Saturday, March 08, 2014

It's just practice!

Today, Riley took the SAT. Yeah, that SAT - the one for college! :D The reason she is taking it as a 9th grader is easy. Practice!

In the state of GA, our homeschool requirements mandate a standardized test at the end of 3rd grade, and then every 3 years after that. So that puts a standardized test in 9th and 12th grades of high school. In the elementary and middle school years, I use the ITBS - first at home, and then testing as part of a group for practice in testing with other people around. Since Austin had his 9th grade testing as part of his neuropsych work-up, he took the ITBS last year at the end of 10th grade. Obviously, his testing calendar is a bit different than the typical, but I figured Riley would also do the ITBS for her 9th grade test.

But then her Biology teacher suggested another option: taking the SAT for practice! I hadn't considered that, to be honest, but her reasoning was solid. She would get to experience the testing procedure when the stakes are low. We don't need to send the results anywhere. She just gets to practice - and the price for the SAT is about the same as a group administration of the ITBS!

Riley has been loosely prepping for the test for the last couple of months, but I didn't want to stress her out too much so I didn't put too much emphasis on the test prep. I bought a book, she read through it. We didn't do practice tests, because this whole thing was the practice test! I knew the math section was going to be difficult because she is only finishing up Algebra 1 right now, and the SAT has quite a bit of Geometry on it. But that's OK! My instruction for her was to do what she could, skip anything that was completely unknown. I had no concerns about the reading/language tests - she excels in those areas. The essay writing was a little unnerving just because she hasn't written anything by hand in a long time. She types all of her work! So beginning in January, we started writing stuff out again - much to her chagrin! LOL And my only other concern was the time limit, and I had intended to give her a couple of timed essays to practice and I didn't get around to it. But again - no stress. It is what it is!

Testing morning came too early - I woke up at 5:30 and I woke her up at 6 AM. YUCK. We left the house at 7:15, and planned to meet a friend (also a 9th grader) over at the high school. When we arrived, I noticed that the kids were all being dropped off. The plan in my head had me and the other mom walking the kids in, taking a few adorable pics at the door, get her checked in and make sure she was in the right place and knew where to go.

Instead, I found myself dropping her off and snapping a couple of pictures of her walking away. All she said was, "I don't know where to go!" and I said, "Just follow the other kids!" And she turned and was on her way.

"No pictures, Mom!!"

There she goes!!
I met up with my friend and went to breakfast and shopped while the kids were testing. That was great because I was more nervous than I expected. Riley wasn't allowed to take her cell phone (though she said plenty of people had their phones @@) and I started to worry that maybe she didn't have everything she needed and how could she get ahold of me if something went wrong? Luckily, my friend did a great job of distracting me!

At last it was time to get the kids. Riley was about 20 minutes later than expected coming out, but when she did, I was greeted with a big smile! (And a starving girl - only 5 minute breaks did not allow her enough time to eat her snack!)

My SAT girl!

 The first thing she talked about was the essay, and how excited she was about it. She thinks she really rocked that part - and that it was her favorite! I told her was delusional because nobody likes the SAT essay! LOL She skipped lots of the math, but that was expected. And the reading/language sections weren't overwhelming. Bottom line - she thought it wasn't too bad and possibly even sort of fun! YAY! Exactly the reaction I wanted her to come away with!
Refueling! :)
Nana offered to pay for lunch/dessert after the test so my starving scholar could refuel properly! And she did! We went to Sweet Tomatoes for lunch and then to Sweet Monkeys for dessert.

I have told her over and over how proud I am of her. She tackled something not every 9th grader would be brave enough to handle! I don't care what her scores are - I am proud of her attitude and bravery most of all! :)