When we enrolled #3 in school, we hoped that they would help him actually learn math. I've worked at it for years and he wasn't on grade level. I thought they would have new programs to try, expertise to tap into, and lots of work for him to do. That's right, I expected homework.
I wanted homework for my son. It was the one way I felt I could still be a part of his education. I know other parents complain about the piles of schoolwork, but I would welcome it. He hasn't had homework in months, and before that it was only spelling words.....what happened to the spelling words? I've met with the teacher and asked her to send work home. I sat in the IEP meeting with the school's hierarchy and begged for them to allow me to help in his education. He's not getting an education from what they're doing at school..I know because he's still failing all the stupid assessment tests. Could they send something home for him to work on? No. They can not. Apparently.
Two days ago we were finally sent sheets of work to do with him. The problem is it's not anything academic. There is nothing in the booklet of worksheets to help educate him in anything he needs to know in order to graduate out of the third grade. For the next six weeks, my son has homework designed to teach him how to take a test. The booklet we were given is full of sample problems and questions that mimic the style of questions found in standardized testing.
I had heard the term "teaching to the test" and I assumed that that meant the teachers were instructing students in the exact areas of knowledge that would be on the test. Before I had a child in the school system, I thought that it wouldn't really be that bad because at least they would be learning something that kids their age should know. How dumb was I? Teaching to the test actually means teaching children how to take a multiple choice test. How exactly does this prepare them for life? The only multiple choice questions I face usually sound something like "Press one for English, Press two..." I don't think kids require special training for that.
For the next six weeks, this is what my son's school will be teaching their students. At a meeting this week, the staff informed the parents that we were expected to practice with our children every night and that they would be reviewing this information every day between now and the test date in April.
I know I'm not a professional educator. I have no degree in education, heck I don't have any degree at all...and yet.....It just seems to me that if we had had this level of intensive educational focus on his actual reading and math, #3 and his classmates would know how to figure out the answers on their own, and they wouldn't need six weeks of training to know how to bubble in the letter 'C'.