Friday, February 17, 2012

Please stop thinking and answer the question!

Oh my goodness. That should not be a statement a parent has to make, but this morning, I said just that.

I bought some books last night to start to get the boys ready for their achievement tests that are coming this spring. One thing that I learned early on in our classical journey is that Classical Education does not teach to the test. When I taught in public schools, our entire day was pretty much wrapped around preparing the kids for their next test. Classical isn't like that. We are, instead, teaching our children how to think for themselves and reason things out. Which leads to this morning....

Terrific T started his test prep book in the Language Arts section. He was reading a passage about dynamite and answering questions on the genre. It starts by talking about how powerful dynamite is and that it one of the most powerful explosives in the world. He pretty much refused to admit that this is a nonfiction piece because there are things more powerful, like an atomic bomb.  I had to go back and show him that it says "one of the most powerful" and he still doesn't think it is a true passage. So I told him to try to figure out what the test is wanting him to answer and we move on to the next one. It was a fiction passage about an amusement park. He didn't find it to be entertaining so wouldn't mark the "entertains the reader" answer...because it didn't entertain HIM. We have a lot of work cut out for us to get him to "think like the norm", just long enough to answer the questions, then he can go back to his normal, creative, awesome self.

We spend so much time teaching them how to think, then say forget that for this test or you will surely fail it. I have this same problem daily with his Explode the Code work. They will ask "Can a monkey dance on the ceiling?" or something random that is clearly supposed to be wrong. He will put yes...because his Webkinz monkey can dance on the ceiling if he is holding it and making it. I have found that wrong isn't always wrong, and have to have him explain most of his answers to me....and when he does, I find he is usually right.

If test scores didn't matter so much later on, I would skip testing all together. I know what level they are on. I know what they need to work on and what they excel in. I'm with them 24/7. But, testing DOES matter and we will continue to test, for no other reason then for them to learn how to test. Apparently, this we do need to work on!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Then and Now

Feb 1, 2011:

Today, Feb 2. 2012:

We thought the weather last year was crazy, giving us more snow then I ever remember seeing in Oklahoma. This weather this year is equally as crazy, but completely opposite. No snow, and shorts weather in January and February. I'm holding out hope that we still get some snow this year. I would miss it if we didn't.