June 21, 2007

Another Reason to Home School...

A friend sent me the link to this article about the demands on children. I thought it was pretty good, and it made me feel better about not pressing on with language arts this morning when all 3 of my kids were down on the floor building structures out of their math blocks!

8 comments:

SKi said...

Thanks for the article. It expresses many of my frustrations with teaching in the current climate. Everything is about the tests and raising scores, not about children. Articles like this one give me hope. Thanks for sharing.

Megan said...

Good article!

I did get a chuckle out of this statement: "Research has shown that it takes approximately 24 repetitions of a new concept to imprint on a young brain."

Too bad it takes many fewer than 24 repetitions or exposures for a new "bad" concept to imprint on a young brain. Besides the educational benefits, that's my other main reason for planning to homeschool.

Amos said...

What a great article. Thanks for sharing!

Megan said...

Back to let you know that I blogged a link to that article, and I noticed that another friend who reads my blog has also blogged a link to it on her blog, too! It's making the founds in the blogosphere. :)

Anonymous said...

I don't think this is a public vs. home school issue. I think the lady has several holes in her argument. I blogged about it here.
I think the bigger issue is teacher accountability and academic standards in the entire education arena.
Joel

Megan said...

Joel, I don't know that the teacher is failing to do what it takes to help her students succeed. I got the feeling from her article that she felt her hands were tied because the emphasis was on teaching to the test. And the definition of success was how well her students did on the test.

Ski said...

JOel,
Have you actually sat with an elementary student and read the questions? Many of the questions you have read and re-read to understand what they are asking. And if you are not from a middle class white background then the tests are even harder, especially vocabulary. I have taught in two schools that are "Reading First Schools" and yes the kids are reading however there is no time for science, social studies or health. And with the grant no writing may be done durning the 90 minute reading block. So, when you get these students they will be able to write a short paragraph like for the test however they will not be able to write a creative essay or want to write for the joy of writing. Many of these students don't even see the joy in reading it is just what they have to do. What is the population of your school? I have taught at one of the lowest Socio-economic school in the state of Oregon. THese kids need a lot of what the author was talking about, the time to play and to discuss what they are doing and then if they are making a mistake in their thinking it needs to be corrected. I used to have an hour of writing time in addition to reading time and my student left my class with a joy in writing and reading. Many made the connection of reading by reading their own writing. We had a rotating author's chair for them to share their work after an editing process (very limited with 5 and 6 year olds).
Children first learn through play and then suddenly when they turn 5 they can only learn with paper and pencil?! Get real! HOw would you have felt as a 5 year old taking a standerdized test? Sitting for 30+ minutes every day for two weeks filling in bubbles? (Then the 6+ hours teachers have to spend erasing all the extra marks on the pages) Their has to be a better way. Check out articles by David Hawkins on Messing about with science. He was a world renown physist(sp?).

Yes, accountabilty needs to be there and testing can be ONE part of this however it shouldn't be the only measure for sucess and failure. I would be failing in todays system, I wasn't a good test taker until grad school. Does that mean I should have felt like a failure in elementary school because I wasn't good at taking tests. Luckily I had good and bad teachers who looked beyond tests at other ways of assesing what I knew.

Beverly sorry to take up space on you blog. I wasn't able to log onto Joel's.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you ski. I don't like standardized tests a bit. Like you, I would also be failing! I think that testing is a problem and schools seem to think that teaching to the test solves the problem. By no means was I trying to justify tests. But they are a part of education in America. There is a push, in Colorado anyways, for all kids to take the tests, not just those in public schools.

Megan, you're right, maybe my statement about the lady not wanting to help her students succeed is a bit dramatic. However, if she's 60 some years old, I would think that she would have influence in her school to have a strong enough curriculum so that the kids will pass the test. That's all we're looking for right? At my old school (yes ski, I've read the questions and they're crap), elementary, our students (probably a third of whom were special needs--on the low end) had enough background knowledge and skills to score at least partially proficient. There are a bunch of schools in Colorado that teach to the test, and flaunt excellent scores.

I also don't have a problem with student play...it is a good learning experience...great learning experience. I'm just leery of student discovery without teacher interaction. That's a big push out here in Colorado and I don't believe it works (as the sole method).

Testing should not be the only form of accountability. And I agree, there needs to be accountability (which there is minimal in Colorado home schooling). Unfortunately, this teacher (the author) doesn't seem to see beyond the test like you (ski) and I think good teachers need to do.
Joel