Thursday, February 7, 2008

It Finally Happened

It finally happened. At the beginning of this school year, I posted a blog entry voicing my concerns over my daughter’s elementary school not issuing take home textbooks to its 5th grade population (see post entitled Wanting What’s Best for Our Kids). Following the blog, I received numerous comments and assurance from teachers, parents, and administrators not to worry, that they knew what they were doing and it would be ok. My daughter will still receive a good education I was told.

Initially, I asked my daughter to save every piece of schoolwork she did and to keep it in a binder. When the need to reference the binder did not occur, I gradually became more and more comfortable with the idea of no take home class books. Maybe this was working. Maybe the students only needed a classroom copy of the textbooks.

Until last night. My daughter brought home work last night that is typically done in the classroom. And why is it done in the classroom you might ask? Because it is a series of science-related questions that she is to look up and answer from the textbook! Evidently they ran out of time to do the work in class, and so the work was assigned as homework. Did the teacher forget? We have no textbook at home!

My daughter is fortunate in that we have a computer at home. Together we were able to research and answer the questions using the internet. I don’t know what students without home computers did to complete their assignment. The questions were difficult…

Draw and label the constellation Ursa Major.
What is the difference between a meteoroid and a comet?
What are two methods of describing brightness in a star?

The only question I could answer for certain without researching on the computer was the name of our galaxy… the Milky Way.

So needless to say, I’m once again disturbed by the decision not to issue textbooks. And while the occasion where my daughter has needed a textbook at home has been limited, I can only believe that the value in having a book at home is the additional resource it provides for learning. And isn’t that what school is supposed to be all about? Learning?