Homeschool to College: Standardized Testing

Standardized testing for homeschool high schoolers doesn’t have to be confusing or stressful.

In our journey from homeschool to college nothing has been quite as difficult as people have made it out to be. It just goes to show you that you must stay in your own lane and have confidence in your abilities!

If your child is college bound they will need to think about taking the SAT and/or ACT.

Unless they choose a gap year or school that doesn’t require a standardized test there isn’t a way around the testing requirement.

Begin planning early in their high school career for testing.

Tests are important for college acceptance. You will have to play the testing game to get the scores. You do not, however, need to let the test dictate your child’s homeschool high school career.

 Homeschool to College: How to Approach Standardized Testing

What Test(s) Should My Child Take?

Most schools take the SAT or ACT. You should, however, check with a few schools your child might be interested in and confirm what test they should take.

(If you are a classical homeschooler the Classic Learning Test (CLT) is gaining traction, so keep your ears open for schools that accept this innovative college entrance exam.)

Some schools are now test optional. You should still, however, take a standardized test, because many of the test-optional schools will use that score for placement but not entrance.

Helpful Links:

ACT website

College Board (PSAT) website

College Board (SAT) website

CLT website

SAT Subject Tests?

None of the schools my daughter has applied to have asked for the SAT subject tests - so unless you find that you need them, I wouldn’t register for those tests.

ACT with Writing?

Again, none of the applications required us to submit an ACT with writing - so we didn’t worry about that.

When To Take the Tests

I can speak to what we did in our homeschool - and if I had to do it over again I think I would do it in much the same way.

10th Grade:

Take the PSAT in the fall of the 10th grade year.

We had to contact our local high school’s guidance counselor to register our homeschooler for the exam. We also found that in our area there were certain high schools that were more “homeschool friendly” than others.

One of our homeschool moms had registered older children before, so she took care of registering a group of our children to take the test together. It was administered on a school day, during school hours.

*If you child takes the PSAT as a junior, those scores are considered for National Merit Scholars. Your test scores from the sophomore year will not be sufficient for National Merit Scholar competition.

10th & 11th Grades:

Register to take the SAT and ACT.

My daughter took each of the tests and then decided which one she preferred. I have also known children who took a practice test of each and then registered for the test they preferred. We chose to take each test on a national testing day so Anna could gain experience taking the test in a testing setting.

Our local library also offered practice testing on a Saturday morning - a great way to get your feet wet!

Read a comparison of the tests.

Our goal was to have all testing complete by the end of 11th grade.

Senior year is busy enough without the worry of taking the test for the first time or improving a test score. You can even take tests during the summer - my daughter took her ACT for the last time the summer after her junior year, which gave her some time during the summer to work through her practice book.

How To Register for the Tests

I found it helpful to print the test dates and registration deadlines.

SAT Test Dates & Registration

ACT Test Dates & Registration

Simply visit the SAT or ACT site and registration is EASY. You will have to fill out a student profile (might take some time) the first time you register.

You can choose a testing site based on your zip code and your child will take the test (generally on a Saturday) at a local high school.


Register for the ACT.

Register for the SAT.

 How to Prepare for the ACT and/or SAT as a homeschooler

How to Prepare for the Tests

Honestly, we didn’t get fancy here.

After taking the SAT and ACT one time (with zero prep), my daughter decided she preferred the ACT.

We had also heard that simply having EXPERIENCE taking the test was the best preparation.

She added “test prep” into her weekly schedule and devoted her time to working through her prep books.

One additional tip: We have been working through the SAT and ACT flashcards for a few years - even my middle schooler uses them. It’s never too early to work on increasing their vocabulary!

Barron's ACT, 2nd Edition (Barron's Act (Book Only))Barron's ACT, 2nd Edition (Barron's Act (Book Only))Barron's ACT Flash Cards: 410 Flash Cards to Help You Achieve a Higher ScoreBarron's ACT Flash Cards: 410 Flash Cards to Help You Achieve a Higher ScoreBarron's 6 ACT Practice Tests, 2nd EditionBarron's 6 ACT Practice Tests, 2nd EditionBarron's ACT Math and Science Workbook (Barron's Act Math & Science Workbook)Barron's ACT Math and Science Workbook (Barron's Act Math & Science Workbook)Barron's ACT English, Reading and Writing WorkbookBarron's ACT English, Reading and Writing WorkbookBarron's SAT Vocabulary Flash Cards: 500 Flash Cards to Help You Achieve a Higher ScoreBarron's SAT Vocabulary Flash Cards: 500 Flash Cards to Help You Achieve a Higher ScoreThe Official SAT Study Guide, 2018 Edition (Official Study Guide for the New Sat)The Official SAT Study Guide, 2018 Edition (Official Study Guide for the New Sat)


How Did It All Turn Out?

When it was all said and done my daughter took the SAT once. She took the ACT three times.

She got the score she was wanted.She received a score that will help her obtain scholarships.

The college acceptances have begun to come in - what a spectacular feeling that is!

The amount you take the test and push for a score depends on what your schools are looking for, and what requirements are in place for scholarship eligibility. You must determine this on a case by case basis.

(Oh - and there is something called SUPERSCORING - check that out and determine if your school accepts it for admission, scholarships, etc… Every school is different.)

As a homeschool parent I found that reading aloud (especially the READING ALOUD), and strong fundamentals in math, science, and writing were sufficient preparation throughout her homeschool career. Once we hit 10th grade we began thinking about testing and it became part of our vernacular for the next two years.

No worries — you’ve got this!

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the Homeschool to College series!

5 Homeschool Truths You Need to Remember

I generated a lot of controversy on Facebook a few weeks ago. I had no idea what I posted was going to stir up so many feelings… I was just sharing my TRUTH about homeschooling.

Let’s be very clear: this blog is a place for HOMESCHOOL encouragement. If I wanted to show the merits of traditional education I would be writing a blog about sending your children to school. That, however, is not the case.

We abandoned the ideal of public school ten years ago.

Believe me when I tell you I was invested in the public schools. I desperately wanted them to work for my children. I wanted to maintain the pie-in-the-sky ideal that an involved parent can make a big difference in their child’s public education.

I couldn’t, however, sacrifice my children for an ideal.

(and I don’t think you want to, either)

 5 Homeschool Truths You Need to Remember

These homeschool truths have been discovered through a lot of trial and error, a lot of tears, and many days of wanting to quit.

They have also been discovered through countless days of joy, endless “aha” moments, and times of great learning and wonder.

I’m at the end of the homeschool road with my oldest, and I want to shout from the rooftops how YOU CAN DO THIS. You can teach your children at home - and (like any school situation) it won’t be perfect, but it will be beautifully hard and definitely worth all of your effort and sacrifice.

Feel free to Pin, share, and print these thoughts. I hope they get you through your hard days. (check out my Instagram for lots more of this, too!)

Don’t forget our entire community at Homegrown Learners is cheering for you and your success

 5 Homeschool Truths You Should Know

I can’t imagine what our lives would have been like if I’d sent these children to be in a school for most of their waking hours of their childhood.

I am full of gratitude for this life of learning and discovery we have been blessed to live.

Homeschooling matters. Don’t ever forget that. Your worst day at home is worth more than their best day in school.

 5 Homeschool Truths You Need to Remember

Homeschooling is a marathon, not a sprint. You’re in this for the long haul. Some miles will be easier than others… but you are still making progress.

 5 Homeschool Truths You Need to Remember

When people tell me, “I could NEVER homeschool!” I simply reply, “Oh, I bet you could! If you want something badly enough, you will be surprised what you can accomplish!”

 5 Homeschool Truths You Need to Remember

You are homeschooling YOUR children. Comparing your homeschool to anyone else’s is a waste of precious time. You chose this lifestyle because you wanted something different. Don’t try to be like other homeschoolers.

 5 Homeschool Truths You Need to Remember

When homeschool days are tough, remember this one thing: You are the best advocate for your child. You love and know them better than anyone else. Homeschooling is a precious gift.

 5 Homeschool Truths You Need to Remember

You’ve got this - I know you do!

I’d love to hear what you tell yourself when homeschool days get hard… share your encouragement in the comments below!

You might also like:

Homeschoolers: Stay in Your Own Lane

The Homeschool Trap