Thursday, April 28, 2011

You Know You're a Homeschool Mom When . . .

You have nightmares about those standard tests the kids took. Seriously!

Last night I dreamed that I got a notice in the mail on the flimsy paper people often use for receipts here. It said that Ethan had failed the math portion of the standard test and he would have to retake it. This seemed odd at first because he said the math was easy, but then I panicked a little. Then I woke up and gradually unpanicked as I realized it wasn't true. Yet. Nor likely to happen.

I fell asleep again, then dreamed that I got reports on both the kids, and neither of them had scored higher than the 20th percentile in anything. Mostly they were in the single digits. I had to wake up again and realize that while I don't know what scores our kids got, I'm fairly confident they won't be that low given that they said the tests were easy.

Now I know I told the kids we didn't really care what scores they get, but I think some dream analysis here might indicate that that is not entirely true.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Roots of Culture

At Ethan's request, we are currently studying Chinese history. It's fascinating! Did you know that the Great Wall as we know it isn't the one that was built during the Qin dynasty (the first dynasty when China was united as a country, and from which we get the name China) like everyone thinks? That one was further north. This one was actually built during the Ming dynasty, several hundred years ago. So much for thinking that thing is 2,000 years old.

But even more interesting was our study of the main philosophies of China - Confucianism, Daoism, Legalism, and Buddhism. The first two were developed during the Zhou dynasty, centuries before Christ, but as we read some of the tenants of them yesterday, we realized that the principles are still prevalent in Chinese culture today. For example, Daoism believes in non-interference with others; the Chinese will rarely step in and get involved in a situation that doesn't involve them. Or take Confucianism, which encourages education and harmony in familial relationships. These values are strong in Chinese society. And so on.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised, but since I have never met a Chinese person who says "I follow Confucius" or "I follow Daoism" it was surprising to see how much these philosophies have infiltrated their culture. I suppose it's similar to the ways that we still see Christian principles evident in American society, even if many do not profess Christianity. It's just lasted a lot longer here!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Standardized Testing

Today is day 3 of the kids participating in standardized testing. The tests are being conducted at one of the international schools in town. The kids were incredibly nervous about it before the first day, and I absorbed all their anxiety to the point where it made me sick the first day (good thing a friend of mine drove them down there!). We've learned a few things from this process:

1. Standardized tests are not that hard (or so the kids tell me). This was my main objective in sending them, so yay!

2. Megan wants to go to school (mostly because she's seen that some of her friends from church go there)

3. The amount of stress involved in getting the kids out the door by 7:15 is equal to or greater than the amount of stress I have in an average day, but crammed into 45 minutes. Yuck.

4. Never drive south from our house between 7-8 in the morning. It's just depressing how slowly you move.

Some unexpected lessons in there, but all in all it's accomplishing what we'd hoped - teaching them that tests aren't a big deal and seeing where they are lacking. I'll be glad when this is done though!