by Denise Krebs
I’m moving soon. We are on the countdown, and it’s now 12 days to moving day.
This is a move of prodigious proportions. We have sold our house and furniture. We are going through all our additional belongings and saving only the most important. We have digitized VHS tapes, micro tapes, and even home movies on DVDs.
Today I went through all the saved school work from grades K-8 of Daughter #1.
AR certificates, math worksheets, spelling tests
So much of what I looked through was easy to decide what to do with. Into the trash can went high stakes test results, report cards, Accelerated Reader certificates, and worksheets.
It doesn’t matter if a student is a high achiever or a low achiever, no parent wants to have years worth of test scores and reports cards that give little information about who their child really is. Most of the report cards had meaningless letter grades with few heartfelt comments. Year after year of high stakes test results don’t show anything worth knowing about my daughter or her education.
Those A.R. certificates remind me of how teachers over the years required my children to read on their tested level. That’s one way to squelch the love of reading–telling a sixth grader she has to read books on a high school level. Really? What is the purpose of Accelerated Reader anyway? It doesn’t promote a love of lifelong reading.
Worksheets. We have stored hundreds of our daughter’s worksheets over the last two decades. Really, no child has ever been deeply invested in a worksheet, have they? Twenty years later and that is even more evident. These were easy to throw away. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for all the hours my daughter wasted on some of these activities.
This looked hopeful…
What was in the proud papers folder? More worksheets.
Ironically, I didn’t save one piece of paper from the Proud Papers Folder. This teacher didn’t understand that what makes a child proud is not papers marked with 100% or “Great Job.” Children are proud when they invest in authentic work and do an excellent job because they are passionately involved.
To be sure, there were many items to save. I now have half a tub of letters, science fair reports, artwork, proposals, (my favorite is a “professionally” written proposal to her dad and me for turning our pool house into a club house for her and her friends). Today, while looking through her things, I had fun reading her beautiful poetry and the personal experience narratives that made me laugh and remember.
Some she did all on her own, outside of class. Some were assigned by teachers, like this Pandora’s box made during a unit on ancient Greece.
But all are authentic and creative. That’s what I saved.
Horrible things in Pandora’s Box, like spinach and Brussels sprouts