It’s testing season. Even though most of my children are homeschooled, they still take the same statewide assessments that all Ohio children take. So the last two months have seen a lot of practicing, reviewing and stressing about filling in tiny little circles.
I have one cracker jack learner who picks up whatever you throw at him without even trying. Completely independent, needs nothing from me as a teacher. That kid could pass the test with one arm tied behind his back, hopping up and down, and blindfolded.
But then I have two beautiful students who are absolutely miserable at math. Two girls who think “who needs to add when you can read. Or write. Or create something from raw materials.” Bless their hearts, they’re just like their Mama, who had a good reason for marrying an accountant. Love you babe.
Anyway. High stakes testing on a subject we dislike. And a Mama who struggles with having a good attitude towards curriculum that teaches differently than she learned, and doesn’t always make sense the first time she reads it.
I know standardized tests are a hot topic. I know curriculum standards are a hot topic. I am one of the quiet few who does think that standard curriculum and evaluations are a good thing.
Even as the parent of a special kid who will never be able to pass standardized tests, I still think my other children should strive for the same mark as every other kid in America.
So no, this isn’t going to turn into one more Common Core bashing post. Because if I don’t like the way the lesson is presented I do have the right, as the teacher, to tell my students to nod and smile politely and then completely throw the entire lesson out the window and do what makes sense. (Which I think I’ve done once or twice).
Because that’s the beauty of homeschooling for one thing. And for another, we as a family chose not to define ourselves by state tests, or just about any other set of results that assesses the work of our hands.
We work hard. We learn what we can. We put our best work out. But once it’s out of our hands we stop caring.
We are children of God. Not people who can (or can’t) pass tests. We care about improving our character. Not impressing people who live far away. Or close by for that matter.
So on our last day of testing we’ll nod and smile because someone somewhere cares about the list of numbers and statistics our tests produced. And then we’ll go back to developing the things that really matter to us. Character. Creativity. Community.
And we’ll say take that OAA.