This story brings back memories for me about my youngest daughter’s time in second grade, and ‘classroom management.’ Although it wasn’t called having a “shoulder partner” as it is in the article, my daughter was also responsibile for the child she sat next to. He was named, “Reggie.” We lived in Munich at the time, but Heidelberg was our next home, so I’m familiar with the venue.
Reggie was a general disruptor in the classroom and my youngest was his classroom nursemaid. At the middle of the school year, I finally wrote to the teacher and said, “I know someone has to sit next to Reggie, but can another child do it now?”
San Antonio Current, San Antonio, Texas, 24 October 2006, Teach Your Children
Jennifer and Mark were serving in the U.S. Army in Heidelberg, Germany, when they decided to pull Nastasha — then about to begin third grade — out of the traditional school system. A few months earlier, when Natasha enrolled at her Heidelberg school in the middle of second grade, her teacher quickly informed her mother, “I just want you to know that I won’t have any time for your daughter this year because I have some boys in the class who cause a lot of problems. They take all my time.”
Jennifer had barely recovered from that jolt when Natasha began telling stories about being assigned a “shoulder partner” at school.
“The teacher would pair you up with whoever sat next to you, and whoever the smarter one was did all the work,” Natasha recalls. By Jennifer’s reckoning, her daughter was either doing all or none of the work for the team, and neither option was satisfactory.
The article is long, and interesting. It mentions the history of homeschooling in Texas, reasons for homeschooling, “statistics” (of course), the s-word, Family Educators Alliance of South Texas (FEAST), sports, styles of homeschooling, parent-work conflict, and “accountability.”
But homeschool critics fret that a system that demands no accountability from home educators offers no protection for children with irresponsible or misguided parents.
“In Texas, accountability has to do with the fact that you’re spending public money. Private schools are not accountable,” Kretzschmar counters. “When you think about it, you don’t need a license to be a parent, or to feed your child. So you shouldn’t need a license to teach them.”