Saturday, January 15, 2011

Teaching to test and it's all about the numbers...

I've been thinking more recently about an email list I am on. I have seen a lot of activity regarding the CMT’s – which is a standardized test…all Public School children in Connecticut are evaluated with these evidently. Some homeschooling mama’s are wondering if they should have their children evaluated as well, or if they should find auxiliary tutoring that focuses on standardized testing by state.

For the record – homeschooled children really don’t need to do this, but it seems to have some parents all worked up and they want it, so it’s a good thing that there are resources out there for the parents to utilize for their kid's test preparation. Mine are far too young for it but personally I would be more concerned with SAT courses. That seems to me to be far more where the attention should be focused.

When talking to another parent in a production that my first grader is currently in, his statement was as follows...“they tell you off the record, it's all about those numbers, it controls the funding and what help the kids can get."

He is the dad of fraternal twin boys, both are kinesthetic learners. Homeschooling appealed to him for the purpose of being able to design a curriculum around his children's specific learning style and needs. It's a shame that we've forgotten that kids need to learn for learning’s sake, not to become statistics.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Getting back into the swing of things

So welcome to 2011... hard to believe that the year has rolled around as fast as it has. But here we are and January has such wonderful things to learn such as cooking, art, the color wheel...

The Color Wheel?

Ok – so when I start these entries I'm not fully sure where they will take me, but I use what we are doing in our everyday to inspire the posts, so today I will write about yarn dying and fiber processing. Spinning wool is a great way to teach Math...a certain volume of raw fiber will convert to so much processed fiber – cleaning the wool to take debris and lanolin out will reduce the weight. Measuring before and after cleansing the raw wool will show the difference, and my first grader loves the entire process...carding the wool into equal sized cigar shaped rolags, and setting them upon the digital scale to see how close to the perfect match that each can be.

After spinning the wool up we put it on a tool called a Niddy Noddy in two yard circles, which enables the lesson of counting by twos. Once the yarn is put into a skein the whole process of setting the twist is great fun...Look up at the title of this post...getting back into the swing of things? I swing the yarn in circles and thwack it on a counter for good measure. Then we measure out what we need to for dyeing the yarn in hot water and the shades of koolaid we are looking for, wrapping it in cling wrap and placing it all in a bowl, then microwaving it until the color is set.

All these things together integrate a wholistic learning method and reinforce the lessons that our formal curriculum teach.