Saturday, November 16, 2013

Rescheduling in Reverse

The truth is that schools don't really teach anything except how to obey orders. ~John Taylor Gatto

I will concede that I, perhaps, just have an aversion to schools. Schools, even ones that are hand-picked, home-like meeting in a remodeled ranch house, highly inspirational and encouraging, and wonderfully honoring of God, are still schools. They have rules, schedules, classrooms, grading, tests, homework, and inflexible project deadlines. Well, inflexible for us, but not necessarily for them.

I understand the need to change schedules. Our homeschool has to have a higher degree of flexibility with my husband traveling so much, but both my husband and I have deadlines in our lives, so I think it is good for the Princess to experience them from outside sources as well. She has done this for many years with piano recitals and judging, but most of these deadlines get moved back if they are moved at all, which is rare.

The syllabus had the science presentations scheduled for the two weeks between the Thanksgiving break and the Christmas break, but there was also the warning that the schedules could change at the bottom of the page in finer print. About a month ago, the teacher flipped two weeks of planned lessons due to a planned trip that obviously was move to the week before. It is understandable that such things happen, however...

This week on Tuesday afternoon, my husband and I received an email to "clear up the confusion" that the science presentations for my daughter's class would be on...(Are you ready for this?)...the following day, Wednesday. Clearing it up? Ha! That is when the real confusion began in my house!

Now the Princess probably had been warned in class, but we parents were not and our thoughts were why not revise the syllabus or send out emails about this change a few weeks ago? I have been trying to let the child take on this responsibility fully for herself in regards to her science class, but still, the presentations are such a major project and high percentage of their grades...AND since the parents are invited, one would expect the school to be sure the announcement of the schedule change was given a few weeks in advance with greater priority than all the other emails about donations, upcoming events, like yard sales and a silent auction, and the food pantry collections! (This may be one of the reasons I have aversions toward schools.)

The Princess knew her facts and had everything ready except that she had not practiced her presentation in front of us, so we crammed that should have been done over the next couple of weeks into one night. I was impressed with how well she knew the information that she herself had researched. Unfortunately, she was a bit scattered in her delivery, so we gave her some pointers and tried to get her to hold up the dried starfish that I had shipped in for this presentation.

The Princess told me adamantly that she could not use notes during the presentation. However, my husband and I attended the presentations and of the nine presentations we watched, all but three, including the Princess, used (at least) outline notes, three read word for word either what they had typed out on paper or on their Power Point presentation. They all gave very interesting information on the various Fifth Day creatures they had chosen, but still the ones who read the entire time had boring deliveries.

The presentations were supposed to be a solid seven minutes to ten minutes and every student was to present twice to give the other students in the rotation the opportunity to see at least nine of the eleven presentations. The very first one we attended was done in under a minute--not kidding, we had just settled in our seats and it was over in four or five sentences. A couple students went well over ten minutes.

How did the Princess do? I think the Princess made it to between 4 to 6 minutes, because she dropped different facts between the two presentations and the second one was rushed due to her being the last one and we had to finish by a set time. She did fine for her very first presentation ever, but not knowing how she should have done would have improved any assessment. I tried to get her to practice her opening statement a little dramatically, for which she has a knack any other time: "The Crown of Thorns Starfish is the second largest starfish, the most destructive one and is poisonous!" Too bad she forgot to begin with this line the second time when her teacher was watching to assess the presentation, but her last line thrilled her teacher: "The thing I like most about the Crown of Thorns Starfish is that was named after the crown of thorn placed on Jesus' head."

The one thing that I think the teacher was hoping for is the thing that most of the students did not do, except for my daughter and one or maybe two others. That would be to relate some thing(s) to God with their creatures of choice, and it was obvious that she was thrilled when they did. I would have given my Princess a B grade, but this school seems to be easy on its grading, which bothers my husband as she has been getting all A's so far, and the focus seem to be on the students having the experience of giving a presentation, so we shall see.

~ My Lord, help me to stay the course with the reasons we had enrolled our daughter into this school. Help my husband and I both to see beyond the institution and its disorganized organization to its heart, which is to excite the children about the wonders of this world that You created for us and honor You in it all. Please continue to bless this school and all the students, teachers, and families. Be along side of my daughter in her class and interactions reminding her of Your presence in her life in all she does and open her ears to instructions, especially when there are changes in schedules. ~

1 comment:

  1. Libby is calling for prayer for this weekend. If I get time later I will email details. Sorry to do this to your blog but my email has issues & a prayer call is a serious thing. We need to catch up soon. ♥♥


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