Monday, September 17, 2007

The good life

This is one of the weeks each year when I feel particularly joyful about homeschooling. The weather is fabulous. It is perfect for riding bikes, playing basketball, doing some planting and planning for next year, going to a park, picking apples, and just being alive.

That's what my kids are doing this week.

The rest of the neighborhood kids are taking the ISTEPs. The ISTEPs are Indiana's standardized test given in the fall to test what was learned the year before. It is a week of testing that holds way too much power over the fates of individual schools.

Many teachers see problems with the ISTEPs. They test the past year's learning, so the first weeks of school are review. Many schools spend tons of time teaching to the test. They are expensive and time-consuming. They are one of the many ways that good teachers are boxed in and controlled.

And our kids don't have to take them.

Instead today they went to Greek. In the car we talked about world politics and economics and Greenspan's new book. When we got home they did a spontaneous recitation/reenactment of a childhood favorite book, Where the Wild Things Are. After lunch they'll go outside. Heavy time in the books can come on the cold rainy days that are coming.

For now I'm going to grab my boys and head to the park.