Saturday, March 7, 2009

Achievement Tests

This week the 3rd and 4th grades at Kaylin's school took the state achievement tests. I vaguely remember filling in the circles with a Number 2 pencil. I think we spent one day testing and the teachers treated it as a necessary inconvenience. I don't recall ever practicing for the tests and I don't remember being at all nervous or stressed about them.

Kaylin's class has been practicing for weeks. She talked about the tests like they were the most important thing in the universe. The tests stretched out over five days. Parents were asked to bring in healthy snacks and according to Kaylin, there was a daily "buffet." I had kind of been ignoring Kaylin's dramatic explanations about the tests until Monday morning...

Kaylin woke up so nervous she didn't want to eat breakfast. She was actually terrified about achievement tests! Gene and I calmly explained that the teachers are incredibly concerned about the tests because it has to do with how much money the school gets. They want every kid to do their best because it matters to the school. We went on and on about how doing her best IS good enough, and that is ALL that is required of her. If she doesn't know an answer, fill in a dot and move on. No big deal!!!! She calmed considerably after our talk. Kaylin even ended up enjoying the week of testing with tons of snacks and extra recess and free time. She was kind of sad it was over.

Still, Kaylin told me Monday night that one of the other girls was so nervous she "peed herself." WHAT???? I love Kaylin's teacher and find her significantly more realistic and reasonable than past teachers, but c'mon! A group of 8 and 9-year-olds shouldn't be THAT stressed-out about a test! Sheesh! Something needs to change! I would imagine the level of stress that would cause a THIRD GRADER to pee her pants would also reflect poorly on her overall test scores! Wow. Just wow.

Moving on, it seems we're all finally out of our post vacation funk. The kids are both back into the school routine. All make-up work is long finished. Logan's whining about having to go to school has stopped. I'll say it one last time, I'll never again take the kids out for two weeks! It was the Best Vacation Ever, but it was soooo hard to recover!

I like going to work so my funk hit me at home on my days off. I had to FORCE myself to do any and all of my routine obligations. Laundry was the most horrendous chore in the universe. The thought of grocery shopping was torture. When I finally gathered my tax forms yesterday, the terrible chore I'd been avoiding (calculating the kids' daycare expenses) took about 3 minutes. I also spent the past FOUR weekends avoiding getting a haircut because the thought of waiting in the haircut place was too overwhelming to consider. Yesterday, it was (gasp) no big deal. I'm quite glad to be back to normal because seriously, WHAT A BUNCH OF WASTED TIME AND ENERGY OVER NOTHING!!!!!

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