We all know the classrooms our kids sit in these days are a far cry from what we saw as children. Besides the growing use of technology, schools and teachers are much more focused on Test Scores. Standardized tests have become the measuring stick used to determine if a school and its teachers are doing their job and if a student is “smart”.
As a parent, I’m here to tell you there are more to kids than Test Scores. While I reinforce the lessons my daughter learns at school, I also try to foster her imagination. Kids can equally show how bright they are by the ideas they come up with and the things they can create when given the chance.
Some kids are just not good Test Scores takers. That doesn’t mean they aren’t smart or that the teacher is not doing a good job. There are, and should be, other factors used to measure whether a child is successful at school. There are other skills that are just as important as whether a child is smart.
Start with the Basics
As a parent, we all hear about the importance of reading to our children. This should be a priority from birth. Of course, reading to our kids takes time. With many parents working multiple jobs, time is something that is hard to come by. Nevertheless, reading is the basis for so many things. It not only helps in building a rich vocabulary, but also helps kids build their imaginations. Read a child a story and chances are they’ll be able to tell you one later on. This is time well spent.
Kids need to know how to talk to other kids and adults. You could have the most “book smart” child in the world who doesn’t know how to interact with others. He or she may ace the standardized test, but can’t hold a conversation with a classmate. Kids need to be able to play with others and learn how to form relationships. This skill is just as important as anything else. Many times schools either forget this or are so absorbed in prepping kids for tests that there is no time for socialization.
Using Lessons in the Real World
Kids are taught how to add, subtract, multiply, and divide. Many can pass a math Test Scores with their eyes closed. But, bring them to a store to pay for something and they’re stumped. Here’s an example: An ice cream cone costs $2.52. Johnny has three dollar bills and two pennies. He could give the three dollars and get $.48 back, or he could pay with the $3.02 and get two-quarters back.
As an adult, I would opt to get two-quarters back rather than the $.48. The point is I would know I had the option. Many kids these days don’t. Teaching real world math is not only strengthening skills, but showing kids how it applies in everyday life.
If schools insist on putting so much emphasis on tests and Test Scores, they should also spend some time on developing the entire child. Let them play. Let them explore. Let them be creative and ask questions.
If you nurture the spirit, body, and mind, you will get a more well-rounded child. Chances are they’ll be a lot happier too.