Tuesday, July 7, 2009
On my nightstand...
This year my girls really enjoyed school. They loved their teachers and their friends.
Lily learned to read and how to do addition and subtraction.
Rebecca learned about geography and division.
She also spent weeks learning how to take the MCAS test. When I was a kid in New Jersey we took the California Tests. We were reminded to bring in our number 2 pencils and to have a good breakfast. That was it. We took the tests. The results eventually came in the mail. The end.
The MCAS tests are different. Rebecca spent weeks bringing home worksheets practicing for this test. She learned to write responses in the way which they must be answered for this test. The teachers and principal emphasized the importance of this test, on which the performance of the school is based.
It was completely depressing. Rebecca agonized about this test. No matter how often we told her that the test didn't matter, that she should do her best and not worry about this test, we would still find her awake in bed, late at night worried. She had headaches and stomaches. She lost at least two months of her school year to practicing for and being made sick by this one stupid test.
The entire experience made me notice my homeschooling friends more. The workshops they attended, the trips they took, the active learning they were engaged in.
They were not spending weeks learning to take a test.
I've been developing a plan.
One more year of public school. Rebecca wants to finish elementary school with her friends. She can have the yearbook, the dance and the graduation. Lily will have second grade. MCAS don't start until third grade. Second grade is full of projects and field trips. She'll love it.
Then, after this year, those children will be mine. We will learn and travel. We will explore and discover. We'll meet kids in the large homeschooling community in my town. Rebecca will be able to take all of the dance classes that she wants. She'll learn to sew.
One year to plan, to research, to consider and then the adventure begins!