Last night was final class of hunter safety training for my oldest son. Before completing the class, he had to pass a 100 question test with a score of 85% or higher. It was the first "official" test he's ever taken, and I'll admit I was a little nervous. As the test time approached, and I reviewed the material with him, I could clearly picture the two little people sitting on my shoulders ready to give me sage advise.
On my right shoulder sat the Unschool Mom, and on my left, the A-Type Personality Parent. They both looked just like me, but I'll let you decide which one was dressed in white and which one was in the classic red. The conversation between the two went something like this:
A-Type Parent: You should be quizzing him. Maybe it's not too late to make some flashcards. You can't let him go unprepared, or he's going to fail!
Unschool Mom: Trust your son. Either he's interested in this stuff, or he's not. You can't learn it for him.
A-Type Parent: This isn't really about knowing the material. It's about knowing how to take a test. Have you ever even shown him how to take a test?
Unschool Mom: What do you mean this isn't about the material? This is hunter safety we're talking about. Either he learned what he needs to know from the class, or he needs to learn more.
A-Type Parent: But if he fails the test, you fail too. It will make you look bad as a teacher, and homeschoolers everywhere look bad as a group. Not to mention what failing might do to his self-esteem.
Unschool Mom: If he shoots someone in the woods it's going to hurt his self-esteem more than if he fails a test. You've provided him with the information he needs, you've given him support and guidance, now it's up to him to show he knows it. If he doesn't know it, he can always take the class again if he wants to.
A-Type Parent: Take the class again! That was every night for a week! Wouldn't it be better to just get him through the test. You can always fill in the gaps in his knowledge later on your own.
At this point the Unschool Mom simply shakes her head and poofs away, the way those little people on your shoulders do when conversation has become pointless. And since Tom ended up passing the test, both "little voices" are happy for now.
It's great to be a homeschooler (unschooler?).