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The Old Schoolhouse Magazine


September 28, 2011

Preparing Your Child for the ACT/SAT


Deborah's  Picture  

Are you worried about how well your children will do in high school? What about those foreign words called the SAT or ACT? One thing you can do during your children's high school years is prepare them for the SAT or ACT test, especially if they are geared toward attending a college or university. Scholarships are often given to homeschool children with good SAT or ACT test scores. Some of the resources below are as easy as one math problem a day or one new vocabulary word a day. So, start researching these websites now and your children will be well ahead of the game!


The Bible talks about testing, too:


1) God tests our hearts for obedience.


"And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove (test) thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no." Deuteronomy 8:2


2) If it passes the test of goodness, hang on to it!


"Prove (test) all things; hold fast that which is good."  

1 Thessalonians 5:21



TOS Senior Editor     


P.S. Come and talk with me and many other guests Thursday (tomorrow!) at the "Meet and Greet" with our TOS Family of Columnists. This is a free webinar with many of your favorite authors and speakers. We have special guests, wonderful freebies, and fabulous door prizes lined up! You must register in advance to attend. We look forward to continuing the celebration of 10 years of TOS with you! Please help us spread the word! I'd love for you to come and chat with me personally. It's free and fun! "See" you there!


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In place of Gena this week:


Preparing for the ACT/SAT.    

By Stephanie Estabrooks    


Tests! Due to different philosophies, some parents rely heavily on these in their homeschooling efforts, whereas others dislike assessing their children's progress in this manner. Regardless of their personal opinions, however, there comes a time when some parents and students have no choice but to face the challenge of the ultimate academic test: the college entrance examination. If your young adult has been called by God to attend college, there is practically no avoiding the ACT or SAT. Most colleges require one or the other.


Contemplating the impact that this single test can have on a high schooler's future often causes parents and students alike to feel overwhelmed and downright panicked. That is a normal reaction but not one that needs to persist for long! God is our source of peace and sustaining grace. Having had four high schoolers successfully travel through this process, I would like to share some suggestions that I've gleaned from books and personal experience that helped our family during this stage of their education.   


First, you must realize that a student can and should study for this important test. In addition to prayer, one of the most effective ways to combat any fears and uneasiness associated with the ACT/SAT is to be as prepared as is reasonably possible. I believe that this task can be accomplished by following a few steps in a very intentional course of action.   


1. Plan ahead: Choose a test date so that your student will have two to three months to prepare. Spreading the study period over a lengthy span of time lessens the daily impact so that the normal high school coursework can progress as usual. It also eliminates any need for last-minute cramming, which can be counterproductive and anxiety-producing!   


2. Choose the right prep course for your student: There is no dearth of available materials! Much help is offered online (, and in hard copy, so you can choose either type of resource or both. My experience is exclusively with hard copy, and I strongly recommend that this format be used for at least a portion of the study. Whether you use printable tests available online or purchase prep books, your student should practice with tests that are exactly like the real exam, with the same number of questions and taken exactly the same way-with paper and pencil. Because the prep books are what I am accustomed to using, these form the basis of my suggested course of study. The two books that I specifically recommend are The Real ACT Prep Guide, third edition, published by Peterson's, and The Official SAT Study Guide, second edition, published by the College Board and Educational Testing Service. Both of these include multiple practice tests and were written by the people who design the official tests.   


3. Study and practice: At the outset of the preparation, choose one test to evaluate your student's stronger and weaker areas of performance so as to eliminate any unnecessary study time. This may be done in one sitting or over several days. Next, design a plan that will help him work slowly and steadily through the book, as needed. As he progresses, make good use of the practice tests. These may each be divided into individual sections concentrating on those subjects that need the most work. Time each test so that your student can learn to pace his work well.  


4. Administer one complete test: As the test date approaches, set aside a time to have your student take the entire test in one sitting, simulating the real testing experience. This requires a quiet atmosphere, and if possible, you can do this during the corresponding time of day the actual test will be given (i.e. starting rather early in the morning). The Saturday before is a good choice, for then you may allow your student a week of well-deserved rest!   


In conclusion, I would like to offer an additional note of encouragement. Be sensitive throughout this preparation time as to whether your student is handling the schedule well. You want her to be prepared, not burned out. An adequate number of days, proper materials, and focused study at an appropriate pace can help your high schooler do her very best on the exam.   


Stephanie Estabrooks 




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Schoolhouse Birthday Bash -  

as we celebrate our tenth  

birthday and announce exciting  

developments coming in 2012!    


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Join us for our online Meet & Greet with the TOS Family of Columnists webinar event.


Thursday, September 29th -

6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. (EST)  


Hurry and register now for an evening filled with guest speakers, freebies, and more door prizes-this event is open only to the FIRST 1,000 registrants.


You can RSVP on our Facebook event page! 


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Join us for the Schoolhouse Birthday Bash blog hop September 20-30th!  


Enjoy interviews with our Family of Columnists - your favorite homeschool experts! You'll hear from homeschooling veterans, artists, Classical educators, special needs experts, and many more. Learn more here.

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We will post announcements on the Homeschooling with Heart blog, so bookmark it so you can stay tuned!  


You can also read our announcements at the TOS Facebook page and on Twitter @TOSMag.


We look forward to sharing fellowship and encouragement with you during our  

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Psychology. It's the study of God's grandest creation: the human mind. It's also the most worldview-challenging class your children will take in college. Are they prepared? Whatever you think about psychology, the time to deal with it is now. Finally, there's a Christian perspective.    




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We share easy-to-make recipes, frugal tips, and ideas for you to create and simply implement at your own homestead! You'll learn how to make your own cleaning sprays, vinegar hair rinses, dish soaps, even the coveted Homemade Laundry Soap recipe and MANY more! 

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 The Familyman
Todd Wilson, Familyman Ministries

By Todd Wilson


Be real,




Outreach Films Four men, one calling: to serve and protect. When tragedy hits home, these men are left wrestling with their hopes, their fears, their faith, and their fathering. Can a newfound urgency help these dads draw closer to God . . . and to their children?

Courageous . . . honor begins at home.


Creation Revolution


America's Schools Are Already More 

Secular Than Great Britain's Schools


Today's feed deals with more of a comment than question. Even though the comment was made in jest, it holds more truth than many may realize. Read the comment and response here.  


It's Just Common Sense

Ruth Beechick, Curriculum Specialist 


Debbie Strayer, Homeschool Consultant  


Nowadays, preparing for the SAT or ACT is big business. Many programs and classes are offered to help students test well. Having been through these tests as a student, then with my own children, and now as a tutor, I have learned some things along the way that can help you be at peace and your children do their best:


* These tests are not a measure of your intelligence or success. They are a measure of how well you take the test, or how well you have learned to take the test. Your child's job as a student is to figure out what a question is really asking, whether or not it is a question he should attempt to answer, and then how to sort through the answers to get down to the best choice. All of these skills can be learned with practice and patience.


* God determines your future, not a test. It is good to go into a situation like high-stakes testing with an understanding that God already has a perfect plan for your child's life. It may or may not include college, or a certain college. Going through the process of testing has to be just one part of the many things that help your children find the path that is right for them. Remembering this can put test stress in its place.


When I was a senior in high school, my mother passed away just a few days before our state-mandated senior exam. Too emotionally shaken, I was unable to take the test. Though the college I applied to said it was a requirement for admission, God had other plans. It took time and faith, especially when my letter of acceptance was lost, but I eventually entered college right on time. Remember that above all things, God's plan will prevail.


* Timing is everything. Confidence is such an important part of success for most children, and confidence often comes with maturity. Most students begin taking the SATs in their junior year, but my learning-disabled daughter did not feel confident enough to tackle the SAT until her senior year. Before that time, a low score would have been difficult for her to cope with, but later she was ready to go through the process of working and testing, reviewing what she didn't know, and then testing again. She was determined to do her best and able to match her desire with hard work, even in the dreaded subject of math. God was a faithful rewarder of her efforts, and she obtained the scores needed for a scholarship.


Remember this Scripture as your child prepares for these tests, and leave the results to Him. Take this opportunity to partner with your child and cheer him on. Build the bond of co-laborers, trusting the outcome to our faithful, loving Father.


"Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass."

I Thessalonians 5:24


~ Debbie



There is plenty of online help for the ACT and SAT tests. Just search for "ACT/SAT tests" and a wide assortment of helps will come up.


~ Ruth




Learn Skills to Prepare and Care for Your Family & Homestead! Learn basic homestead skills such as canning, sewing, gardening, soap making, and much more with our handpicked selection of DVDs, E-Books, and books! We offer the tools to help you learn these skills and pass them on to the next generation! Stop by our homestead, check out all of our offerings--visit our blog, and sign up for our FREE eNewsletter for lots of helps, ideas, tips, and encouragement!  


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Contest Central  

For the month of September, 2011   



Signs & Seasons: Understanding the Elements of Classical Astronomy




Our family receives more materials for review than we sometimes know what to do with. Oftentimes, we'll just skim the pages to get a general idea of the curriculum's general usability and quality. If it makes the basic grade, it's good to go. If it's superior, sometimes we'll even adopt it into our own homeschooling program. We found something superior. It's a beautiful book on astronomy from a totally Christian perspective, called Signs & Seasons: Understanding the Elements of Classical Astronomy, by Jay Ryan, and our family is so impressed with it. Why? Because we're learning! And we're on the edge of our chair doing so.


The author quotes ancient sources throughout the entire manuscript, tying in centuries of knowledge and understanding. For most people today, the sky has lost its appeal. It's gone flat. Our culture has no time, no desire to study astronomy the way scholars have throughout the ages. What happened? Where have the deep thinkers gone? Astronomy is fascinating; it opens up new worlds--literally! It explains time and dates, light, seasons, and dimension. One important aspect of this book is that it puts to rest the various "pagan influences" in astronomy. It incorporates biblical explanations and sends old superstitions packing. (Read the rest of the review here.)


Win this book for your family!



Email Deb with your name, mailing address, and phone number for contact purposes, with the subject line "Signs and Seasons" for a chance to win* this book!



2011-12 Schoolhouse Planners  

*Disclaimer and Legal Notice:
The Old Schoolhouse
Magazine, LLC ("Company") is sponsoring the September Contest Central contest running from September
September 1, 2011, to September 30, 2011. You must be 18 years of age or older and follow all rules to participate. Entering the contest constitutes full and complete acceptance of, and a warranty that the entrant has read, understands and agrees to, all contest terms and conditions, including without limitation all of The Old Schoolhouse
Magazine, LLC Contest Rules ("Official Rules") and The Old Schoolhouse Magazine Writer Guidelines and Terms and Conditions for Submitting Queries. All Official Rules apply. Entry also constitutes full consent and unlimited permission for Company to print, publish, broadcast and use all intellectual property and personal information submitted as part of the Contest entry on the Internet and in any and all Company publications in accordance with the Rules. Entries become the sole property of Company and will not be returned. Employees and independent contractors of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC, Contest sponsors, individuals or entities furnishing Contest prizes and their family members may not participate in this contest. Company reserves the sole, discretionary right to determine contest winners and to cancel, terminate, modify, or suspend the contest or the Rules at any time with or without notice or cause, subject to applicable law. See Official Rules for details.

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