Thursday, January 29, 2009

Mr. Mom Chronicles 6

Resourceful or Wrong?

As Kathy is gone and she is the one who does homework with Eric, I have taken on that responsibility for this week. Among Eric's regular tasks is something called "Numerals" where a letter is assigned to sets of math equations. I assume that each student works at their own pace and advances through the sets which are assigned letters of the alphabet.

Currently Eric is on "K" which has added the equations 6+2, 2+6 and 9+9. In an earlier blog I noted how astonished I was at what Eric was learning in Kindergarten, but today I wondered seriously at whether or not Eric was really learning; hence the subtitle "Resourceful or Wrong?"

What I mean by that is that this particular homework task has a set of 80 math problems on the sheet, 40 on the top and 40 on the bottom. The idea is that the student is supposed to "practice" with the first 40 and then be timed to complete as many as possible, on the bottom 40, in a certain amount of time. What I noticed today, as we were working on his homework ahead of Wii time was that Eric was not necessarily memorizing the correct answers (the title of the worksheet is titled "Mastering Math Facts - Addition) as much as he was simply looking for a corresponding equation to fill in the appropriate answer.

What has me asking "Resourceful or Wrong?" is that part of me is glad that Eric is resourceful enough to look for the other equation so that he can fill in the correct answer, but where is the line between being resourceful and cheating; where is the line between learning and simply passing a test?

A few days ago I was amazed that my six year old was learning addition and today I began to wonder if he was simply fulfilling his part in some societal need to pass tests.

Am I just being an over-worrying parent or what?


  1. Unfortunately you have come across one of the biggest downfalls in our educational system today. "THE TEST" is supposed to be the best way to measure a student's progress, however it is an extremely flawed system. At this point, I can tell that Rosanna is learning, in spite of the awful testing. I think this is mostly because she has an EXCELLENT teacher. However, if there ever comes a time when memorization or "cheating" takes over, it may be a time to make a change. I'm sure that Eric will always be learning, especially since he has parents who are involved in the learning process and intelligent enough guide him through it.

    Best of Luck,

    P.S. Oh yeah, RELAX! Did you know those addition facts when you were 5?

  2. I agree with Shastina. When my kids were doing it there was alot of frustration at my house because of the timed portion. My kids knew the facts but weren't very fast and always took longer at passing the "40 in a minute". And unfortunatley the teachers gave treats when they passed making them feel more like failures when they didn't. I'm just glad we are past that point in their education and yes, RELAX, it will get better and yes, he is learning.