials. Isn\'t it strange that the \"officials\" so to speak harrass good homeschooling Mom\'s, when they could better spend their time maybe trying to teach some people how to ACTUALLY BE \"PARENTS\". Why don\'t they Bother the ones who send their children to school filthy, in tattered clothing, ill behaved, and really in need of care. I guess as I tell my son all the time, our world is so imperfect, so much evil running around our earth, ( I do share that there is some good too), but, one day when we meet Jesus, it will be sheer perfection! I guess this devotional was on testing and I managed to get way off track. My son never did well on testing, he was allowed ( when he attended Public school,), extra time and extra help as he is a special needs child, so 2 months into homeschooling here, I haven\'t administered a regular test, even though I bought the book for testing. I feel like if I tell him it\'s a test, it will affect hios performance, so for now I\'ll just be giving tests as regular school work, and although it\'s a little sneaky, he\'ll do better as there won\'t be any pressure. God Bless all of you Homeschooling parents who write in each day, this site really helps me daily. Thank you.

GENUS V 01/27/2012 10:51:39

Junetta: First my apologies, I did not read your entire post. The first paragraph stabbed so sharply that I just had to comment. You are absolutely correct in asking \"what does your child need to be tested FOR!\". As if you need to measure if your child is as ignorant as those in the public & private school systems. Whenever I\'ve shared that I\'m homeschooling, EVERY ONE is ready to test my children! Especially those that are \"educators\" in the school system. What this means is, \"testing you to see if you qualify to teach your own\"! I am soooo tired of this question that I\'ve begun to ask if they\'ve ever been \"tested\" to teach or even be in a society. I\'ve told my daughters that I could care less whether they got 100% on a \"test\". Whats more important to me is that they learn. Tests only test how much you REMEMBER, learning is the key. Why spend so much time trying to TRICK your child into remembering? I don\'t get it and it don\'t matter. Yes bad English I know, its just for emphasis.;) Peace to all.

BECKY C 01/29/2012 02:39:45

This came at the perfect time. My mother and sister have told my adult children 23 and 22 that my 12, 9 and 5 year olds are missing out on school and socializing because I chose to leave my job and homeschool. I feel like all I ever do it justify my choice to homeschool my kids to my mother and sister. When we moved here 8 years ago, my adult children were 3 years advanced to the public schools, they even placed one of my daughters in 3 study halls, art, pe and history. They didn\'t put her in english, math or science and she was a freshman. They said they had no classes for her. So I chose to homeschool them, so they could continue learning. Although I feel I should not have to justify my choices, I also know that my children are much better prepared for the world and know Jesus better than I ever did at this age. So God willing I will be here for years to come to continue to educate my children and hopefully my grandchildren. My prayers to all the above families and their children. God Bless You!

CHARLOTTE REITZ 01/29/2013 16:16:20

What happened to the Daily Focus? I haven't received one in my email in almost a week. I miss it. :-(

CHARLOTTE REITZ 01/29/2013 16:16:23

What happened to the Daily Focus? I haven't received one in my email in almost a week. I miss it. :-(

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