I gave Malachy a random spelling test last week, just to see how he would do. I used the Livescribe Smartpen, which is quite the nifty geek gadget, which I demoed in a previous post. After the assessment, we started going over all the words. When we came to a word that he misspelled (were should have been where), I told him that he missed just one letter. He immediately wanted to correct it, but I told him it was okay. He started getting misty-eyed. He said he didn’t want to tell Mommy. I told him he did an awesome job, and that it’s okay to make mistakes and that we all make mistakes. I told him we were so proud of him and that we all learn and make mistakes. He calmed down. He was all good as we went over the rest of the words. When we went over another misspelled word, he said, “It’s okay. See?” WHEW! 😉
The thing is I could easily turn into grill and drill mode, and test him everyday. (As a teacher, this is why standardized testing just maddens me.) He’d get better and better at it, and be “prepared” for what was coming. Also, the “gifted” test for Kindergarten is coming up this year for Malachy.
Two parties arise within me with two voices. One is telling me (okay, yelling), “DON’T DO IT! YOU’LL BURN HIM AND YOURSELF OUT!” The other one says (just as loudly), “WELL, YOU CAN’T JUST SIT THERE AND DO NOTHING, while others are spending hundreds if not thousands on test prepping their kids!” (They say it might even start at age 3 next year! INSANITY!) Yes, I could easily ask people who have proctored these “gifted” tests for insider information, but no way, that’s cheating and just not the way I would want Malachy to “earn” a seat, if he does make it into one. “AI YA!” I say to both parties. What happened to the days of just going to your zoned school, where everyone had a fair share of a quality education?
So, I’ve decided to just give him a taste every now and then (MODERATION), with what materials are available for all parents in NYC, just so he knows what to expect when he does take these tests. The other day we went through that OLSAT (Otis-Lennon School Ability Test) Practice Test. I told him that this was coming sometime in the future, and to just do his best. As we went over it, I was thinking how crazy it must be for those parents who don’t use these materials out there or aren’t aware of them, and how hard it must be for those children who just take these tests cold turkey. It’s just not right… 🙁
Below are links to other fellow blogging dads. Check them out! 😉