I have a question about whether I should have my daughter take the PSAT this year. I am aware of the helpfulness of this test. (I benefitted from the "profit" aspect of the test myself when I was in high school.) My problem is that Catherine, my daughter, is a "freshmore" this year. She did not get enough credits last year to qualify her as a sophomore. (I taught high school before and only give the credits when she earns them. She was not very focused last year.) She will achieve sophomore standing mid year. Should I have her take the PSAT this year or wait until next year? At this point I am looking at a 2012 graduation for her, but she may kick into gear and do it sooner. She is very bright, but not always motivated.
Would you mind giving me your opinion on this?
P.S. Catherine and I attended the Homeschool College Fair last year and plan to take a group of kids this year. We both loved it and found it very helpful. We attended two of your sessions. They were fabulous.
Thank you SO much for your feedback of the College Fair!
Freshmen don't take the PSAT, and the PSAT is only "for fun" as a sophomore, so I don't think I would recommend she take the official test this year.
With the PSAT, it's fairly easy to move kids up a grade level. So if she is a freshman this year, and a sophomore next year, you can suddenly make her a junior instead. Also, if she is a junior one year, you can suddenly graduate her a year early, and she will still qualify for the NMSQT. Since you can move them up a grade level easily, I think I would avoid giving her the PSAT this year.
If you feel that she is probably a candidate for the NMSQT, she can still study for the SAT at home during this school year. I would only study SAT if she has enough math, though, because you don't want her to be frustrated. If she studies for the SAT during this school year, then next year you can say she is a junior and she can take it "for profit" and score well. If she studies for the SAT this year, and you still believe she is a sophomore next year, then there is still no harm done, right?
Keep in mind that sometimes a lack of motivation can mean a child isn't challenged. Sometimes - that means that I certainly don't know if that's the case, I'm just throwing the suggestion out there. You might want to read over my Dig Deeper site on Gifted Teens, and see if anything will apply to your student:
I have an audio CD that we are currently working on, about Gifted Education. Unfortunately, it's not quite done (still having packaging issues.) Just make sure to keep her challenged, but not overwhelmed. Sometimes kids will avoid doing their work because it's not challenging them.
And who came up with grade levels, anyway??? That drove me nuts when I was homeschooling! Like you, my kids didn't fit into one particular grade at a time, and "choosing" a grade for the purpose of a test (of all things!) seemed a little ridiculous! Ultimately, choosing a grade level didn't really change our homeschool at all, though. I guess that's what matters, right?
I'm looking forward to seeing you at the College Fair!