View From The Glen

Thursday, May 31, 2012

What are we thinking?


As an update to my EQAO post, there is one fun thing that comes out of it. It started when Erik was in grade 3 and dreaded them. I tucked little notes in his lunch with quotes from his favourite movies and linking them to his tests. My punniness caught on, and a year later, he made me make some for Anna too.

This year they ran the tests over six days instead of three, so I made six of these little motivational notes for both Erik and Grace. The Yoda and Aragorn ones are my original notes, updated this year to include pictures. The others are all new this year.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Evil Questions Attacking Ontario

Yes, it is that time of year again. EQAO time.
EQAO is the standardized testing Ontario schools conduct in grades 3 and 6. It really stands for Education Quality and Accountability Office - a name which, to me, speaks volumes about this particular round of tests. But the kids call it Evil Questions Attacking Ontario, and like the testing about as much as can be expected.

So kids hate the six half days of testing in reading, writing and arithmetic.

Teachers aren't fond of it either. Schools and boards downplay results.

Parents - at least the ones I speak to - think it's a waste of time and a big stress on the kids. We are concerned that teachers are teaching to the test instead of teaching our children what they need to know. We think there might just be better uses of classroom time.

So if kids, teachers and parents aren't on board, it kinda begs the question...who are these tests for?

We are told the tests are only a snapshot of our child's ability. That the test is to make sure curriculum is being taught effectively across the province. That school ranking needs to take into account numerous factors in addition to the test results. That it doesn't really identify a specific child's strengths and/or weaknesses. That it doesn't affect grades or performance. That it is just one of many tools used to measure school success.

Which basically seems to mean the test has relatively little value to anyone. Except perhaps the Education Quality and Accountability Office. Whatever that is.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Books, Covers and Reviewers

I really wanted to read this. The title, borrowed from Edgar Alan Poe, the cover art, and the Victorian steampunk setting all appealed to me.

But then I read a review in Dear Author.

And I have changed my mind.

I don't know if it is fair or not. I have always judged books by covers and with that approach you win some, you lose some. Mostly, I would say, I have won.

Not so the author. Not in this case at least.

I trust the writers at Dear Author, even when I disagree with them. I am able to read between the lines of a poor review to determine if what they are saying is something that would also bother me, or whether I am willing to take the risk and buy the book. I am able to look at great reviews and still decide not to read the book. Reviewing is a collaboration between the reviewer and the potential reader, and for many reasons today, is so important.

I ignore yay/nay reviews. People who say "I love..." or "I hate..." this book with no justification for either. To me a worthy review is one that is critical, that has a depth of analysis to it that goes beyond whether the reviewer "liked" the book or not. In my opinion. you can dislike a book and still give it a fair and balanced review.

Every time I finish a book on Goodreads, I am asked to rate the book. I can rate quickly, but when it comes to commenting, I really don't have time to craft a thorough analysis. Most of the time I leave that section blank or dash off a quick line that really says nothing at all and that leaves me dissatisfied. That is not book review. Not to my mind.

More and more, I need book reviews. Someone I trust making a recommendation helps me decide what to read in what feels like an ever-widening circle of available literature. The pace has stepped up like never before and there are no signs of a slow down in the industry so I need a way to filter, to narrow down my choices.

To be a book reviewer is to wield great power. And to those that wield it wisely, my hat is off to you.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Mom Enough

My kids (ages 12, 10, 9) are all of the following:

  • Happy
  • Healthy
  • Thoughtful
  • Considerate
  • Compassionate
  • Confident
  • Adventurous
  • Independent
  • Intelligent
  • Polite
  • Tough
  • Able to stand up for themselves
  • Fit
  • Laughing, crazy, fun-loving machines
Regardless of whether I embraced attachment parenting or not, whether I breast fed or not, whether I taught them to ride bikes or not, whether I worked or not, whether I fed them only organic vegetables or not, whether I let them play video games or not, whether I read them Tolstoy while they were still in the womb or not...all those things, it seems, have little to do with the outcome.

I loved them. Am I mom enough? You betcha. 

Take that Time Magazine.

PS: Wasn't going to get into the fray, really, truly was not. But ya know, I get so so SO tired of moms being pitted against each other for the choices we all make. There are more important things to worry about than whether my neighbour co-sleeps with her child or not.

PPS: Happy Mother's Day to all the awesome moms out there raising awesome kids.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

That is all

This makes me happy today.

This does not.

That is all.