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Thursday, January 30, 2014
Spare The Rod?
My son has a school project that is due tomorrow. A diorama of the ocean. We have worked on it for weeks, me more than him, me 'pushing' him to ask questions and seek answers.
It's a pretty nice piece of work. Not only does it go over the biome (living zones and interconnectedness) of the oceans, but it also brings up the 'Eighth Continent', the large balls of plastic that are in the oceans because of all the plastic waste from consumers being put together by the currents, and not sinking to the ocean floor to decompose. (did you know one plastic shopping bag from the grocery store takes one hundred to four hundred years to decompose? And most of the trash in the oceans comes from the land, to the rivers, then to the sea. Here is a nice link for you teachers: http://www.maudfontenoyfondation.com/en/)
Dad was a teacher.
Today's topic comes from mom.
Here's what she has to say:
Dad thought it was criminal to give the kids so much work after a long day at school.
Whenever he would try to back down on the amount of homework he was handing out, after a while, the complaints would come in--from the parents!
They would say, 'Mr. (our last name), I see you are giving less homework to our child. Don't try to favor him or let him off easy--give him lots of work so he can learn.'
So he would give more.
My sister and brother-in-law, according to mom, spent hours and hours with my nephew to get him to understand and complete his homework.
That's why I have a hard time with my son, too, she thinks. I have to be 'on' him to get him to study. And he asks a LOT of questions about everything, so practically I do his homework for him.
My niece, apparently, was like me. She never had a problem. She always understood and did what was expected of her. And now she is the one who spends a lot of time helping her brother with his homework.
Mom says the times where you went to school to have fun and learn are over.
Studies show that the interactions that take place between the teachers and students are more like 'a business' than a classroom.
This makes sense because at my sister's school district, the parents have to pay the school forty-dollars for every missed school day; this is to make up for the state funding that is lost when there is an absence. Even when my niece and nephew are sick, she takes them to school for the first hour or two, so the school won't count it as an absence, everyone gets their 'funding', and the sick kids are able to go home.
Mom says there is talk about lengthening the school day to eight hours, just like a day at work.
The teachers are fighting against it.
When is there time for sports and after-school activities?
When is there time to just go out in the yard, play with the kids on the street, or ride your bike like I used to?
Mom says she gets to know some of the neighbor kids on her street. She talks to them when they come home from school. She used to work the playground as a guide to watch over recess, and she is comfortable with kids.
She says she talks to them, and they talk openly and honestly with her.
There's something new she's noticed in the past few years---
--they all say they HATE SCHOOL.
It's boring. It's too much work. They just don't like it.
Kids are so used to the computer that they just can't read a book from cover to cover.
Mom says we used to have busy kids before, who might look out the window, but they could concentrate on a task, and comprehend what the teacher was telling them and teaching them.
Nowadays, the kids just don't comprehend. Their minds are not QUIET and able to Focus, Mom confided.
What are they doing to our children? she asks.
I don't know, Mom. I don't know.
But I think you may be on to something...something very important for all of us to know.
Aloha and Mahalos,