If you have kids in public school, you may know this time of year as "test prep" time. I have not been against tests, or learning how to take tests. But recently I have become tired of the long drawn out test prep that our kids are going through during regular class time. We used to even push the kids to do an after school test prep, but this year I didn't push. I am a bit over it. The 7th graders test scores do matter for High School, but in 5th grade I am not as worried about it.
I have been wondering what happened to real learning. Current events, nature, things happening in our neighborhood, politics, literature, the arts. Some of these are touched upon during the day, but a lot of it is skipped over, not in the curriculum, not in the guidelines for the new Core. Our daughter's best teacher opened her eyes to classic novels, The New York TImes, current events, and even note taking. She learned so much that year, and I did too. If you have books on fine artists in your classroom, kids will read them. If you talk about sports in the news and pull out a few new vocabulary words relating to that subject, kids will learn them. But if you only read silly passages and answer questions, you will learn how to take a test. There is not much educational matter in those readings I have found. So as you can see, I am over it.
In the weeks coming that will focus on these state tests, I will think about the quote above, and try to teach our kids something else, something from nature perhaps! Just something to think about!