The things that pass for knowledge, I can’t understand…

Well, last week I had someone “test” one of my daughters for the first time. The woman is a preschool teacher whose son plays t-ball with my older daughter. So we’re sitting there watching practice and my 2 1/2 brings her ball over. The woman starts asking my little one what color her ball is and what shape. When she gets the responses she was looking for, the woman smiles and says, “I can see your mom has been doing her job.”

I knew exactly what she was doing when she started asking questions. She was testing my daughter because she knows we homeschool. It’s hard to describe which emotion I felt first. There was the smugness when my little one answered correctly. There was the disgust at the audacity of this woman testing my child; would she do that to a child that she knew went to preschool? (Not to mention that my little one isn’t even old enough for preschool yet.) There was the embarrassment of being given credit for something that I am not sure that I deserve. There was a certain pride in hitting a homeschooling milestone, even if it is a ridiculous one.

I wonder how many more times my kids will be tested in this manner by skeptics as we go through our homeschooling journey, and I wonder if they will “pass” or “fail”.  I know that schooled kids get “tested” regularly, but they are always told before hand what will be on the test.  (That in itself makes one wonder if learning retention is truly being measured or just study, memorization, and testing ability.)  What if my daughter doesn’t know the names and order of every President of the U.S. or a million other little “facts” that her random tester thinks that she should know by a certain age?  “Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader?” just proves that the things that pass for knowledge in school do not always relate to one’s ability to function in adult life.

And I have long held the belief that there is a thin line between genius and stupidity as well as genius and insanity.  Living in an Honors dorm in college I saw a lot of very “brilliant” people who could barely function in society (and none of them were homeschooled).  So, I don’t strive to turn my kids into geniuses.  If they happen to be geniuses, well, I don’t know if I would deserve the credit or not.  I figure as long as they can read, write, and do basic math everything else is will fall into place.  It’s much important to me that my children develop critical thinking skills than rote memorization skills.

Anyways, most people today are judged by their knowledge of pop culture rather than their knowledge of history or science.  I sometimes think that people worry about “poor little homeschooled kids” because they might be missing out on the latest fads at school rather than the actual content of the text books.

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2 Comments on “The things that pass for knowledge, I can’t understand…”

  1. Jody Says:

    Honestly as your child/children get older you will get more Pop Quizzes asked of them. Mine are eight and six now and they do get quizzed by people at times. Especially those that are teachers or former teachers. Other’s do it too but the majority, for us anyway, it seems is teachers. We either get the quizzes or more commonly with other parent’s are questions like oh they must be so smart then huh? (why people think if you homeschool your children are geniuses I don’t know LOL. Granted my older son is a little more advance for his age he isn’t two or three grade levels ahead *sigh* and my younger son is right on target). Or of course the even dreaded what about socialization? All though since the California ruling the big question seems to be. Are you qualified? As if all school teachers are teaching the subjects which they majored in. Just keep trucking along and just remember most of the people that are asking these questions really don’t know what homeschooling is all about so it’s best to just answer their questions quickly and move on LOL.

  2. Kelly Says:

    You should write to Miss Manners and ask what remark is appropriate when people volunteer to test your children for you without asking your consent first. She always has exactly the right thing to say that isn’t too rude, but gets the point across.

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