Our annual test came this week and the kids were excited to dig into the envelope and get started on them. Ugh, I hate testing because I find it such a waste of time, a time of no learning, a time of disruption, a time to feel inadequate, a time of great sighing.
Oddly, when the test came yesterday it was right on the heels of a conversation I had had with a teacher this last weekend about homeschooling. She started out with don't I know that a lot of teachers at the school are Christians and it is a good school? No, I didn't know there were a lot of Christians there and we don't homeschool because we don't think the school isn't doing a good job educating their students or because the staff might not be Christians. I even politely pointed out the fact that one of the mom's in our co-op is a part time public school teacher and her kids haven't stepped foot in a school. After I poked a hole in that argument she moved on to her next one, although I did sense she was relieved that at least my kids are getting their art class from a certified teacher.
Her next argument, which was when I realized we had moved beyond small talk and she was making her point that kids should be in public school, was that Dancer was in high school and that she, being a 3rd grade teacher, didn't think she could teach high school so how did I think I was qualified. I diplomatically said something like, "Well, we have good text books and some of her classes are on DVDs with a teacher." What I wanted to spout off in a shocked voice was she taught 3rd grade but didn't think she was smart enough, after going through high school herself and I hope college, to teach high school. Perhaps, high school teachers should get paid more that grade school teachers if they have to be that much more skilled. Did she choose the elementary education major because she knew, after just graduating from high school, that there was no way she was smart enough to ever go back and teach it and she should aim low? I am sure the answer is no and I would guess she just unknowingly insulted herself to show me that I was unqualified to even think about homeschooling high school. Classic.
Finally she moved onto testing. Did we have to at least have the kids tested? Sure we do, and then I added, mostly to irritate her, but we don't have to report the results to anyone. Katie bar the door! If we don't report the results how does anyone know that we are teaching them anything?!! Smiling, to show just what a nice person I am, I calmly told her, "Why would any parent step out of the work force to spend 18 years with their child and not want to teach them anything. If anyone was concerned about my kids education wouldn't it be me, their parent?" I wanted to add that it would be my basement they would be living in, not a school officials, if I didn't make them productive adults, but I stopped before I got to that point. She quickly caught on to where this conversation was going and gave up.
It did get me thinking this week though, why is there this mind set that we need checking up on? Can't people be responsible for themselves? Do they feel better if an offical tells them they are doing a good or satisfactory job? It starts with those Apgar scores right after your born and goes right on to invade every aspect of our lives. I have actually heard mothers brag about their babies Apgar scores. Who gets the credit for a high Apgar score? The doctor, the mother or the baby?
All this reminds me of another time we had someone "check up" on us. The town we lived in decided that everyone had to have their sump pump checked by a city official. The official got around to our house and we told him that he didn't need to come in because we didn't have a sump pump, I also didn't like the idea of the city getting into and snooping around our house. He said that he had to come in and see it. We told him again that we didn't have a sump pump so their was nothing to inspect. He firmly and pompously told us that he either saw our sump pump or the city would add a fee on to our utility bill each and every month until we let him in. Okay, knock yourself out, go down and look at it to see if will meet code. He smugly strode down the stairs and came back up after a few minutes, actually I surprised how long he was down there since we had a tuck under garage and our actual basement was about 400 square feet. When he emerged we asked him if it passed. As he was shooting out door like he had been greased he mumbled something about us not having a sump pump. Even though he never got to "see" our sump pump we didn't get the fee on our utility bill.
So the homeschool testing has started, hopefully we will be done early next week and we can get back to our regularly scheduled life. Dancer has been doing a lot of sighing. She started out with the math portion of the test "to get it over with." I looked through Spark's test and saw that we didn't cover the era of history that must be covered in 5th grade classes in America and they aren't going to know all the polically correct answers to the social questions that are asked. But that's okay because remember, we don't have to report the scores :)
I find that the more irresponsible parents are the ones that send their kids off to school, hoping that somebody ELSE will take care of their education and basically babysit them. Funny how it's turned around to make it seem as if the homeschooling families are the irresponsible ones. The responses from the other woman obviously stems from her public education in the system.
Don't you love it when somebody says "I couldn't possibly teach my kid XYZ grade work", then point out to them that they are going to put their kids into the same school system that didn't give her enough education that she's unable to teach her own kids.
Sigh. I know how you feel with the testing. I've felt pretty inadequate the past two weeks, between testing and reporting this quarter.
I think one thing people don't understand is that the testing is done to show taxpayers some proof that their money is well spent. Since I do not receive a government subsidy to homeschool my kids (unless you count the library), I should not be held up to public scrutiny. Like you said, it's my house they'll end up living in if I don't help them become self-sufficient.
I don't mind if others feel they don't have the energy to do what I do, but I am so tired of the "I'm not qualified" line. How well we have made our citizens dependent on the system!
Peace and Laughter,
Never thought of that before as a response to the homeschool arguments. If I don't turn my kids into productive adults, they'll be living with me forever. :) Good one!
We are in our 11th year of homeschooling and I absolutely abhoar the testing. It truly is a stupid waste of my time. I am with them every day - I KNOW what they know and what they still need to learn. I can't complain too loudly though because these new laws are so much better than before!!!
Great blog - wonderful family!
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