Friday, October 9, 2009

Home Schooling is looking GOOD

My son had a fantastic teacher last year. They connected -- laughed at the same jokes, communicated through quick glances and expressions, just "got" each other. He was even a HE.

Anyway. All year my son excelled in math. 100% on nearly every test, and way ahead on the "computer accelerated math", where he usually also got 100% unless he had a technical foul. I did not suggest he be put in the year above him because he adored his teacher so much, (the man dressed as a human hot dog last Halloween, how awesome is that!) and I thought he was doing ok as a second grader. His teacher and I discussed that the following year, this year, he would be placed in the highest math.

School started, and three students were put in "high" math. Not my kid. When I asked his previous teacher what happened, he said placement had been based on IQ scores, and no teachers had been able to give input. End of year assessment? Educator recommendation? No.

Readers, does that sound right to you? It didn't sound right to me. I thought he must have his info wrong or didn't want to talk about it with me now, or maybe ever. After a year of *me* as a parent I might not want to talk to me either.

To make a long story short: my kid can't take the math he is ready for because his state wide IQ test was not in the top 3% for math. Go ahead and gloat, my homeschooling friends, I get it why people home school!

All week I have exchanged emails with his current teacher and principal. They patiently assure me he will get what he needs in his regular classroom. He can even do the fourth grade math when they feel he is ready for it. (He apparently already scored a 100% on the first unit test but his "show me how" explanations are weak.) Newsflash, people: it is easy to acquire a math text for fourth grade. They can put him on whatever schedule they want; he will already be doing fourth grade math at home.

To hear my child is considered not innately intelligent enough to understand multiplication and long division, the gutwork of fourth grade math, created a variety of responses: I am profoundly insulted. I know they are wrong. I cry. I scramble in my sleep deprived mind to remember his milestones: he did them all on time, and seemed to have a talent at puzzles. I remember his preschool teacher finding puzzles especially for him. He could read well before he started kindergarten. He was so cute and sweet then, the memory makes me cry again. And let's remember his second grade teacher's opinion that this year he should be in fourth grade math, and his high in class test scores. Yes, I assure myself, they are wrong.

I know this year of math will not really matter in the long run. I am trying to keep perspective. But what haunts me is on a larger scale - we are discouraging our children. We don't want to admit it, but we are. We wrap presents for them so the corners look pretty; we re-make the beds if company comes so they look more tidy; we straighten the knife if they set the table. And we allow them to hear they are not smart enough.

I am still working through this issue. For now I resolve none, none of my children will take state or nationally normed tests in elementary school again. If I had realized what there was to be lost they never would have taken them.

Readers, I am curious to hear your stories about these issues.

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