Homeschooling Issue – I Need Your Advice

It’s lunch time here in the Vinez household. We finally started the homeschooling year last week, and I thought thing were going to be smooth sailing. I love the homeschooling curriculum this year. We went with the CLASS system again, but I like the textbooks they sent a lot better this year. Ashley is in the Junior High level stuff, so I’m praying I’m smart enough to get her through it. Zander has moved on from Kindergarten and is now in First grade. He’s got a lot more work this year than he did last year, which is definitely a good thing.

However, I am having an issue with Zander already, and I could use your advice.

Zander is very smart. Like almost scary smart. He doesn’t forget anything. He really has the mind of an elephant. What he hears, he retains.

Last year, he did really well in math. He blew through his book and gave me no problems at all. This year, in addition to the math workbook, we’ve also got a math drill book. The drill book contains 50 timed tests and 5 practice tests. There are 50 problems on each test. We’re on the 3rd practice test, and today Zander flipped out. I set the timer for 5 minutes (the maximum time allowed for the tests), and that was it. In those 5 minutes, Zander got 15 problems done. 15. He knows this stuff, he’s just convinced himself that he doesn’t know it.

The problem is because the test is timed. He freaks out and thinks that he can’t finish it in the amount of time he has. The thing is, I know he can, he just panics when the timer is turned on.

What are some ideas you have to help Z get his tests done in time and not panic. I can’t not time him, because it’s required. I could not set a timer, though, and just watch the clock. Do you think that would work? Are there other ideas that I’m not thinking about?

Homeschooling moms – or teachers – do you have children that do really well on seat work, but panic when it’s time for a test? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this!

Angie Vinez (2893 Posts)

Angie is a wife and mother to 8. Her life revolves around cooking, cleaning, laundry, and other household duties. She is passionate about her life in Christ and wants to encourage other mothers in their own walk of faith. Angie is active on many social media networks, loves technology, photography, and graphic design, and loves creating blog designs for other mom bloggers.


  1. 1
    Lori @ Prim 'n Purdy says:

    I was a high honor student all through school (4.0+ in high school – you know the kid with the photographic memory who can't forget anything; no matter how hard they try), but when it came to tests, I would sometimes get an anxiety attack like you can't believe.

    I would say try it without the timing (to see how he does). I honestly can't remember how I did back then, but even now, if a deadline is looming and I don't have a plan of action, I will sometimes procrastinate even more (one of the things that I am working on more seriously now). If I can think of anything at all, I will let you know…sorry I wasn't very much help.

  2. 2

    Throw out the timer. Just keep an eye on the clock and right down the time it took him. There's no reason to mention the results to him because they will only cause him stress. I can't see why a first grader should be timed anyway. Knowledge is not a race. PS: I'm also a homeschool Mom.

  3. 3
    cbdkndmom says:

    What they do with SAT and ACT tests is note the start time and the end time. You could do it that way. Do you have a timer on your cell? Something without an audible alarm, like a vibrate setting? That might work as well.

  4. 4

    You are his teacher. You can not time him. That is a good thing about home schooling. I was having these same issues with my daughter, I called the place I have her registered through. The advice I was given is if the child becomes to stressed to take a brake. I would do as the others said time him, but don't let him know you are timing. Just glance at the paper at the stop mark and see what number he is on. Without knowing he is being timed you wont freak out.

  5. 5

    When we first started hsing my son, he had a real fear of tests and reacted much like you are describing. We canned the tests and I had him throw a beanbag back and forth with me while I asked him the questions, in the backyard. He consistently aced the questions like that. Hope the suggestion helps!

  6. 6

    I don't think the vibrator on the phone will work. I have my cell set to vibrate and my granddaughter can tell me when it goes off – and she is across the room.

    I can't speak from teaching, but I can speak from personal experience. I can't take a test if I am timed. If I know there is a limit coming I would focus on the time so much I would not finish the test.

    Maybe if you go back to the test from last year and do them again as timed he could see that he is able to finish in time. Or try mixing up the test with some old and some new questions.

    I never did really get over the fear of a timed test. I just learned to deal with it. I had teachers who would let me do extra homework for extra credit to make up my shortfall at testing.

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