Kids are at school 7 or 8 hours a day. That’s a full working day, and why should they have to take work home? -Etta Kralovec, an associate professor of teacher education at the University of Arizona South
So we moved over the summer. Not because we wanted to, but circumstances required it. Despite our sadness at leaving a house and neighborhood we loved, we do really like our new living situation. Here’s the view from our kitchen table…
Unfortunately, we don’t really like our new schooling situation. We were really pleased with our former school. The kids were doing really well, their teachers were great, the principal was great, they had plenty of time after school to relax and play and do chores. Now they are attending a new school, and it has become a significant source of stress in my life. <—That’s a diplomatic way of saying they are seriously pissing me off.
As usual, I am turning to words/blogging as a means of processing all the things that have been going through my head… that is, in addition to venting to my husband for two or three (or four?) hours last night…
I don’t generally get very snarky on this blog, but the fierce and furious Mama Bear in me is coming out, and she is warning the world: “Do not mess with me (or my cubs) right now.”
Things my family is wasting time doing
- Driving to and from the bus/school (‘Cause, let’s face it, we don’t always make it to the bus in the morning since the kids were up too late the night before doing stuff the school says they have to do.)
- Waiting in a line of cars to pick up or drop off the kids (But, hey, I could arrive extra-extra early and wait even longer so I won’t have to wait… oh wait…)
- Riding in the bus to and from school… (45-minutes, really? The school is not that far away.)
- Spelling homework (when they already know how to spell the words on the pre-test?)
- Memorizing Spalding phonograms to complete a school policy “required” 70-phonogram quiz (Dude, my kids picked up reading naturally with very limited coaching, mostly before they even started kindergarten, and… see previous bullet point about spelling.)
- Memorizing poetry (I get that memorization is an important skill, but how about memorizing something that is actually useful?)
- Practicing meticulous Spalding handwriting and cursive (How often do you actually write in cursive as an adult? Computers, anyone?)
- Completing a 28-page summer school packet (that we didn’t have until school started since we just moved to the school)
- Prime number factorization (Truly, how important is this in real life unless you are a cryptographer?)
- Studying the differences between paleolithic and neolithic humans (Why do we need to know this? I remember “learning” this stuff, but it fell immediately out of my brain ’cause… surprise… it was completely irrelevant to real life.)
Things I wish my family was doing instead
- Playing. Playing. Playing. Unstructured playtime.
- Practicing yoga, meditation, and other emotional/spiritual-hygiene every morning (I want my children to have the tools they need to retain their inner peace in an increasingly crazy world.)
- Spending less time in the car/bus, and more time relaxing, being creative (art, photography, pottery, etc), or exploring nature (How many hikes could we complete with all those hours we spend on the road? How many art projects?).
- Including the kids in nutritious meal preparation (so they won’t be eating just Ramen, macaroni and cheese, Hot Pockets, and cold cereal when they move away from home).
- Learning how to use the most commonly misused English words/phrases… i.e. less/fewer, effect/affect, a while/awhile, whether/whether or not, etc. (Just a bit more useful than practicing spelling words you already know how to spell.)
- Memorizing Spanish vocabulary and verb conjugation (I was an English major, and I do enjoy a delicious poem, but memorization of poetry isn’t nearly as profitable in today’s world as foreign language fluency.)
- Practicing musical instruments (insert links to countless studies demonstrating how beneficial music instruction is for children’s brains and overall well being.)
- Exercising as a family… swimming, running races, riding bikes, doing archery, playing frisbee, etc.
- Practicing keyboarding and learning basic computer programming and/or web design (Employers won’t care how many words you can write in cursive per minute).
- Growing a garden, cleaning the house together, learning how to sew, building cool stuff.
- Studying resilient people throughout human history and our family history and how they adapted to/coped with/overcame the challenges of living as a human being (History can be totally relevant to our lives.)
- Getting to know all the elderly people in our new neighborhood and serving them (like the 98-year-old man with Parkinson’s next door).
My primary responsibility in my daily life is to watch over and nurture my children. Their welfare (mental, emotional, and spiritual… news flash, Educators of the World, there is more to life than just school) is my priority. If things don’t improve with our school soon, we are definitely seriously considering (finally) trying homeschooling.
Some school-related stuff that resonates with me
- Why Yoga is Changing Schools
- Why We Say “No” to Homework
- 11 Ways Findland’s Education System Shows Us that “Less is More”
- The Value of Unstructured Play Time for Kids
- Scientists Say Child’s Play Helps Build a Better Brain
- Why Our Brightest Teens May Begin Opting Out of High School
- Music lessons spur emotional and behavioral growth in children, new study says
- The Case Against Homework: A Fact Sheet
- Want to read: The Case Against Homework: How Homework is Hurting Children and What Parents Can Do About It