Family photo 2013

Family photo 2013

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

What It Can Not Do

Our oldest 4 kids received their Iowas State Standardized Testing results  yesterday during their last day of school-for-homeschoolers. This is Jayla and Onyx's second year participating and the first time for Meadow and Tyden. In both instances, I have excitedly (somewhat nervously) anticipated the results.

In some ways I feel the tests are a truly telling sign of where the kids perform academically in comparison to their peers, and in other ways I find them a ridiculously over processed, vastly categorized, rigidly underestimating, dull and boring having nothing whatsoever to do with real life multiple choice waste of time and valuable energy that could be spent on things like, I don't know, say worthwhile education. Be that as it may, it is a gauge nonetheless, and I see learning to perform well on tests such as this a necessary step in our culture, especially for those children who would like to pursue higher education in the form of a university, (for which their parents are not paying.) Scholarships, babies...they are the key to your academic future.

As I was giving the results a good perusal and I counted the categories on which they were tested one by one, I thought about the innumerable types of knowledge these children possess that tests like this could never quantify.

Her Iowa State Test Results do not tell you that Jayla is able to bake delicious apple pies from scratch, without using a recipe or how she makes dinner alone for her family those evenings while I am away. They won't convey how exceedingly skilled she is with little children and that she will soon be the most competent babysitter on the planet or that she is the most creative, resourceful artist I've ever known, one who is continually constructing homemade gifts for her younger siblings.

They can't tell you about Onyx's extraordinary love of nature and his appreciation of all that is outdoors and how he can swing an ax to chop wood like a boy twice his age, whittle just about anything his heart desires from a stick, and clean a chicken coop like a pro. They couldn't possibly encapsulate the contribution his bright and sunshiny disposition is to our home. They don't relate how hard Tyden has worked this year on himself and the improvements he has made in managing his emotions or his freakishly extraordinary recall for movie phrases and song lyrics and the ability he has to get the entire family roaring in laughter all at the same time. They couldn't possibly contain the blood, sweat and tears our sweet Meadow has poured into learning how to be a family girl and the way she is gaining confidence day by day and learning to use her voice and find herself valuable and worthy and wonderful and lovable. They don't speak of her servant's heart or the sweetness that resides deep within her soul. They don't tell of her patience to work with Flint in helping him along and listening to him read or what a tremendous example she is to him in her ability to overcome an unwelcome start to life that could have almost been insurmountable as it was nearly too much for either one of them to bear.

They won't tell you of our children's budding desire to care for their physical bodies by preparing and savoring healthy foods or how they have learned resourcefulness through a year of buying almost exclusively second hand. They don't talk about how they grow vegetables in the ground and dance in the rain and memorize entire chapters of the Bible at once. They won't relay the dozens of children's novels we have read as a family or their knowledge of all things Little House on the Prairie or the manners we learn over nightly dinner at the table or lessons taught in sportsmanship through football and basketball and skinned knees and sibling squabbles and resolutions that lead to true, enduring brotherly love. They don't tell of the skits they write and the plays they work together to produce for their parents' entertainment or of the myriad of chores they do and how they are developing skill at contributing to the functioning of a household. They won't describe the lessons they have learned in hospitality and investing effort in preparing a place for guests or the letters they write to their great grandparents or the impact adoption has had on their compassion or how their lives have been forever altered by becoming brothers and sisters with those whose skin color is as different from their own as night and day. They don't speak of prayer and faith and doubt and sin and forgiveness and grace and nurture and honor and deep abiding love that is faithful through thick and thin and recognizing their own need for a savior and discovering that as we are helpers we are also, all of us, in need of help.

So while I am proud of the accomplishments of my children for testing well, so very proud of their hard work and commitment to academics, even more, I am thankful for the gift of each of one them, for the young people they are and the adults they will one day become. For teaching me as I teach them. For the privilege of living and learning and falling and rising up again in their presence, day after day, all for one and one for all, my precious little Deutschlets...

1 comment:

Heather said...

Love, love, love, this, Tish!!

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