Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Filled Under: ,

Homeschool rant, testing, online class drama

Transcript with corrections:

Ok, so this is my 2nd homeschool video in as many days.  I'd like to promise that I'll do this daily because I really want to, but I'm not going to do that. 

If you see me looking off a lot, it is because my screen on my laptop is busted, and I use a monitor, and I like to look at myself.

So what I want to talk about today...

So, here is Atlanta, there's been this huge testing scandal, and a bunch of public elementary schools (and I'm not really in Atlanta, I am north east, so it's not exactly my school, but it's close enough for it
to matter)... in a bunch of the schools, the teachers and the administrators doctored the standardized testing of homeschooled (meant to say public school) students.  And today it was announced that while they won't lose accreditation, they will lose control, or lose local control of schools, and the state is going to take control of the schools for some amount of time.  The good news is that the cheating happened to years ago, and last year while they were under scrutiny, the testing actually came out well.

... And it's just sad.  It makes me sad because it seems that all school is about is numbers.  Can we get these kids to answer questions to get a certain percentage of overall answers right to make it look like we are teaching our kids properly? It just frustrates me because when we are dealing with test scores, in order for kids to do well, someone has got to do badly.  I mean, what good is everyone getting 100%?  It doesn't show anything.  It just makes it like like the test is easy; and that's what's happening anyway.

(Husband singing)

So it just seems like in order to have success, you also have to have failure, and that just leads to another source of frustration I am having today.

My kids are out of town.  They're not here.  Every year they go to Bob Jones University (which is another story altogether) to compete in an arts festival they have chorus, and drama, and all that other yummy stuff. ... And it's good to have that classical training.  It's good to go to a place that while your ideals may not all match up, you're exposed.  You know, that whole exposure, socialization thing, right?

But before they left, they did all of their online work.  I have them doing Georgia Virtual Academy (School) this year, just for two classes for my son, and one class for my daughter. I just wanted them to try something different.  Have them work with some teachers before they go off to college, so they can see that different teachers are going to expect different things.  Well, that's what happened.

So,  they did all of their work on Friday before they left. As a matter of fact, they got it done pretty much Thursday, early Friday, and the due dates are every other week, so they are not worried about it this week, they can catch up, you would think.   So they did all of their work, and before they left they got an email that said servers are going to be down Friday night until Monday morning, and you'll have an extension to make sure all of your work is done, and where like whatever, the work is already done, so it's no big deal.

So my son get's a bad feeling and he checks his iPhone to find out that the work he has done is missing. So, he's out of town, and he can't get an internet connection, (Bob Jones University locks down the Internet) it's going to be a struggle to get it, and so he's getting zeros. Yeah. And for my daughter, I figured that if something is wrong with my son's stuff that I should go check my daughters and I emailed the teacher and the last things that she did, that she uploaded Friday, the last day, are missing.

And you think... OK, upgrade to website, some things got muddled or whatever, so my son's teacher are cool. They're like, well, he's a very good student, he's not in the habit of forgetting things, we really think something happened data-wise.  My daughter's teacher is like yeah, whatever. We'll see when she submits the stuff, if it's time stamped.  I don't know if the stuff is time stamped!  I mean, I guess we'll see.  And what it tells me is that I chose to deal with the public school system with these classes just for a different experience, and I got what I asked for (because it's free).

It's more important to follow these rules and get the data in so that scores can be made.  That's more important than them actually "getting" material. So in a couple of chapters, my son is struggling. He can't linger on those chapters, at all to learn it.  He has to say, OK, I don't know that material, but I've got to move on to the next chapter.  And in my daughter case, she feels like she's learned more about Spanish than she's ever learned, the curriculum is AWESOME, but she keeps running into these technical issues (she's not a big computer person) that are knocking her grade down.  So, I guess it is something that we have to suck up because my son is in college next year, and my daughter is in college the next year and there's going to be a whole lot of sucking up to do.  They are going to have to learn how to talk to the professors when things are going wrong, let them know in advance... find out how they can raise grades and the whole deal.

But on the homeschool realm, while there may be some value with dealing (with this) in the later grades, which my kids are doing, as a younger child, WHY?  Why would you do it that way when the child should be actually learning, and not learning how to pass tests, and not learning how to make grades? 

So.  That's my rant for the day.  Until next time, bye.




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