What is more important? The Student or Their score?

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?           





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I'm Crystal. I'm married to Dale, and mother to Johnny.Some might say that my life is perfect because I get to do all the cliché wife things like cooking, cleaning, and decorating - but there's more! I also have many hobbies including needlework (crochet), sewing, and reading. My son's education is important, so we homeschool him together.

20 comments on “What is more important? The Student or Their score?”

  1. I feel you. We actually pulled our kids out of our state Virtual Academy this year and went to traditional homeschooling as the number of bureaucratic hoops we had to jump each year in order to make their numbers look good on the state standardized testing had increased to the point where they left almost no time for actual learning experiences (this while simultaneously begging us not to leave because our kid was one of the ones doing well on the tests, but refusing to us any flexibility on the constant, 5 day a week, year-long test prep).

    We still will do CAT testing at the end of year for proof of progress though, and I’m pretty nervous about it. Even though the requirements are not at all rigorous, I’m worried that I won’t be able to get them to take the actual test seriously as we don’t thrive on high-stakes testing in our house.

    I actually have an undergrad degree in education, before I went into medicine, and I swear I think it does me more harm than good sometimes, when it comes to being flexible in teaching my own kids. Do you find the same to be true?

    • Yes, I do. I still get into the “traditional school” mindset when I start to teach the kids. We literally have a huge dry erase board that I use a lot, and we also do the whole workbook thing each week.
      At this point, I won’t take them out of Connections Academy because I do love the fact that they provide a lot of what I would lack otherwise. Right now, they continue to allow us a lot of flexibility with the way I teach too because it’s been working for so long.

  2. I’m against the public school system and their common core testing government demands so I think you have a much more difficult road ahead of you trying to teach in that environment.

    • I agree with you Sue. It’s so hard to find the happy balance to teach the child without losing them in the process and ensuring that they will in fact do well on these tests.

  3. students should always be more important than their scores – that’s why you see a lot of problems today in schools – they have it the other way around 🙁

  4. I really dislike the common core standards. I think we need to come up with a better way to evaluate kids. Tests don’t show everything, especially when it’s fill in the circle rather than write down the answer. I have a friend who is trying to get common core out of the school system in PA. I wish her well, but I think it’s too bogged down in bureaucracy to have a chance of getting it out.

    • I hope that she has success with it. I personally would love to help her fight that battle because I feel it needs to be tossed out again!! Kids aren’t learning things in a practical sense in my opinion. I hope that we do come up with a better system.

      Thank you for stopping by and commenting. I hope to see you again soon.

  5. My hat is so off to you! I couldn’t even get my child to practice his piano, let alone do schoolwork for hours on end. He went the hard public school route and eventually, quit going to school on his own because of all the stupid stuff, including bullying. He made it into college after having completed an online high school course, and is now graduated with a Masters in Business Administration, living the dream! I think they have to catch the vision before they can really progress! Good luck with the social studies!

    • Thank you for the words of encouragement. Thank you for sharing your son’s experience with us. I’m so glad to hear that he’s doing really well now!
      Thank you for stopping by and commenting. I hope to see you again soon.

  6. Wonderful quote! I am new to homeschooling, so I’m always worrying if I’m doing enough. However, my babies are always number one. I cannot imagine trying to get the kids ready for testing, well that sort of testing.
    I think this is the time of year when kids do not seem as enthusiastic about school. My 13 year-old still attends public school, we have already started discussing the testing process.

    • I literally had my kids do two hours worth of workbook time today, and then I kicked them all outside the rest of the day to play. It was the first time we’ve seen sunshine and 77 degrees in a while. They soaked up every bit of the sun climbing trees, jumping on the trampoline, playing soccer, running, and riding their bikes. They even got me to play some soccer with them too. It was so nice to be able to hear their laughter and general excitement over being able to enjoy the great outdoors again. It was even hard for me to continue working, so I knew I was better off letting them play. Besides tomorrow, it’s supposed to rain again, and they can make up the work then.

      Homeschooling is a journey for sure. The first year is hardest. (It’s almost like the first year of marriage, you have to figure out a system that is going to work for you both. One thing I have learned though is being flexible makes things a whole lot easier.) If you need other ideas or help, don’t be afraid to reach out!! I know of a lot of resources that may interest you. 😉

      Thank you for stopping by and commenting. I hope to see you again soon.

  7. I will not write a rant about the failure of No Child Left Behind, or the new Common Core and awful time now being spent teaching the kids to learn the PARCC tests about to be administered.

    What I think should happen is a portfolio of their work should be kept, and reviewed to see if there is growth.

    Could you imagine an awesome portfolio of their lives being documented and turned in for a college to review. Kids that were WELL rounded would have first choice….

    Just my thought. I used this when I had to hire people in the car industry. I wanted a well rounded person. Multi tasker….

    • That is a brilliant idea. Our kids have to turn in portfolio items to the school home office every year, and it’s always fun to see how far we’ve come. It is like a time capsule of our school year in a sense because I always wait to do them until the end of the semester.
      I did the rant for you about Common Core. (It goes live on Monday!)
      You’re right a well-rounded individual will be able to accomplish more.
      I’m so glad you came back and commented. I hope to see you again soon.

  8. Some good points there. As a fellow homeschooler I sometimes feel that I have to push my kids harder in order to prove to myself or to others that I’m doing it right. I get tempted to feel they have to excel in every subject, which is not only unrealistic, but also puts a lot of pressure on us all. What should really matter is that they’re learning and loving it, regardless of test results.

    I recently did a blog post about balancing the teacher side vs mother side of me as I sometimes struggle to find that balance. It’s so important to remember that our kids need both.

    Visiting from #NoRules blog party.

    • I enjoyed reading your post about the teacher side vs. mother side. It was a nice story and really a good point worth remembering.
      Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting. I hope to see you again soon.

  9. Whew, that’s a lot of pressure. There is definitely an art to taking standardized tests – and has nothing to do with what you know. I think the best judgement of what they know is by interacting with them everyday. When they take what they learned and apply it to something else – themselves – then you know that it’s mastered.

    Even people who are the worst in school can excel on standardized tests, and vise versa.

    • Great point Lisa that if they can use it in their daily lives that ultimately is what matters most. I feel like our educational system has forgotten that the whole reason fro kids going to school is because we want to teach them how to be independent.
      Thank you for stopping by and commenting. I hope to see you again soon.

    • Thank you. I wish I could be he person to spark a change in it.
      Thank you for stopping by and commenting. I hope to see you again soon.

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