Friday, April 9, 2010

Moments From Our House...

The first is really to our house...

Brenna, age two, really, really wants to see her uncles, Evan, Ken and Neal. She knows just how to entice them to make the three-hour drive to her house, too.

Brenna says that she is going to buy a soccer ball for $200 and 'message' her uncles to play soccer.

It might be a bit difficult, since a quick scan of the Eurosport catalog reveals no $200 soccer balls. Shoes (aka 'boots') for a lot more than that, but no balls. They probably do exist, but we just won't tell Brenna that.

Second is Neal and the Standardized Test.

The State of Ohio. in it's Grandiose Wisdom, requires yearly evaluation of homeschooled children. This can be in the form of the evaluation of a portfolio of the student's work by a certified teacher or a nationally-normed exam.

Yes, I know that we're not even locally normal, let alone nationally so, but last year we decided to try the California Achievement Test. (Yes, it's abnormal for Ohio, but the State accepts it. And at least it's not as grueling as the Ohio Achievement Test, which spreads terror into the heart of Ohio students every April, after months of being drilled in the teeny-tiny necessary skills and harangued into anxiety over Loss of Money for the School, which would Obviously Be The Children's Fault, of course.)

So Alanna got down to business and finished her test in sections over three days. No nonsense, no fooling around, she's done.

Neal has been busy, but he's done part of his also. But he spends longer after the test commenting on the low level of thought required by the test.

"Can you read?" is one question, but "Can you actually think about what you read?" is another. They barely ask the first question, and never ask the second, which is what puzzles Neal.

The math on the eighth grade exam is only slightly different from the math on Allie's Fourth Grade exam. Shouldn't the extra four years mean advancement?


Anonymous said...

NC has an annual standardized test requirement as well. The whole process is a head-scratcher for me. I just don't get it. Just exactly WHAT are we accomplishing when we take these things???

Unknown said...

Topsy, I think that we're reassuring the state that our kids are actually being educated, rather than just warehoused....or that's what it's supposed to do. It's not very accurate, and it implies that the state (or the testmakers) are somehow the final arbiters of What Children Should Know, which is silly. It's also difficult for kids with learning difficulties or those who choose alternate learning experiences, like unschooling.

In Ohio, we can choose to submit a portfolio of the child's work to a certified teacher for evaluation, which is what I usually do. Neal and Allie wanted to know how they 'measured up' to other kids their ages last year, so we did the tests. They found them to be easy, and they did well.

The real question is whether the government has the right to require anything from homeschoolers. I can see both sides of the question. I have met a few families who didn't seem to be doing much in the way of education, but they've been few and far between.