It seems like every time my daughter tells anyone she's homeschooled (she is unschooled, but we just say HS to not confuse people and have to explain every.single.time.) the kid she's telling tries to test her with a math problem.
School just started and I was talking to the kids on the soccer team I coach about it and they asked my daughter if she'd started school and when she said she was homeschooled one of the other girls goes, "What's 4 times 6?"
Thankfully, I'm the coach so I told her it doesn't feel good to have people testing you all the time. One of the things we didn't like about going to school was being tested.
My niece is the same age and constantly testing her and demanding to know what she's learning and does it comply with the state standards. My niece is autistic and doesn't have a filter or really 'get' how this could hurt my daughter's feelings, but that doesn't change that it happens.
I liked my response about how it doesn't feel good to be tested and questioned about what you're learning by everyone you know and strangers on the street, but I'm also wondering what my daughter could say to people. Maybe she should just troll them and say ridiculous things. What's 4 times 6? Alligator. What did you learn about this week? What happens in Buffy season 6.
Changing the subject if she doesn't feel like answering questions should work fine. She could straight out say now isn't the time for tests, I'm trying to talk with you. Or if she feels like having a real conversation about education then expanding the conversation to ask what the other kid is learning about, or likes and dislikes about school, and talking about what interests she's pursuing now and what she likes about the way your family does it.
Why is it always math? They never ask about plant identification or animal husbandry or something she's very familiar with. Always math! Speed math for standardized testing ruined math for my daughter, so she is really sensitive about how long it takes her. And she doesn't want to memorize the times table, even though she likes working on multiplication problems, which obviously is fine with me. She likes working on "academic" things, as long as she is in charge of how she does it.
I feel like this "testing" is an extension of the authoritarianism of school. Like, the school polices the kids and teaches them to police each other, so even when you get your kids away from it, other children re-enact what they're learning there on your kid. Sorry, that's sort of a vague analysis, I'm going to work on it and try to develop it more.
How about this, if she doesn't want to answer the question: "Does your teacher give you pop quizzes? Do you like them? I don't like them either."
Give me a few minutes while I caffeinate.
This has happened to my kids only once that I'm aware of. It was with kids at the 2nd/3rd grade level. They seem to have some awareness of the availability of homeschooling as an option, but haven't got much in the way of social grace. At school, the most memorable school-like thing they're steeped in at that age is math drill. I think the mentality is "You don't go to school? I have to go: I have no choice. To make my peace with that, I have to believe in the value of the experience, I have to believe that my parents wouldn't make me do something that wasn't good for me. While I'm there I do this math drill thing that there's no way I would do if it wasn't imposed on me. And that's the value of school: it makes me learn stuff I wouldn't want to otherwise. Which you probably don't know. Haha."
I think the most appropriate response to pop-quiz math questions would be to adopt a disbelieving I-can't-believe-your-audacity look and to say "When I found out you go to school I didn't start testing you. What a weird question." Or else "Are you asking to test me, or do you really not know the answer?"
Mountain mama to three great kids and one great grown-up
I see schooled kids doing it to each other a fair bit... frequently older kids doing it to younger kids, apparently establishing a kind of pecking order. I'd just say it isn't polite to ask friends questions to test their knowledge. Substitute teammate or cousin for friends as appropriate.
In another approach, I might ask them if they are asking what 4X6 is because they don't know. They'll say of course they know. Then you can ask them what else they know that they would like to share. If your child wouldn't feel put on the spot, you can ask her if she wants to share some bit of trivia (maybe prompt her by mentioning a specific subject that you know she is comfortable talking about). That way you are turning the interaction into sharing knowledge rather than quizzing each other.
We have one schooled friend. She never quizzes ds. But she does talk about how much fun school is and says she thinks ds would like it. That's ok because ds thinks she is crazy and her mom encourages her to respect other people's choices and explains ds likes to be homeschooled.
Funnily enough, not from other kids typically -- they think it's awesome that my kids "get to do whatever they want all day". Adults do it a fair amount though, which annoys me. A lot.
Christ-centered loving wife & mama to 2 miracles! One & one . We live simply and mindfully. Expecting another blessing Feb 2015
Is THAT why they do speed math? I've heard from it so many times-- especially the *fast* kids who brag on how they could do math problems. I was wondering why...I'd rather my kids have the right answer than be speedy!
That happened with ds' 12 year old cousin's friends -- they laughed at him because he couldn't spell a word. But generally it doesn't happen much mostly because we don't interact with school kids.
Jen 47 DS C 2/03 04/29/08/ DD S 10/28/09 DH Bill '97.
mighty-mama and her sister Kundalini-Mama
A school age boy that we did not know once chased my son (who's 3.5) down a hall, ran up to him and said "hey, what's ten times ten?" My son said "What?" The boy asked again "what's ten times ten?" to my son. My son didn't know what to say, he didn't have a clue what the boy was asking. I answered back "100", and then my son also said "100". Luckily the boy went away, but I thought it very weird. But this thread is now giving good ideas for next time something like this happens.
I guess it makes sense that schoolers would want to "prove" to themselves that school is worthwhile... After all, you spend a lot of time and energy there, you damn well better know 4 x 6 better than a kid who watches episodes of "I Didn't Know I was Preganant" all day long. Ok. We only do that if there's a marathon. Lol.
If someone ever quizzes my son with an unexpected birth, he will be ready! Lol.
And if he happens to need any math done while helping with the unexpected birth, I'm sure there will be a kind soul there to help him out with it.
"Quick! Quick! 6x4! I need to know what 6x4 is!" "Uh...24!!!! it's 24!! It's Twenty Foooooour!!!!!"
Give me a few minutes while I caffeinate.
I do not think it is just about homeschooling either. I remember when i moved to a new school in grade three. The kids would gather around me and quiz me with math questions. I remember feeling very uncomfortable. It is hard for children when they are put on the spot. I guess there is so much of it done in school that it doesn't seem so abnormal? I honestly cannot imagine any of the kids we know who are homeschooling doing that.
This issue has been a constant in our unschooling lives. I have found adults do it as well. What bothers me is that it usually triggers my children to feel that they are very different than their friends, then they will ask to go to public school. Their reasoning is that they will then be "normal". I am still trying to figure the best way to deal with this, and I have been at it for 10 years!