Google+ Authentic Parenting: It Doesn't Exist If It's Hasn't Been Tested

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

It Doesn't Exist If It's Hasn't Been Tested

I learned to knit when I was a child. I think I picked it up from my grandmother, who was an avid knitter. I don't really remember how I learned. Throughout my life I have picked up knitting on and off. I like the therapeutic value of it, the productivity.
I can knit pretty well now, I can read knitting charts in three languages. I can make pretty complicated stuff and I like it.

I have never been tested. I have never taken a knitting exam. Yet this knowledge exists.

Image: Teach Eagle

Lately, whenever I mention that my children are unschooled, on of the first questions I get is "But you do test them every so often, don't you". Uh… No I don't. I wouldn't want to, in fact the thought of it makes me cringe. Why should I force my child to sit down and show me what she and I both know she already knows. Moreover, what does it matter?

My reaction is: "well, she speaks three languages, she can swim, she can count… she can probably do as much or more than a schooled child of her age, what's the need?"
"But then how can you know?"

How can I know if the child I spend every day with is learning? Without testing her…
Uhm… By watching her! By spending time with her.

It seems as if to todays grilled and tested people knowledge cannot exist if it hasn't been proven by test. But what does testing do, really? It 'tests' wether you are good at taking tests, not wether you know something or are learning something. Knowledge cannot be tested, it can be experienced.

Why would I have to sit down my child to test if she learns? Testing will not change the fact wether or not she learns. Testing is not what makes people learn. And just to go one step further: how on earth could she not be learning? It is human nature to learn, constantly.

People who push testing either do not understand human nature, the learning process or are worried that kids might not be learning the right things.
Now who on earth is capable of deciding what are the right things? How can you just decide that? What's right for my daughter to learn isn't necessarily what your child needs to learn. Children learn what they need to live in the world they are living in.



  1. I definitely agree. As a former teacher I can't tell you how much I hate standardized testing. I have toyed with the idea of home or unschooling my littles but till have some time I decide. I'm also interested in waldorf or Montessori. I just hate that we have learned so much about how children learn yet our school systems are not equipped to support it at all

  2. You know, I have asked myself this question so many times: how can we know all this and then make changes in the opposite direction.. It just astonishes me.

  3. Great post. I totally agree about the pressure put on having a number associated with success. It's the same for adults... if we don't have a specific certification, we're not fit to work a certain job. Just because I don't a degree in French doesn't mean that my time in France doesn't qualify me to work in the French language. I bet if we didn't place such an emphasis on grades for children, then certification wouldn't be so important for adults. You either have the skill or not. You take a class to get better at a skill not to prove that you have it.

  4. This is a question that I often get asked, what about exams? Well if my children want to take them (as teenagers) I will not be stopping them, but I will not be actively encouraging that is for sure. We have become so disabled by testing in most societies.

    1. ain't that the truth!! And it's so redundant and frankly disrespectful to grill children that way.


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