I’m interrupting this blog for a brief rant.

We are relunctant home schoolers. I wasn’t my original plan. And Katie insists she’s returning to “real school” next year. (We’ll see…) Anyway, I want to keep her somewhat on par with what fifth graders in California are doing. So I bought this workbook based on California Standards for language for fifth grade.

So we are plugging away today on a worksheet and while I think a lot of it is pretty lame, we kind of tolerate it. Joke about it. And I focus on teaching her about taking tests, how to answer based on what they want (not what makes sense) and that sort of thing. And then we come across this. I promise, this is the actual paragraph that cues up a set of questions:

“It happened that in the reign of Emperor Xaviar of Zelnod, a law was passed by Lord Vilma that all Utentots must leave Trivoli and move to Abundia,” began Roland.

First, you should see what spell check thinks of that insane sentence – I read fantasy and sci-fi, but not as part of a test. Second though, and more importantly, what is the point of being so overly complex? We know we have kids who are learning to read, some for whom English is a second language. It’s fifth grade! This is just a cluster. It creates more problems than it solves and out of context, it’s totally nuts. It sets kids up to fail.

I am starting to become a bit of a home school fanatic. I am starting to understand what folks are fighting for. I am starting to believe this is one of the best things I have ever done for my daughter and even for me. She is learning so much this year and it’s not based on “standards”. It’s based on life, context, meaning, purposefulness and interest.

Okay – I think I feel better now. I just had to vent. Wow.