"Do I have to have my children tested?"
Like so many things in life, educational choices are a personal decision. Of course, some states have laws governing this. In that case, always obey the law.
Some questions to consider are which tests will be used and why, how testing might affect the student, what will be done with the results, and whether there are less intrusive alternatives?
Assessments are another way to evaluate learning. Just like when your children were babies, you can discover what they have learned by spending time with them. Standardized tests try to give a measurement of the amount of learning that has taken place up to a specific point. Assessments don't have any standard of what a child "should" be able to do; instead, they look at the child as a whole, focusing on what the child does know instead of what he doesn't.
"My children don't behave well. How can I teach them at home if they won't listen to me?"
While it is true that your children need to be obedient before they can learn from you, childrearing is also a process that is a natural outgrowth of homeschooling. But we all need some help and training in that area. One wonderful resourse is www.NoGreaterJoy.org, a ministry of Michael and Debi Pearl, who homeschooled all five of their children. Parenting doesn't come naturally but is a skill to be learned, and homeschooling can give parents a better opportunity to nurture and train their children than they would otherwise have had.
"But I want my kids to go to college! Can they 'get in' if we teach them at home?"
Colleges, universities, and vocational schools all over the US seek out responsible homeschooled students. They recognize the value of capability, motivation, and courtesy and consider these in addition to formal transcripts, diplomas, or GEDs. Most libraries and bookstores carry books, directories, and guides that will help older homeschoolers get information and prepare for this next step. College is not the only, or even the best, route for every high school graduate. Sending kids to college who don't know exactly what their goals are is expensive and often undermines or destroys the value system you just invested your time and effort to give them. On the other hand, many homeschoolers choose an apprenticeship over formal schooling as a faster, simpler, and less expensive option. By immersing themselves in the skill they are trying to learn, they get the "whole picture".
Remember, your kids don't have to go to college immediately after graduation. they can even decide they don't want to go and later change their mind and decide to go after all. In fact, most educational institutions prefer older students; they are usually excited about being there and want to learn.
(Again, this came from that pamphlet that I received with one of my Old Schoolhouse Magazines. Just a few more posts from this pamphlet left -- maybe two or three.)