Catholic Homeschool Articles, Advice & Resources

Tips on Student Test Prep and Choosing Elementary Subjects


Dr. Mary Kay Clark offers practical tips on test preparation, what subjects to study every day and advice on teaching multiple students at the same time.

How should my son prepare for a chapter test?

Before he starts reading a chapter, he should read the questions at the end of the chapter.

They are usually in the order as they are presented in the chapter. He should keep the question page open as he reads the chapter, and should underline the answers he reads. In most cases, the chapter test will focus on the same important points that are in the end-of-chapter questions.

Teachers often tell students what to focus on studying to prepare for a test. If possible, you should emphasize what he needs to remember, such as “You need to know the four reasons for …”

It is rare but possible that a question on the test was not noted in the end of chapter questions.

Do students need to study every subject every day?

Absolutely not. You already know that Music, Phys Ed, and Art are taken only once a week. In subjects like spelling and vocabulary, a student could take a practice test the first day.

If the student obtains a perfect score, the student does not need to do any other exercises in that chapter, though the crossword puzzles are fun!

Another student could study only the words he missed. However, some students like the challenge of the exercises and could choose to do them anyway, maybe all of them in one or two days.

What subjects should an elementary student do every day?

All students should do Religion, Reading, English, and Math every day. No exceptions. Our Faith is essential to study and think about every day.

In addition, one cannot survive in America without high skills in reading comprehension and English grammar and writing skills.

Math is not essential for Heaven, but it sure helps in balancing the checkbook and staying out of financial trouble with the bank or paying the bills. Math is important for young people wanting to obtain work in a field using a computer, which has become essential.

One does not need to be a math expert, but the regular high school math courses are important for many future careers.

With several students, I have a difficult time teaching everyone.

There are several ideas to consider. First, put two children together in some courses. For example, the Music, PE, and Art should be put together for all the children in the family, as much as possible. They don’t need the exact same lessons, but they can be all done together in some way.

Second, just because a child is a certain age does not mean he or she needs to be in a certain grade. That is an idea the public schools devised. The child should be in the grade, course by course, that is best for the child or that is best for the parent-teacher.

For instance, having two students in the same math level, even if they are different ages, is an easy solution. In fact, if an older student can help with the math for the younger student, put them both together. In addition, an older student might benefit from reviewing and helping a younger student.

Rules for students in the schools are based on what is convenient for the school, not for the student. Parents need to teach their children according to what is best for the student as well as what is best for the mother/teacher.

About Dr. Mary Kay Clark

Director of Seton for more than 25 years. Dr. Clark left Mater Dei Academy and began teaching her children at home at seeing firsthand the opportunities and the pitfalls of private schooling. Meet Dr. Clark | See her book
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