Saturday, November 1, 2008

Waldorf Works

At least according to the standardized test ABCD recently took.
It is called the MAP test, and is a maze type test. The questions get harder if you answer correctly, and easier if you get answers wrong. It was horrible, and ABCD, who HATES getting anything wrong and has a really hard time trying things he thinks he MIGHT not be able to do perfectly had a terrible time knowing that he was getting answers wrong. He'd sit there at the computer and sigh, "Well, I guess I just have to give up and guess." The test took SIX hours, straight through, and covered reading, language arts, and math.
I've been feeling horrible for a week, making him go through this terrible experience. Well, not that the ends justify the means, or that the test results really mean anything to me as his Mom and teacher (I laughed out loud when the proctor said the test was important so that I would know "where he's at"), but it is easier to hold up a score than stop and explain all of the things you've been learning about. And my son scored in the 99th percentile in every single category, with reading and language arts covering the range of 7th-12th grades, and math solidly at 7th grade level. This is a kid who doesn't have all of his basic math facts (tables) memorized, and my husband was sure he was "behind" in math because he has to stop and figure questions out, and can't just spout off the answer. It has been one of the biggest sources of tension between us as parents. "He should know this" vs "But he understands it, and he'll memorize it when it makes sense to HIM to do so."
Oh well, pressure's off and I can relax and enjoy teaching him without worrying so much about whether I'm including enough of the stuff public school kids are doing. I have a score to hold up "See, he's learning plenty!"
Of course, my first thought when we got the scores back was "What the heck do they DO in school?" My child is bright and articulate, but he's not on track to graduate from high school at 12 or anything. He's just a normal kid whose curiosity and thirst for learning about the world hasn't been drudged out of him by a school system too over-burdened and under-inspired to teach children well. He's being given the time and experience to learn to THINK. And it works. He has the scores to prove it.

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