The ‘Great Chore Divide’ Edition
S1: This episode contains explicit language. Welcome to Mom and Dad are Fighting Slate’s parenting podcast for Thursday, March 31st. The Great Chore Divide Edition. I’m Elizabeth Newcamp. I write the homeschool and family travel blog, Dutch Dutch Goose. I’m the mom to three littles. Henry who’s nine, Oliver who’s seven, and Teddy who’s five. And we live in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
S2: And Jamilah Lemieux, a writer, contributor to Slate’s Care and Feeding Parenting column and person who thinks about Will Smith slapping Chris Rock for a living. Now, that’s all I do. And mom to Naima, who is officially nine years old.
S1: Happy birthday, Naima.
S3: Happy birthday.
S2: We live in Los Angeles.
S3: And I am Zak Rosen. I make podcasts, including the Best Advice Show, a very short little show featuring your best advice. And I live in Detroit with my family. My daughter Noah is four and my son Army is one.
S1: Well, before we tell you what’s on tap for today’s show, we actually have a little announcement to share with you. Mom and dad are fighting is going to be releasing episodes twice a week on Monday and Thursday. Each show will be just under a half hour and will hopefully fit into your busy schedules a little bit better. We’re hoping these are perfect for your quick power walk while you’re making dinner or driving carpool.
S2: And don’t you worry, we’re not getting rid of any of your favorite segments. Will still do triumphs and fails and recommendations and listener questions. They’ll even still be a plus segment every Thursday for Slate Plus subscribers. You can say this is the audio equivalent of new look, same great taste.
S1: So today on the show, we’re going to be catching up with each other in a round of triumphs and fails and tackling an age old question How much should kids be pitching in around the house? Should they be earning an allowance for doing chores due to our expectations differ between neurotypical and neurotypical kids. Find out what we think then on Slate. Plus, we’ll be talking about opting your kids out of state testing. It’s something I recently did and the parents at my school think I’m nuts. So here is a sneak peek of what you’ll hear if you have Slate. Plus.
S3: I always performed poorly on standardized tests, and honestly, I’m 38. I still carry that shame with me. And my parents were never they never, you know, put any stock in how I did on standardized tests and, you know, connected it to my value as a person or as a learner. But I don’t know, just for there to be an alternate consciousness about how we think about tests. And I think it’s I think it’s really great.
S1: Okay. Let’s move on to some parenting stories. Jamilah, what’s going on in your world this week?
S2: Well, as I said, I don’t do anything but think about Will Smith slapping Chris Rock. Aside from celebrating, name is birthday. Happy birthday, Naima. We’re recording this on your actual birthday, so I don’t know. I’m not going to call this a triumph, but I guess don’t. I’ll claim it as a triumph. But it’s also a little bit of a context setting that I want to do for mom and dad or fighting listeners who find their way to my Instagram page because they don’t have like any rules posted up anywhere. They’re like, You wouldn’t know this, but like I delete dissenting comments on my Instagram page. And yesterday I made a post about the slap, you know, and I commented like, if you disagree with me, you can go back to Facebook, right? This is not bad. And so I want to explain why. And then I had I felt bad because, you know, one usually the comments that I’m deleting are very misogynistic and racist and directly insulting to me. So I’m not just deleting people who don’t agree with me. Usually there’s a reason that I had to delete your comment, but with this I was like, I don’t want to facilitate a debate, you know, I just want to celebrate what happened that I felt was a triumph the black women needed to feel, which was somebody defended one of us in public for once, and that’s all I had for it. But I do want to say, because I saw that a mom and dad listener had posted a thoughtful comment, which she disagree with me. And, you know, she’s like, I hope you’re not going to delete this. You know, I’m a fan of the show and a little disappointed, you know, you know, you know how white women get online. But it was also a completely reasonable comment. Right. Like but I want her and anyone else who’s like, she’s the leading comments like, what’s up with that? So just kind of understand the context of like for me and for our most visible, you know, whether that’s highly visible or low visibility like me. But for visible black women online, the amount of vitriol and bad faith engagement and just pushback that you get to your every thought, you know, can be overwhelming. And so my Instagram page is a very sporadically updated corner of the Internet in which I get to get some feelings off without having to deal with the debates. Therefore, you know what I mean? Like with having to engage with this set, it’s just kind of like here’s like almost like a little online diary with an occasional picture of me or my kid. And so, you know, didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, you know? I just need that space to kind of be clear. And I just wanted black girls to high five about the good part. And I know that that was an incredibly complicated incident and there’s so much more to it than just simply saying, black girls got defended, we win. You know, everyone else can just go. But that was the feeling that I wanted to lean into it first, you know, like that was the thing that really, I think for a lot of sisters was just like, whoa, I’ve never seen anything like this happen before, you know, in defense of one of us. Mm hmm. And so my triumph is, you know, I kept I’m keeping that space the way that I needed to be so I can have a little fun on the Internet, too. But I do hope that listeners understand, you know, you are absolutely welcome there. You know, if I tweet out, I don’t do a lot of Twitter anymore. But, you know, I guess that there’s a place for discourse and debate. It’s there, but not on my Instagram page.
S1: Fair enough. I really thought you were clear about that on The Post.
S2: I mean, I warn people like I’m going to delete your comments.
S3: Yeah. Look at this one video of my daughter dancing for nutrition manager.
S2: Right? Just kind of take that in. That was a really good video and I was really happy about that moment, right? Yeah. That’s my my, you know, fail feeling triumph for the week.
S1: Zach, what’s going on with you guys?
S3: Spring is. I mean, it’s Detroit, so spring isn’t actually here. It’s freezing, but it’s like, theoretically here. And with it comes T-ball. Oh, so baseball is my first love. I have some of the most evocative, nostalgic feelings when I think about my childhood and baseball. My dad was my coach. I just loved it so much. Like, I can I can smell the gravel just talking about it right now. And I ask Noah if she’s interested in joining a T-ball league the other day, and she was really excited about that notion. And so this past weekend, we went to the sporting goods store, got her a glove, we got a T, oh, we got some balls. First I was going to get her like a proper metal t ball bat, but then I remembered that that’s a terrible idea. Terrible idea that we’re not getting metal bats in this house, darling. I think she’d be responsible wielding it. But still, I got a soft bat bunch of softballs. And since that purchase, which was Saturday, this past weekend, we have been just going to the basement, like for a good amount of time every day and just practicing T-ball. She’s really into it. And I’m trying to be, like, very cool and, like, you know, adamant about, like, it being about fun and not about, like, her form and stuff, like, at the plate. But I am like trying to teach her some fundamentals. And so it’s a fine line. My dad always well, not always, but that’s actually a story for another day. But most of the time he was really great at striking the balance of coach, father and I aspire to do the same. I’m thinking about signing up to be a coach because the league is looking for coaches. This is like one of those like cliché parenting things that I find myself in the middle of now, like how I am introducing my daughter to this thing that I hold so close to my heart. And it’s it’s happening. Oh, yeah.
S1: Is this your first foray into, like, true sports with.
S3: Yeah, we went to soccer last summer, but she was three and not particularly interested. Yeah. So yeah, yeah. This is the first three or four and I mean, practice hasn’t even started yet. It doesn’t start until May, but we’re just practicing for practice right now.
S1: Teddy is very into baseball, which makes me happy. I played softball and I have visions of just like throwing the ball with my dad in in like, even after I stopped playing. Just like that was the thing we did studying for things are talking about things and that’s like what I want and I feel the same pressure you feel is like, I want him to like this and I want to go do this, but I don’t want to ruin it.
S3: Yeah, cause it’s a really good way I’m finding to bond where you have this kind of other thing. You don’t have to just be, like, having a conversation, but it’s just, you know, the conversation comes as a byproduct of the activity. Yeah. You know, it’s like that Field of Dreams moment you want to have a catch to have.
S1: And even just like driving to things and warming up like those I think are opportunities for, like you said, that bonding. Well, that’s awesome. I can’t I cannot wait to hear more.
S3: Yeah. What about you, Elizabeth?
S1: Well, we had, like, our spring break, and so we took the opportunity to travel. I took the boys, Jeff had other stuff related to work, and so we headed to D.C. and from there I went to Williamsburg and then kind of reunited with Jeff in Atlanta for a wedding. That was awesome. And the kids were so great.
S2: But you saw the late Dan Kua. I did.
S1: We we sat down and rest in peace. They actually came in and met me where I was with the kids, which was great because sometimes with three children it’s like, how can we get there? And he said, Let’s meet in front of the the Lincoln Memorial. And I was like, okay, great. And then we texted like, Oh, I’m getting there, I’m walking there. And I was thinking as I approach and there’s just like hundreds of spring break. Like, how the heck am I going to find him? And then there he is with this family sitting like in me, most stand plays like talking. I was able to find him right away. But the thing we were going to do was to go see the cherry blossoms were like probably three or four days before peak. And I wanted to take the kids down to the Tidal Basin to see to see them and take some pictures. And so we all went down together and my kids were a hot ass mess. They were like picking up and whipping each other with them, you know? And it’s like you’re meeting up with this person that you’ve been on this parenting cast with. You would like your children to behave in their defense. They had just sat through a brunch for my father 70th birthday and were angels. And then I we left to that to come do this. And his kids are so great. They, we’ve known them for a while and they were running around with my kids. But Teddy in particular was like picking up sticks and trying to hit people with them. And I was joking that I’m going to have a shirt made that says no sticks because I yelled at like 90% of the time I’m with them, the kids. I’m like, Oh, how fun. We’re going to play with sticks. Like, this is what I want playing with nature. And then they all start beating each other with them. So Teddy, though, I’m like, I cannot quite get him to be, like, under control. Like, he’s just angry. Every time I take a stick, I’m like, we’re all trying to get him to, like, throw the sticks in the water. He just wants to do this. And he finds this kind of like baby doll sized, thick piece of driftwood, and this one is perfectly dry. And he is like, I’m never letting go of this. And I just thought like, okay, if you don’t hit anyone with this and you carry it the rest of the day, you can have it. And he was like, Really? And I was like, Yes, yes. But if you hit anyone with it and throwing it in the river, the.
S2: Stakes are high.
S1: Yeah, nobody else is to carry this for you. And he’s like, okay. He eventually names that log and he carries log over for miles. Dan, of course, had other important things to do, and he has children that have things to do. So we walked with them for a while and then parted ways. And we went to the, you know, one of the Smithsonian’s of innovation or industry or whatever in this beautiful building that even though I had lived there, I had never been. It’s like the building has always been closed. But you cannot take a giant log. They do not permit that. So so Teddy went out and hid it in a bush. And I thought for sure when it was going to come, because here’s my kid. Like rooting through a bush, looking for the perfect spot because we don’t want anyone to take lagi. And then he went back after and got it and carried it the rest of the way home. And once, you know, I put it in our bags and I flew it back to Atlanta and then I left it in Atlanta.
S2: Oh, no.
S1: So, I mean, I left it at my parents house. So it’s fine. It will eventually make its way here.
S3: How did he take it?
S1: Oh, he’s okay because it’s with great. Like we’ve called Grandpa to check on it, but he was like, okay, well Grandpa is going to bring it when he comes. And I’m like, Yeah, the next time Grandpa comes out, he’ll bring your piece of driftwood. If he’s, you know, there’s always the chance to.
S3: Carry on about this.
S1: Way in Atlanta. But for now, we have survived the chaos with a piece of driftwood.
S3: Had you met Danquah in real life before?
S1: Oh, yeah. So he and I knew each other in in the Netherlands before I even came on the show. I met him when he was living in Delft. Someone who met him while he was there writing said, You should meet this American that’s here. And it was me. Jamilah Did you work out that you’re going to get to see him in L.A.?
S2: He did tell me that he was coming out here at some point. So I need to check in with Dan because hopefully we’re having our next reunion, too. We’ve only we’ve met in person maybe two or three times.
S1: Well, that’ll be fun. And of course, I think that the big draw, though, was that Lyra really wants to meet Naima. That was like what we kept hearing. She’s like, I have to meet Naima.
S2: I’m so excited about them getting to meet. Oh.
S1: Well, I think that’s a pretty good round up of our week. So we’re going to take a quick break. And when we come back, we are going to get into today’s listener question. We’re back and ready to hear today’s question, which is being read, as always, by the fabulous Sasha Leonhard.
S2: Dear mom and Dad, can you please recommend age appropriate chores for my two kids? Our 13 year old daughter is neurotypical, mature and responsible. Our 11 year old son is diagnosed with ADHD, slash OCD and dyslexia. So there are particular challenges with him. Because of this, we haven’t pushed either into doing chores. However, it’s become clear that housework really needs to be divided up more appropriately amongst all four members of our household. Plus, they both need to learn how to keep a house clean. The children are also interested in doing some extra things for allowance, which they do not currently earn. We are also looking for a kid friendly tween slash teen app that we can use to manage the chores and keep track of the work done. Their earnings and spending.
S2: Chore chaos. So I actually do not have an app because my daughter at nine wants very badly to use it. We did say now that she’s officially nine, that she could start having like page or so. I will just be paying for the labor of her attempting even though I’m going to probably have to do most of those chores over myself. But for 13 and 11, what are their skill sets? Right? Like are these tidy kids, you know, like, because if they’re not, you know, then cleaning chores, maybe on one hand something you need to get them in the habit of doing for their own safety and survival, but not necessarily the things you want the household relying upon them to do. Right. So do you have a dishwasher? Can they load the dishwasher and scrub the pots? You know, I think that’s a very good age, appropriate chore, cleaning up, you know, maybe putting food away. That’s something you have to teach them to do. You know, you can’t take for granted that they’ll know how you know which Tupperware and you know where to put things in the refrigerator. But like you’ve made dinner, so there’s salad dressing and catch up and some leftovers, you know, on the stove. They can put that stuff away and give the stove a good wipe down. At 11 and 13, they should be primarily responsible for their own tidiness. You may go in their room with a vacuum and a mop and a broom, depending on what kind of floors you have every couple of weeks yourself, obviously. But like, maybe it’s making up the bed each day, you know, or changing the sheets once a week, you know, maybe sorting clothes into piles. That’s something that they can do. I wouldn’t recommend having them fold clothes and put them away, but they can go through the clothes and identify their own, you know, and at least separate them from everyone else’s. And they can put those away. Keeping their own stuff organized is a big deal, you know, like making sure everything is in the book bag before school, particularly, you know, that your 11 year old has some challenges that might make that difficult, you know, so he may require some assistance in doing this, but I think it’s a way to help him kind of learn to be responsible for certain things. You know, there may be visual cues all over the house. You can do Post-it notes, you can have signs, you know, like checklist. Did you grab your homework folder, water bottle, a lunch bag, you know, but like making sure that those things are accounted for in terms of the other things that maybe they don’t do super well, like mopping or sleeping or ironing. It’s time to teach them to do those things. So it may not always be in the context of these are your chores and you are doing this, but as you are doing it, they too can be a part of it. You can say, okay, everyone get up. We’re learning how to mop today, you know, and like maybe every other time you mop, they participate in that. And then as far as an app, I have heard good things about green light. I know someone with a slightly older child that uses it connected to a debit card where you can have a chore list, you can have allowance come in automatically or based on, you know, whether they’ve done their chores or not. And they’ve got some financial literacy information on there, which is good for kids to see. You can talk to them about budgeting and, you know, taking responsibility for the money that they’ve made. What do you guys think?
S3: I’m thinking back to when I was that age and by that time, 11, 12, 13, I was responsible at the very least for putting my clothes away. I didn’t do my laundry quite yet, but putting clothes away and mowing the lawn, those were big ones that I can recall. But yeah, I think that this age is totally old enough to start taking on some of these tasks and to start learning some of these tasks. And I surveyed my my sister this weekend. She has a eight and 12 year old and they are expected to set the table and clear every day. And that’s just like the expectation. What what I found was interesting talking to my sister was that they don’t tie allowance to the chores themselves though. Yeah, I’m really in. Instead. And that’s because it seems counterintuitive, and I’d love to hear you talk more about that, Elizabeth, but like they have set that expectation and their kids do it so their kids do what they’re expected to do and they also get allowance kind of in parallel to that. But but they’re not one in the same. And I think that’s really interesting. I know, you know, speaking just to my own experience with my oldest, who is four, we struggle with just trying to get her to clean up after she plays with stuff. But that’s like, I think that’s a good way to start. Like at the very least, like if you make a mess, clean that shit up and then I think a lot of stuff might, could stem from that. But you pass that listener. I know you’re you’re well into tween years. So it’s a it’s a different thing to talk about that, Elizabeth, this this notion of, you know, chores and allowance and not intertwining the two.
S1: I think we just fundamentally decided that there are household tasks that have to get done. You don’t get paid for those. Like no one is paying me to do these things. No one pays a dad to do these things right. These are things that we need to make our house function. And then we also want to give the kids allowance so that they can start having some financial literacy and paying for them. And that those are two different things. Now, that doesn’t mean we we will sometimes incentivize with money, things that are outside of those household tasks or allow them to take opportunities like Henry walks the neighbor’s dog and gets paid for that. That’s not considered one of his like chores. We do call them household tasks. And I am a firm believer that every child at every age should be helping out. If you have little ones that are underfoot, they should be coming to the laundry room and helping you put the laundry in so that they see the work that this takes. This includes mealtime. Everyone says like mealtime is so stressful, right? It is stressful. Getting stuff there is like setting the table, getting the food on there. There are a million small tasks involved in getting food on the table that kids can help with, and I just try to make it their responsibility. So one of our kind of tenants is that like nobody leaves the table without taking their own stuff. And it used to be the little one like would set it by the sink. Well, now the eight year old and that almost ten year old rinse and put in the dishwasher, and they’re also responsible for Teddy’s plate and perhaps even my plate. And Jeff’s plate, you know, that we’ve brought up there. And that includes helping put away the food, if there’s any, like scraping that needs to be done. All of those things. Again, I it when there’s five of you in the house, if I have to do all of the dishes or Jeff has to do all of the dishes plus all the food put away, right? Like storytime and bedtime now are too late or we’re too tired. And those are the consequences that have kind of come is like, well, I can’t come upstairs and stand with you while you brush your teeth, which is your preference. Right. Because. Or sit in your room to read another story because I’m down here doing this that we were all going to do. But if we all do it and listen, the five year old, it’s like he puts his stuff in the dishwasher. It almost always needs to be pulled out and rinsed again. We just do that because at some point he will rinse it properly. He’s he’s each time it’s getting a little bit better. Right. So sort of saying like these are these household chores. Now I do try to assign chores based on Jamilah kind of what you said, like what are their strengths, right? So I’m not going to ask Oliver, who has ADHD, to do a multi step task without me holding his hand and walking him through it. He is the only kid whose laundry I still put away, but he stands with me while we do it. The other two are just much neater and I can. If everything’s folded, I can hand Teddy his pants and he walks up and he puts them in his pants drawer and I can hand him this. You know, my ten year old, I have just made him in charge of his clothes. I still do the laundry. They help put it in the washer. They’ll change from wash to dry. They’re capable of doing that. If there’s nothing in the dryer. Right. If there’s something in the dryer, they throw it on the floor. So these are baby steps. But I give him his clothes and if he chooses to stuff them all in his drawers, then then that is none of my business. If his stuff is wrinkly, though, and he’s upset about that, that’s going to be his problem. Not necessarily mine.
S3: Because he dresses himself like he’ll pick out his his clothes and stuff.
S1: He dresses himself out. The other thing is like if he wants a shirt washed and I am not like I wasn’t going to do a cycle of laundry, but he wants to wear that shirt tomorrow and discovers it’s in the laundry. It would be his job to get one of us to assist him in loading up the washer like he can’t run just that one shirt. We need to do a whole load. So kind of putting that on some of the kids, I think for your 11 year old, like I would really encourage you for the for ADHD kids or any that like to go do stuff like taking trash in and out of the house in which you bag it and they’re taking it out to the whatever you’re wheeling to the curb or wherever it goes. Right. And bringing those back, checking the mail if you have to go somewhere like these are great tasks that my ADHD kid loves to do. And because they’re one step like, here’s the key, go check the mail, come back. Those are really achievable because I think the key is giving them something that they can achieve at a level at which you’re comfortable with. Jamilah You pointed this out like you don’t give your five year old to put away the food and then be mad when it’s not put away properly, right? They’re not going to do it the way you want it. The mopping is the same way. Like I personally like to do certain tasks, certain ways. I don’t delegate those to the kids because I know I’m just going to come behind them and do it. But they can wipe down the table, right? And that’s fine. And if I have to give it one more, wipe it. It has save me some amount of time. So yeah, I just think looking around and, and deciding like what are the things they’re capable of doing and finding some way, you know, to make that happen. I do think in this situation, like do not give them 12. Because for the first time all at once, like I would sit down and have a family discussion that like, listen, the the amount of time it’s taken me to keep up this home is stopping me from doing other things with you. And we need to redistribute the work. I think 11 and 13 year old obviously know that it takes a lot of work. They may have jobs they really want to do. Like Henry is chomping at the bit to be the person who mows the lawn. And we have sort of said like, he’s turning ten, we use an electric mower. Like we can teach him to use the mower on our small lawn. And maybe that’s a job he can take over, right? Like you’ll be amazed at the things they want to do.
S3: What about chore wheels and stuff? Is that still a thing?
S1: Yeah, they all these tour charts and stuff. I just haven’t found great success with having something posted because it seems very dynamic to me. And I also have this expectation that like if I ask you to do a household tour, I just need you to do it whether or not it’s on your on your wheel. Some people find them great. And I know what I’ve done for Oliver is make up for the complicated more step tours. I have made up little cards that kind of say, like taking out the trash involves like one removing the trash from the trash can because he gets very overwhelmed by this idea of like, well, the trash is in the trash can and it needs to go to the curb. Like, what do I do there? You know? Yeah. Are you using a tour wheel or anything? Jamilah with with Naima or you just ask her to do some stuff and.
S2: I just ask her to do stuff. Honestly, I’m still very much a servant in this house, but we did say, now you all have to hold me accountable because I said that nine was when that was going to change. So it’s finally here now.
S3: Do you think there’s anything to like, gamifying chores? Has that have you found success in doing that or is that wishful thinking?
S2: I think gamifying anything tends to help, you know, when when there’s an element of play or fun or I can win something here, it becomes an easier pill for kids to swallow.
S3: Like Pippi Longstocking with her, like brush skates. Yeah. Back ceilings.
S1: That’s, you know, the dusting with the it. I do think that’s why starting early is good, because little kids think anything is a game, right? Like this is a tool that adults use. Now I get to use it like, that’s super fun. Dusting baseboards is something I used to have the kids do all the time because they thought it was, like, amazing. And you could see the progress, you know? And now that they’re not doing it, it’s not getting done.
S3: To make dusting baseboards seem fun is a parenting triumph, if I’ve ever heard one.
S1: Well, chore chaos. We hope this helps. Please keep us posted on how it goes and what works for you, everyone else. If you have a question for us, email us at mom and dad at Slate.com. And that’s it for our show. We’ll be back in your feeds bright and early on Monday with some more conundrums and recommendations, so don’t miss it. Also, if you rely on this show for parenting advice or for some company to keep you sane in this parenting journey, consider signing up for Slate. Plus, members will never hear another ad on our podcast or any other Slate podcast and you’ll get bonus content on this show and your other Slate favorites like Political Gabfest, The Waves and Slow Burn. To sign up now, go to Slate.com slash mom and dad. Plus again on Slate.com slash mom and dad. Plus this episode of Mom and Dad. Our fighting is produced by Rosemary Belson for Jamilah Lemieux and Zak Rosen. I’m Elizabeth Newcamp. Thanks for listening. All right, Slate Plus listeners, let’s keep the party going. So this is, of course, my first foray into public school in the United States. And we got this big letter home because spring means statewide testing. And as a homeschool mom, I was kind of like, okay, we did the I think you will recall I had a funny story about me thinking that the maps testing was a geography test. And it turned out that that’s this test they take to mornings at school to kind of show their progress. They do that three times a year. Well, this is this like statewide testing. The letter said that they were going to start prepping for like a few weeks ago. They started and now they spend their time prepping for these tests. And then it’ll be, I believe, seven days of testing at about 90 minutes or so per test. But anyway, when I did the math, it basically ends up being two weeks of mornings that Henry will be in this testing. And I started to kind of ask questions about like, well, what does this measure, what does this do? And like Googling all this stuff? And then I just decided that it was too much time for him to spend. I called the school and said, Do we have to do this? Am I able to opt him out? And of course, he’s getting some anxiety about it too, because it’s all there. It’s like they’ve stopped progressing in math and reading on anything to prep for these tests. And I was told that, yes, I can’t. All I have to do is send an email to the school saying I don’t want to do the testing, and then I can either keep him home the seven mornings and just bring him in at lunchtime or he can stay and read in the library or have his own activity. And I was like, Sign me up. This sounds great because even when I kind of asked him what he wanted to do, you know, he said, he said to me, I could read a lot of books in the in that time. And I was like, you could you could read a lot of it in that time is that, you know, you understand that we’re still going to spend this. Like even if he’s home with me, he’s going to spend this time doing some kind of homeschool thing that we’re doing here, man. I’m, like, telling my friend, like, my other parents, like, Hey, did you know this testing takes up this much time and we’re going to opt Henry out, and they’re all like, Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. What do you mean you’re opting out like you are? He needs practice, a standardized test. He needs this, he needs that. And I just was like, I do not buy into this. And now I’ve done this. I’ve sent the email. He has opted out. I haven’t decided if he’s going to go to school and read or stay home with me. But I think pretty much everyone thinks I’m crazy.
S3: Do you really do you feel like that?
S1: I just feel like they all give me blank looks when I’m like I opted.
S3: Who you mean people at school give you or your fellow parents.
S1: And my fellow parents, yeah. No, I mean, the school secretary was like, cool. The school principal when I called was like happy to answer my questions and then was like, Great, this is how you opt out.
S3: What is the point of this particular month long test?
S1: These are called the Colorado Measures of Academic Success, which is was the first like how are you how do you measure his academic success in seven mornings? Like, right, that seems crazy. There’s all this lovely language because of course, these tests are run by a company, right? Like the state hires a company who puts together these tests and tells them how important it is. They say that it is a way to basically standardize and compare teachers and and schools. And that to me, I think so, yes. There’s like my personal issue of like Henry’s time and I’ve always said, like, that’s the only resource that we cannot get more of is how much time he has in childhood. And how do I want him to spend that time? Do you know, have you has not you miss out for these tests? She has not the same.
S2: Yeah, like I’m listening to you and I think you make incredible points, you know, like, I think that if the test is not something that’s going to be directly impactful in terms of your child’s trajectory in school and something that used to measure whether he passes up to the next grade or where he’s sorted in terms of his classes, that opting out of it. I mean, your reasons make a lot of sense. Naima has had to do since standardized testing. And like her mother, she did really well on the verbal and reading parts and had some struggles with the math. And, you know, when I was talking to her about like, hey, it’s fine, you know, you’ll get stronger. And like, besides, those tests don’t really adequately measure what, you know, it’s just a matter of like how well you were able to do on that test and that amount of time. And there’s so many factors how you were feeling if you get enough sleep, you know. And she says, But I did my best. And the tests are they saying I didn’t do my best? And she kept saying that she was like, I don’t understand. Like I did my best in the test is saying I didn’t do my best, you know, because I don’t have a good score. And she was so hurt by it and it definitely was not an experience I wanted her to have again. So you got the wheels of my mind have been turning since you said that you were opting out, because we know that, like you said, these tests are made by companies. They sell these schools on the idea that this is the only way to tell how your teachers are doing.
S1: You know, I don’t know the specifics, but definitely like wealthier kids do better.
S1: Like, you know, kids whose parents are more at. AK to do better. Yeah, like that. There are also factors that have absolutely nothing to do with your child. Right? Things you can control. And somehow the test makes it like and you’re bad at this, as opposed to like, it’s okay. That reading is your strength. Like, you love to read. You’re really good at reading and you’re still trying really hard at math. And I’m really proud of you for that. Do you know what I mean? Like, you can do hard things, but you also don’t have to be the best at the things that are hard for you. That is okay.
S3: I always performed poorly on standardized tests and honestly, I’m 38. I still carry that shame with me. Hmm. And my parents were never they never, you know, put any stock and how I did on standardized tests and, you know, connected it to my value as a person or as a learner. But I don’t know, just for there to be an alternate consciousness about how we think about tests. And I think it’s I think it’s really great. I’m sure there’s data out there. But I’m curious, are the numbers growing in terms of folks who are opting out of standardized tests?
S1: I believe so. I know there was a huge opt out during COVID, obviously, of people that didn’t test. And if college tests are any indications, like more and more schools are saying we don’t need the city or county.
S1: Listen, we created these tests because we need a way to like, how do you have No Child Left Behind or anything like that if you can’t look at numbers and say what schools are doing well and what schools are not doing well. And the easiest way we like to do that with numbers. Right. How do you get numbers? You get kids to sit down, take a test, and then you look at the numbers. But I think to me like that you can’t necessarily measure education and what your child is getting out of it with a number.
S2: For sure. Yeah.
S1: Thanks for listening. Slate. Plus, we will talk to you on Monday for a normal show and you’ll get another bonus segment on Thursday by.