Okay, I’m not an expert, just a parent like you. When I wanted to know how I could help my daughter do well on her STAR Tests I did what any self respecting parent would do… I googled it. There is actually quite a bit of information out there on how a parent can help their child, from reviewing test taking strategies and printing sample tests for practice, to common sense habits that we should probably have anyway. Knowing the strength and professionalism of my daughter’s teacher (and all the teachers at La Mariposa), I figured I’d focus on the thing they can’t do–deliver my daughter to school stress-free and focused.
Make sure your child gets to school and stays at school…at least until lunch. STAR Testing week is not a week to schedule dentists appointments or family trips.
Make sure your child gets a good, balanced, breakfast–toast and cereal is not enough. They need a some protein and a little fat to make that food stick with them and get their brains focused. And while you’re at it, pack ’em a good snack, too.
Make sure your child gets enough rest. Yup, that means no late practices that week and no staying up late reading books. Most experts agree school age children need about 10-11 hours a sleep per day. So get ’em to bed before 9:00.
Create a stress-free morning. It happens in my house, too: Where’s your shoes? Why are you wearing your little brother’s jacket? Rush, rush…get in the car…GET IN THE CAR. When my family is on the top of our game, we prepare for the morning the night before. I call it mitigating the madness.
Walk to school. Studies show that twenty minutes of moderate physical activity, like walking to school, increases attention span, concentration, and specifically the ability to answer tougher questions accurately. No surprise this increased focus leads to higher achievement (equivalent to as much as a full letter grade) on standardized tests. Live too far away? Park at Pitts Ranch Park or a friends house and walk from there.