Friday, January 25, 2013

The One With All the Doubts

Sharing this one as part of the Weekly Wrap-Up at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

This week someone on a homeschooling page I follow asked about assessments. Several folks offered information about free, online assessments for elementary-age students. I took the bait, and signed up, and had Agent E take one. 

Then the "whys" came. 

Why did she only score one grade level above on math and reading? Why did she not know how to complete xyz? Why didn't I teach her more about [fill in the blank with random knowledge other first graders apparently know].

The "whys" were followed by the doubts.

I'm doing it wrong. This child-led unschooly c-r-a-p is for the birds. I need a curriculum. I need a plan. I should have taught her more about . . . um, everything? My child is only six and I already suck at homeschooling.

Whew. Deep breath, Momma.

I'm embarrassed to say it took me a few days to realize that a 30-minute evaluation, a completely arbitrary hodgepodge of whatever skills this one particular guide deemed important, is not an indication of my daughter's intelligence or my teaching ability.

Then I started thinking: Had she scored way above grade level, or done awesome on every single section, would I have thought this assessment was great? 

Um, probably.
My favorite first grader

Sooooo . . . . what have we learned today, folks?

1. There is no way I will ever ever ever be able to teach my children everything. 

2. Even if they attended school, or even if we followed a strict curriculum, this would still be true.

3. My children are smart, capable, and learning new, wonderful things every day.

4. I should probably write out #1-3 on a post-it and plaster it to my head.

Have you struggled with doubts in your homeschool this week? How did you get past them?

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8 comments :

  1. Great post, thanks for sharing. This is something we will all need to read and re-read in the coming months. :-)

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    1. Thank you, and thanks for stopping by. Love the name.

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  2. Hey, be kinder to yourself! And yes, take a step back.

    Now take another step back and see if you can find out anything useful from what you did. Is there a grain of positive direction you can take out of this? Reflective practice is the most important part of beng a good teacher, and that means not being ruled by knee-jerk reactions (of any kind) to criticism (even if that's criticism of yourself). Maybe it was a bad test, but maybe there's a signpost there as well.

    Deep breath! Less emotion! More analysis! And just look at how your kids love learning- you are doing GREAT.

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    1. The crazy thing is, she actually scored *above* average on most of it, but my initial reaction was to zoom in on the few things we never covered. Ack! (Breathing, breathing . . .)

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  3. Yes! You would think after 9 years of homeschooling I wouldn't have doubts, but not so! With 2 kids struggling for different reasons (and all for things that I can't change) and one planning to embark on a new direction outside the home for learning my confidence has taken a hit. But that's where friends help out - they get you back on the right track! I'm feeling better about things! Hang in there!

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    1. Hope everything works out for you and your students. Thanks for visiting.

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  4. You bring up some very accurate points about testing. The longer I have home schooled the more I am convinced that testing really doesn't help me or my child much. Almost without fail they reveal the kids' weak points and strengths, both of which I already knew. Please consider adding this to my end of the week link up, Its a Wrap. Savannah www.hammocktracks.com

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    1. It was more of a curiosity for me, and I think it did exactly what you said. I will check out the link up. Thanks for stopping by.

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