«

»

Aug 21 2013

Back to school, back to learning?

This was the first year in all the years I’ve thrown children into the education system that I wasn’t dying to drop kick them out the door to school. Summer ended far too quickly this year, and I didn’t want to send J to 4th grade today. I wasn’t ready. I’ve always been ready, some years I was ready ten minutes after the final bell in June. Not this year. I think I may be mellowing in my old age.

Or I just don’t want to return to crazy schedules. I’ve had my fill of crazy and would love to share with others. Sharing is caring, you know.

I’m a little more concerned about this year than others. This is the year I want and need to get more on top of homeschooling. A is in 7th grade now and I must have more of a plan going forward. High school will be here before I blink (dear god), and I’d prefer not getting caught with my homeschooling pants down.

J is in 4th grade, and I’ve heard that this particular 4th grade team believes they need to harden the kids up to prepare them for the rigors of 5th grade. I was gobsmacked when I heard that the other day, as we were told (when A was in the 5th grade classroom for a few months) that 5th grade was for toughening them up for middle school. Forewarned is forearmed, I suppose.

Why do we need to toughen kids up? Like an itch you just can’t quite get rid of, I keep poking at this but can’t figure out why it bothers me so much. The other night I was listening to a neighbor talk about her high school daughter, who will begin her days at 6 am with a daily prayer group, and with homework and various activities end her days after 11 pm. This is not an uncommon schedule for kids in this area. I was a high-achieving kid and even I think that is a bit much.

I think toughening kids up for eight or more years of study/test/brain dump stifles their love of learning. I know I didn’t finally enjoy learning until I got out of grad school. I didn’t have time to learn, I was too busy studying.

The school sent out a letter about the before school supervision times and stated, “Learning begins at 8:15 am.” No, school begins at 8:15 am, or formal instruction or class; I believe that learning is eternal, with no start or stop time. Semantics, yes, but words matter.

Soon J will be home and I’ll be able to get a read on his day. If he has homework tonight I’ll scream. I’m in favor of rigor and hard work and achievement, but when it’s 90 degrees out…and it’s a nine year old boy who loves learning…I’m not ready for back to school.

Comments

comments

4 comments

Skip to comment form

  1. Tedra

    The reason “toughening kids up” bothers you is that it sounds punitive, sadistic, and just a wee bit child-hating.

    1. Jen

      I think you may be on to something there, Tedra.

  2. My Kids Mom

    I was asking if there were parent volunteers in the middle school to try to get involved and meet people, and in addition to the answer that there is less parent involvement, I was also told, “elementary schools are like families, but middle schools are like factories.” Ouch! You have my baby all day. Do not turn him into a widget.

    1. Jen

      Sadly, the widgetification is getting younger and younger. 🙁

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

CommentLuv badge