Homeschooling, my kids, has taught me a lot. Since we use our state’s public online school system, Connections Academy, we still have to worry about the upcoming standardized testing this spring. Since I prepared most of my life to be a teacher, I still find myself worrying about whether or not they are going to do well on their standardized testing. I want to prove that my teaching methods are working, and they are indeed learning something.
In my search for encouraging homeschooling quotes to share with you in the coming months. Since, I find that the spring time makes homeschooling the kids harder for me because they are so utterly eager to get outside. I knew we’d all need some extra encouragement and ideas to help us get through it all.
This quote stopped me dead in my tracks though. “The kids in our classroom are infinitely more significant than the subject matter we teach.” By Meladee McCarty. The reason this quote stopped me so intensely is because I know I push my kids hard from January until they endure their standardized testing. Mind you, it shows in their results because they usually excel well with the exception of Social Studies. (I still haven’t found the magic cure to make history fun and exciting for us. That makes it hard to teach it!)
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This lovely quote made me ask myself “What is more important? The Student or Their score?”
That shouldn’t be a tough question to answer. When you’re an educator, you know that these tests are your chance to see just how your teaching methods are working. These tests aren’t just for the students anymore. Now every decision the government makes is based on the pupils’ scores they make on these standardized tests. That’s why it’s hard to answer that question at times.
Understanding Testing Frustrations
Ironically for me, I am TERRIBLE at taking any standardized or assessment type test. If you ask me the material in a not “testing” atmosphere, you almost bank I can answer the question rather quickly. On the flip side though, if you hand me a test and expect me to answer that very same question chances are high my anxiety will kick in, and I will miss it. Amazingly, I’ve still done fairly well on the tests, but never well enough for anyone to ever know my true knowledge. Hence, why I was always bored to death going to school even in the honors courses I took.
While preparing my kids for their standardized tests this year, I’m going to have to hang on tightly to this quote. I want my children to know that they matter to me far more than any score they may bring in on their standardized tests. I fear that in the prior years, I’ve always pushed them to show me how much they know from January to April/May that they may think all I care about is them doing well on these tests. We work harder during these months than any other time of the school year!! The rest of the school year, we float along and learn at a slow, leisurely pace. If I can take them to a park and teach them Science and History while we’re there, I’ll do it in a skinny second!
As their homeschooling mother, I have the freedom to make these changes for my kids. But what about the students in the public schools? Who is going to insist on making those changes there? Who is going to help make the stand that the government needs to focus more on ensuring our kids learn the material actually versus seeing what they put on paper? Chances are extremely high that there are many children in our society who are like me and are terrible test takers!!
Since we look mediocre or terrible on paper, we get shafted. We get short-changed. If it weren’t for the fact that I was a Teacher Assistant/Teacher Cadet since I was in the sixth-grade chances are high, I would have been left in the dust. I had the advantage of working with my teachers, so they got to see what I knew on a very personal level. What about the students who don’t have that chance?
I think us as a whole need to find a way to get students taught and evaluated in a different manner than these tests. Our students need to be treated as people and not a mere number in the school systems. Granted, I don’t have the answer or solution to this problem, but I’m confident there has to be a way to do it.
What are your thoughts on this topic?