I have tons of issues with public school. I adore Hadley's teacher and think she's been a blessing, thank God for her because, as Keith says, I'm just looking for an excuse to home school. We love Hadley's teacher so much, I can't imagine Hadley not having her in her life. In fact, her entire school is pretty well ran. Despite my feelings on their attendance policy and the nonsense of them calling me out on not getting her to school on time I do like the school and respect the people who keep it going. (some of the rules are ridiculous, but they have good intentions and purpose.)
This week is the ISTEP testing for third grade and up. Click the link for an actual definition, but the general feeling of parents is it's a test for Indiana students to be measured against each other through standardized tests. It's a politically correct way of judging our children and their teachers. I, personally, think it's unfair to both. No matter how good a teacher teaches some kids don't test well. Grr! I don't know a better way, but I HATE standardized tests! I hated them when I was in school and I hate seeing how stressed these young kids feel about this.
Hadley has homework nearly every single night, in first grade! When I was in first grade, I'm pretty sure we were still cutting and pasting and they are definitely doing more than that now! She's reading, doing geometry, social studies, etc, etc.. It's really quite impressive. The homework, even only 10-15 minutes a night, often interferes with our family life and plans. It's a real pain in the rear to me and I complain profusely! (I never complain in front of Hadley though, I don't want to jade her opinions) Tonight we were doing family stuff and I stopped it and said "Hadley do you have homework we need to get done?" Of course she did, and Keith mumbled to me "wow! they've broken your spirit, you're just giving in and doing the homework!" It's so true!
So, we've determined that I hate both standardized testing and homework. I'm really a hippy anarchist when it comes to education. Of course, I want my kids to be smart but I want them to do it in a fun interesting way. I hate seeing third graders have to miss school because they're having anxiety attacks (true story) about tests and reports. I hate making Hadley come in 15 minutes early, on a sunny day, so she can do homework when she knows the material. If it's something she has trouble with I'm all for practicing until we get it, though, I just don't like busy work!
Because this week is ISTEP the testers don't have homework. I'm a little disgusted by the self interest here. Our family time be darned-homework is a must but when it's test time and it's self serving, to the rule makers, suddenly homework takes a back seat and a lot less important. Education is important to me, I want my kids to be well educated, productive members of society. Education may not be my first priority but it is definitely in the top ten (five, maybe).
I'm hoping to parent well rounded kids who put God first, are compassionate, and intelligent. I don't think homework or ISTEP will contribute to those things but we are along for the ride and praying for the best!