Arugh! I wrote a post about education, but somehow it got lost in cyberspace. Because it is after 11pm, and because my eyes are getting fuzzy, I will have to make do with the quick and dirty version.
Public Schools Flunk Out. Only 34% of ninth graders who took the new STAAR test passed English 1 Writing and Reading. Our students deserve better. Public schools ought to take a page from homeschoolers and try other curriculum, such as Institute for Excellence in Writing. My daughter began using IEW in the second semester of her 4th grade year.
Here is my daughter working on her novel. So far she has written over 43,000 words in 212 pages. However, she was not born knowing how to write any more than she was born knowing how to walk. When she first started the IEW program, she dictated her writing to me using a key word outline. I helped her compose quality adjectives, alternate phrasing, alliteration, and other writing techniques. After about a year of us working on writing together (usually one paper per week), she stopped needing my intensive help. Now my role has switched to editor; however, I foresee one day soon when she will step into my shoes and edit me!
If you are a parent of a student, hear me out. Do not expect your child to automatically know how to write. Writing is a skill that can be learned by any student. If your child’s teacher is not giving him clear-cut, objective guides to follow, then it is your right as a taxpayer AND as a parent to request an alternate curriculum, such as IEW. Be involved. Be aware.
Being a homeschooling parent does not mean I ignore public education. My money goes to public schools, too, and I believe our students deserve better. Not more test preparation. Not more benchmark tests. Not any teaching to the test lessons. Teach students to compose solidly well-written and organized five paragraph essays with a variety of purposes — persuasive, informative, demonstrative, descriptive — and you have built yourself a springboard for teaching them to write anything.
Our children hold the future in their hands. School districts need to embrace new ways of teaching. Take a few pages from the homeschooling playbook. Experiment with multi-age classrooms. Allow parents to have greater participation. Offer parent writing workshops so they will be equipped to help their children improve…lest we end up flunking the future.