Thursday, June 26, 2008

A Brace of Posts From My Lovely Bride

This is indeed a banner day.

Not only is this the three-hundredth post on Sometimes I'm Actually Coherent* (woohoo!), but my lovely bride has done two--count 'em, two--posts tonight. Now, occasionally I'll do two when I'm trying to make up my self-imposed quota. Tonya, on the other hand, is more sensible and only blogs when she thinks she has something worthwhile to say.

So, tonight I'm the proud husband of a woman who has two worthwhile things to say.

First, there's Teaching to the Test. She and I tend to be a bit down on the whole test-taking business. Yes, some kind of objective evaluation is needed in a traditional classroom setting to indicate (to the teachers, students, parents, and schools) how well the students are doing--and for that matter, how well the schools are doing, too. But in a one-on-one learning environment, most tests lose a great deal of their utility--most testing can be dispensed with.

However, there still occasionally are those circumstances where the kids will be evaluated by outsiders, and they need to prepare for those evaluations. Now, the Pillowfight Fairy isn't studying for the SAT or anything. Not for another year or so, anyway. ;-) But our church does have a game-show-format "Bible Challenge" once a year, and the Fairy wants to clean up. So, we've obtained the official list of questions (yes, it's that kind of game-show-format), and we're doing the kill-and-drill thing on them. We're not to keen on this, but the Fairy really wants that trophy, so she's motivated to learn.

Charlotte Mason would be appalled.

Anyway, Tonya then wrote the post When Should the School Year Start? Turns out, academic years are highly artificial constructs, much like all those tests: they have use in institutions where you have to teach a whole lot of kids at the same time, but the utility tends to go way down in one-on-one settings. This is especially true when the parents are making an effort at an age-integrated lifestyle, one in which kids aren't separated from adults or from kids of other age ranges. Nevertheless, it is necessary to be able to answer the question, "What grade is your kid in?" in a single sentence, without having to give four minutes worth of additional qualifications. (It's a little like trying to fill out a form when you don't have a middle name or initial. You often still have to put something in that spot, or the computer reading the form will choke.) Anyway, Tonya takes a crack at answering the question of what artificial date we should use when describing which artificial grade our flesh-and-blood kid belongs in.

Check it out. Show her some love.

*Ok. The sidebar is only showing 297. But blogger said this is my 300th. What gives? Unsure....

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