by Amy Tjaden
Homeschool.com News Editor
A recent Washington Post article highlights the work of author Robert Kunzman, an associate professor at the Indiana University School of Education. He has a new book out, “Write These Laws on Your Children: Inside the World of Conservative Christian Homeschooling.”
Kunzman followed six homeschooling families as they went about their normal, daily routines so he could observe and record why they were doing what they were doing.
I think most homeschoolers could read Kunzman’s book and appreciate his findings. However, I also think most homeschoolers would vehemently disagree with his idea that all homeschoolers should be tested for basic skills like math, and reading.
Kunzman seems to think that basic tests administered every two to three years would keep everybody happy. By “everybody” he means the public school educators who are growing increasingly worried as the rate of homeschooling in our country continues to grow. Apparently they view homeschoolers as ill-served and need to be reassured that parents know what they’re doing.
I do not believe in standardized testing. I once read on a message board where a guy said that if we do not believe in testing it is because we have something to hide. This comment irritated me. Maybe I don’t believe in testing because it is a pointless tool that does little to accurately reflect what a child has learned.
My children are reading chapter books so I know they can read. We discuss the books they read so I know they understand and are retaining what they read. There are all kinds of daily opportunities in which they can apply their knowledge of math. We do cooking projects that show me they understand fractions and conversion.
Standardized testing bothers me because I don’t get who it is that decides what the standard is. Who says all children should read by age 6 or that all kids should know multiplication by age 9? I really dislike the image of children on an assembly line who are being churned out like robots. Children are individuals and their education should reflect that.
HSLDA wrote an article in response to the Washington Post article. If you get a chance I suggest reading it. The author brings up some great points including the idea of “teaching to the test.” That is what schools do now. Once a state decides on a test then you must teach to the test. It is no longer about the natural process of learning for learning’s sake. It is no longer about allowing children to explore the world around them and follow their interests. You must pass the test and that becomes the focus.
The fact that homeschoolers don’t operate this way is why they excel in comparison to their public schooled peers. The freedom that comes with homeschooling and the ability to specifically tailor education to each child would be stripped away and homeschooling would be no better than the public school system.
Homeschoolers have nothing to hide. The majority of homeschoolers would test their public schooled counter parts right out of the water. There are even recent studies to support that. However, the bottom line comes down to this; it is none of the state’s business how we educate our children. Our children shouldn’t have to be subjected to standardized tests to prove a point.
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