Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Finding some good in our schools :D

I have to say that, although we are sitting around discussing homeschooling and trying to make a decision and researching and researching some more and playing devil's advocate, and every pitfall I can come up with, when Jason and I put our heads together or when Jason, the girls and I all put our heads together, we come up with a solution...I have to say that while all that is going on, I have been kind of impressed with what is going on at their respective schools.  Of course, I think SOME of this goodness is because the standardized test taking is over and it's almost the end of the year and things are winding down...But...A is making a mobile of state facts in Social Studies and she is coming home asking us if we know the state bird, state flower, where such and such is, what the biggest lake in the state is, the legend of Jenny Jump Mountain, etc. In Reading, A is now reading an actual novel,"Number the Stars" and she is really enjoying it and the teacher is encouraging them to write summaries and to do outside research on WWII.  The teacher has actually written little sheets where she tells them about a researcher's job and asks them to pretend that they are a researcher.  In addition, in Writing, A is writing poetry and the teacher is encouraging them to use two really fun websites in class.  A loved the websites so much that she wanted to show them to P and I and to use them at home!  I haven't seen her this is excited about learning....EVER.  I wonder if it's that she knows the end of the year is almost here, or if it is that everyone is more laid back because it is almost the end of the year or if the teacher is suddenly free to be creative because she is not being held to the Core Curriculum of Standards at this point in the end of the school year.

P is doing a play in her class.  She is also being encouraged to think about the reading selections in a new way--such as, does this remind you of anything else you have read?  does it remind you of anything in your own life?  what would you do in this situation?  And her teacher is writing nice little notes about her responses.  I do have to say that P's teacher has actually been really good all year.  In library the other day, the librarian turned out the lights and made all the kids sit on the floor and pretend they were camping, while the librarian read books about camping with a flashlight!

I don't know if my girls don't tell me about the good, fun, creative things that their teachers do during the year or if the teachers are just suddenly free to do good, fun, creative things because "test season" is over.  I do believe  that this is how GOOD teachers want to teach (and wasn't the purpose of NCLB to weed out the bad teachers?  Not to make the good teachers conform to some core set of standards?)  I also believe with all my heart (and maybe I'm crazy!) that kids learn better when learning is fun and creative.  They learn more from making a mobile of facts or using the facts in a creative way than they do from just memorizing lists of facts that they teacher has transcribed for them and being constantly reminded of how many days away the NJ ASK is!