8:30 p.m. on a Monday evening and I am walking around my house. The sun is barely resting over Cacapon Mountain. Actually, it is not even dark yet outside. As I come down the steps from tucking in everyone, I can even hear Dan snoring in the bedroom. You won’t believe this! All the Hott’s are asleep – even Isaac!
To what, you may ask, do I owe this unnatural course of events? When normally, we fight bedtime tooth and nail, how is it that a 7, 8, and 12 year old v.o.l.u.n.t.a.i.r.l.y went to bed E.A.R.L.Y! On normal school nights here at the Hott House, we are lucky to be finishing the nightly routine of baths, jammies, brushing teeth, and reading by 9:00 p.m. And if American Idol is on, well…. let me tell you this, it can even be later!
So, here’s the deal. It is called public schools’ Standardized Testing! Yes, this week, all across the state of West Virginia, students in grades three through eleven are undergoing the statewide WESTEST 2, or the West Virginia Educational Standards Test 2. Isn’t that a mouthful!
Although I’m not so sure I agree with the entire prospect of cramming information at Standardized Testing to “teach to the test” in a short period of time, my kids attend public schools and this is their method of evaluation. Believe me, our house has witnessed many tears over the years when our kids have been faced with the Westest. Stressing Violet, she has been reduced to tears and sleepless nights worrying over the exams, especially upon her journey to middle school.
Imagine my own mom anxiety as Isaac entered this morning for his first experience with the Westest. It was never easy for both his sisters; but for Isaac, he just always tends to exacerbate just about anything imaginable. Of course, he was properly prepared by all of Violet’s horror stories; “Oh Isaac, it’s the worst think you will Ever do!” and “Westest is just awful, Isaac! If you don’t do well, the school will make you go back to second grade!”
“Noooooooo!” Tears, sobs, until he nearly stopped breathing! As I see Violet’s grin curl up on her way to her room, I’m left with an exasperated child fearful of taking the school’s Standardized Test.
So. The first day came and went without incident. Can you believe it? Three more days to go! Actually, Isaac was calm, cool, and collected. He informed me that he would “require additional protein and carbs this week to do well on his exams.” (Seriously, he said that.) Also, it was his idea to implement an 8:00 p.m. bedtime (much to Levi’s dismay… who doesn’t even have the exams like his brother and sister, yet he is the first asleep.)
How do your children respond to Standardized Tests? I am beginning to wonder if mine is the only house a little crazy this time of year. What do you do to comfort your children when they are faced with stressors? Here is what I have been sharing with my hottlings while they prepare for really, what is just one of life’s little tests:
“Cast all your anxiety on him because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7
We just give all our worries to God and invite him in to whatever stresses us – even Standardized Tests!
I think it is working… so far! No tears this week. (Thank God!) In fact, listen to what Isaac said just about 5 minutes before he fell asleep tonight:
“Mom, I am confident that I will perform well on the Westest. Mrs. Betcher (his third grade teacher) even lets us have gum to relax us. (Well, okay… if it works!) You know what, I just realized that I got question number 42 wrong. The instructions said to estimate to the nearest ten. Hummm…. I answered 477 when actually the answer should have been 480. Darn!”
Yeah…. Isaac said that. I was wondering if he remembered what question 27 was… To me, he just passed with flying colors!
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