Guest blogger Olivia: My daughter Andrea, 9, is a bright kid. At our last parent-teacher meeting, her teacher said she wished she could "clone" Andrea and have every student be like her. Andrea's a model student, engaged in all her classes and an avid reader, and her grades reflect that. She gets A's across the board ... until she has to take the yearly state test. She gets extreme anxiety about it, because everyone puts so much emphasis on doing well.
The month prior to the test, her teacher prepares her with practice tests (which Andrea does great on -- go figure!). The teacher constantly reinforces the importance of reading the directions completely, taking her time and going back to check her work. Of course I want Andrea to do well on it, because the better she does, the more opportunity she'll have when she gets into middle school.
But I guess my encouragement has only raised Andrea's anxiety level about disappointing everyone. I've told her that I'll love her and be proud of her no matter what, but the fact is, it IS important for her to do well on this test. If she does "above average" on either the math or language-arts portion two years in a row, she'll automatically get enrolled in her school's "talented and gifted" program, which will afford her even more learning opportunities. I know that Andrea is in the above-average range in both of these areas -- and so does her teacher -- but since the Mother of All Tests doesn't agree, I'm worried she's going to miss out on a lot.
How do I get Andrea to relax about this test? She knows her stuff, but she has trouble proving it when it really matters. Moms, have any of your children been able to overcome test anxiety? How did you do it? Help!