"I have been described as a lighthouse in the middle of a bog: Brilliant but useless." ~ Connor Cruise O'Brien.
We are having a rough year. Some years are like that. I knew from experience that by the end of grade 10 my kids have had enough. They are waaay over being educated. Star is no different.
The National Curriculum is not helping. Schools are being squeezed into conformity ~ our umbrella school too. As a family we don't do conformity well. I am hoping Star will be all done before it gets really bad but we were struggling to get on top of her work before our end of term visit from our supervisor ~ not helped by some dodgy curriculum.
Our school is generally very good & we have always had a good bit of leeway. English & History have never presented a problem for us. Whether I have curriculum or not we do well. Star often nominates her area of interest & I go with that. I can usually put my hands on at least a couple of books she won't baulk at completely. I have never yet found a religious curriculum I like, let alone am happy with. However the school said she had to carry a religious component & nominated Frank Hamrick's The Life of Christ from John's gospel. Never'eardovit. Wish I never had. Now the link to a review is positive but I'm no Calvinist so when we started *digging deeper* I found myself baulking. I didn't like the tone. I didn't like the assumptions. I didn't like what I was reading. You cannot argue people into belief ~ which has never stopped people from trying. Even Paul is guilty of that one.
Now it is possible to work round someone else's theological dogma to some extent but I also find this text bits & piecey & if you've read here long enough you will know I abhor curriculum that does this. I loathe a little of this, a little of that & a pinch of something else. I am an immersion learner. I am an immersion teacher & Star is used to me. I was already going slightly nutty with a muttered running commentary under my breath that was hardly complementary when it occurred to me we needed to produce something for the school ~ which meant looking at the *digging deeper* topics. Ouch! No way, Hosea, was I touching a goodly portion of those topics. I was certainly not teaching them.
I expect many Christians will feel very differently about this curriculum but it is advertised as *non~denominational* yet teaches doctrine: the doctrine of the virgin birth, the Incarnation, Gnosticism & all the rest ~ & that by it's very nature means the writer must take a particular point of view. His does not happen to be mine. Spare me please! We don't need more Christians who can argue apologetics. We need more Christians who know Christ. It's not that I necessarily disagree with the doctrines discussed but I do dislike the way they are presented
I scoured the chapters we've read for something that wasn't going to have me frothing at the mouth, choosing the most harmless & secular which is a fairly meaningless exercise. Then there is the bullying tone: do this, don't do that .....fairly gets my back up. Just imagine what it would do to my child! I have to edit heavily. So I had to explain that we wouldn't be doing a fair bit of this curriculum, certainly not the tests because I couldn't *teach to the test* something I don't actually believe ~ at least not in the format in which it is presented.
If you like your Christianity hard & fast & straight down the line it will probably work for you but I am a Quaker. I'm not generally in the habit of telling people what to believe or how to believe it. I prefer to explore possibilities ~ which is a good bit messier I agree ~ & listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit & wait, sometimes a long time, for understanding.
Our supervisor is lovely ~ one reason we didn't want to lose her. There is something about working with other Christians, particularly Christians of the gentle persuasion. M arrived with her hubby W in tow. We have met him before & he is absolutely adorable~ a big one~of~a~kind man with an insatiable curiosity about everything, a deep love of God & a sweetness when dealing with messy human beings. He is an ex~Anglican pastor & we are always delighted to see him. Dearest stowed him in the car & off they went to see what had changed since W was last here.
Meanwhile M & Star sat down to do battle with Star's math. Star was not feeling co~operative. Math does that to her. It really brings out the worst in her. It brings out the worst in me too & let's face it; Star knows perfectly well I never did any math for grades 11 & 12 & I still have a uni degree. Actually, although it was a required subject, I hadn't actually done any math in years. I had the text books. I sat through the classes. I occasionally made random scribbles on paper but seeing how none of it made a single iota of sense to me it would have been a huge waste of everyone's time except I redeemed the time by reading under the table. Perhaps I shouldn't admit that but as my children never tire of pointing out, I don't do bored well, & math bores me terribly. And M knows she is on her own dealing with Star because my honest opinion ~ it's a waste of everyone's time forcing my child to do math. We are all over it. So is M as it turns out. She thumbed through the work we had managed ~ about 3/4 of the booklet, quickly worked out Star had understood very little of it & cared less & admitted defeat. Star couldn't believe her ears!
I don't know how we are going to do this one because every text I've looked at I've known neither Star nor I can do. Oh we can do bits of it but as soon as multiple steps are required our eyes start glazing ~ & multiple steps are required. Take one ADD child & one clueless mother & you have a recipe for mathematical disaster. And just so you all know; I manage the finances in this house. I do the budget, pay the bills, balance the cheque book ~ & I have done all our married life. Star can do all those things too. She can go at least one better because she can work out the sales thingy. And that is what makes me so cross. Star can do the everyday stuff very well. She is actually really, really good at that. She manages her small income from pocket money well enough to be able to buy a lot of her own clothing ~ & trust me; on our income she doesn't get very much pocket money. She has saved out of that enough to pay for her ticket to Easterfest this year. Liddy has agreed to take her if she can pay her own way. She can work out, perhaps not according to textbook formula, how much material she needs for a sewing project. She's a bright girl. When she needs math for something she can work it out but doing exercises for the sake of it...? who in their right mind wastes their time like that? ~ & despite what some people seem to think, Star is very definitely in her right mind.
Everybody but us pothers about Star & her math but why? See Star's not the only child I've had educational issues with & I have learnt something very important. God, who designed our children, gave them everything they need to survive in this world. My hugely dyslexic child has zero comprehension from the written word. That's right ~ zero! Yet he has multiple qualifications across a variety of fields~ fields where he could be the hands on learner he is. The one who barely scraped a grade 10 pass & hated math joined the army to do computer techno stuff & aced algebra ~ a subject he'd never looked at before. I could give example after example. My kids are different learners. They work best with a huge amount of autonomy & flexibility. Every child is different & that is the first reason why a National Curriculum is doomed to failure before it even begins. People are not conveyor belt parts. Not everybody is going to learn the same things at the same rate. Not everybody is going to be interested in the same things. After the basics are mastered it should very much become a matter of personal preference. The only real requirement is being able to read. A person who can read can master anything, anything at all.