Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Fifth Grade Benchmarks, part 2

Benchmarks, part 2

Have you looked at the bench marks for 5th grade? They are filled with statements that seem broad and generalized. Here is an example: Your fifth grader should be generally truthful and dependable.

Which part of that are you to focus on? Generally truthful? What does that mean? Or are you supposed to concentrate on the “dependable” part? And wouldn’t those two things be relative, depending on how truthful and dependable your child was as a fourth grader? Are we measuring improvement? This one seems all touchy-feely to me. Here is another one, “Enjoys classifying and organizing objects and ideas.”

What?! Does this mean my fifth grader should enjoy organizing her toys? My child is what some might consider a chaotic child. She doesn’t like anything to be organized. She equates organized with structured. Structured makes her dig in her heels and balk like a stubborn mule. Apparently, we will not be fulfilling that benchmark in fifth grade, or maybe ever.

I am not new to homeschooling , as I have been providing home education to my children since the middle of first grade, we are now in fifth grade. I look at the bench marks for each year, and find that they are just inadequate to tell me what my child needs to know, or how much my child needs to know. I understand that there are many ways to measure whether my child is being successfully home educated, and that those ways include standardized testing. I am unwilling to use standardized testing as a sole means of knowing whether my child knows “enough”. There are so many things that my fifth grader needs to know that can’t be measured on a bubble test. Over the next weeks and months, I hope to give you a picture of what those benchmarks mean to us, and how we use them and other measures to try to ensure that my fifth grader is up to par. I don’t claim to be the authority on this, but I hope that by sharing what we do and comparing to others, we can figure out if we are having a successful fifth grade year. I hope to be sharing other things that relate to our curriculum in general, and to the scope and sequence listed for fifth grade. So far this year has been different than the previous years. Won’t you join me on this journey?

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