Monday, March 13, 2017

The Flashcard Fiasco

Like her sister, my youngest has test anxiety. She's also indignant about the whole need to test, because of the randomness of what examiners think kids should know at a particular point in time. I don't know where she gets these ideas. (Who, me?)

Test anxiety is especially a problem with math. Every year I try to prepare her for her tests and every year we face meltdowns because she wants the reassurance of knowing her answers are right. At the same time, she fights me about learning the facts because she doesn't understand how they relate to the real world. I was also bad at math in school, so I'm probably not the best person to explain how irrational numbers help us. 

This year I asked if she would like a workbook to practice with before I ordered the test. She agreed. I then discovered that the company that makes the test we use only makes test prep booklets up to eighth grade. For high school age, they had test prep flashcards.

I usually like flashcards. Question on the front, answer on the back, sometimes with an explanation of why it works It sounded like a good solution, and even though I thought they were a bit pricey, I ordered a set.

I have never seen flashcards like these.

If the test didn't provide enough test anxiety, the flashcards did. Most of them are set up where they ask you to explain a concept, rather than a straightforward question. I was at a loss to explain half of them, and that was after I looked at the answer on the back. I had to enlist the help of my college graduate oldest child to help her with them. Tears have been shed. Tempers have flared. I've wondered if it's too late to move to a state that doesn't require testing. 

I'm kidding, of course. I don't want to move. And as much trouble as the flashcards give her, she keeps doing them. I don't think I ever saw her work so hard on a subject she dislikes. Every day she sits with a few cards, scrap paper, and a box of tissues and she tries. She  tries something that she thinks is hard. Really, no matter how she does on the test, I feel like we accomplished something here.

And when she needs to blow off steam, I completely allow the destruction of a flashcard. They make adorable little hats.


Anonymous said...

Cute hat! Keep working with flashcards and good luck on the test. Math has always been frustrating which is why I seem to have forgotten everything I learned. Love Aunt Linda

Inner Elder said...

What happened to my Math genes? I am proud of Sierra. I had the same experience with physics. The hard work is more valuable than the test. Love you, Mom

jugglingpaynes said...

Mom - I really don't know. I was hoping at least one of them would get the math gene!

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