Thursday, January 21, 2010

Drafts + Commentary Part Dos (that's Spanish for "two")

This one is a little heated--beware!!

Educational Reform

Our educational system is so completely screwed up, and I can't believe that I'm the only person who thinks so.
First and foremost, I have no damn idea what my son does all day long. Excuse me for being an "involved parent" but I'd like to know what the child I'm responsible for is doing all day long. There should be a day where parents come and participate in whatever is going on, and there needs to be more communication between parents and teachers. Most of the crap that Gabe comes home with, I have no idea how to interpret, and I'm not an idiot (no comments from the peanut gallery please).
Second of all, there is too much homework. Today for example: Gabe comes home from school at 4:05 ish, and he takes about 20 minutes to get settled at home (snack, putting stuff away, getting yelled at for giving me attitude etc) so at roughly 4:25, we start homework. Today he had a math packet that he was supposed to "do what he can each night" on which I interpreted to mean one page a night, and then he was to read with me for 15 minutes in a designated book. After that, we were supposed to go over a sight reading sheet and fill out a little slip that looked like this:
____________ has read this sight reading sheet ___________ times. signed ___________
___________ has read independently for at least 15 minutes on these days: M T W Th F S
Could this possibly be any more vague? No where in Gabe's homework list from the teacher did it say how many times he was supposed to go over this sight reading sheet, so we went over it once. Then, at the bottom of the sight reading page it said that "the child should be reading independently for 15 minutes every day." So, being the non-idiot that I am, I gather that to mean that my son is also being asked to read an additional 15 minutes each day for a total of 30 minutes of reading. He's in first grade. He's six. HE JUST STARTED LEARNING TO READ! I don't even read that much in a day. So that's where I drew the line and on his little "slip" I filled out:
____Gabe_____ has read his sight reading sheet ____one____ times.
signed _____(me)_______
And I left the rest blank because by that time, it was 5:30, my three year old was destroying the house and enjoying the fact that my undivided attention was on Gabe's cursed homework, my baby was crying, I still hadn't started dinner, and I had already had enough of nagging Gabe to do the first HOUR of homework so there was no way in hell that I was going to force him to read for another 15 minutes.
On days like these (which, lets face it, are everyday) I find myself pondering the need for homework in our kids lives. I mean, isn't that what they spend all day long at school for? By the time Gabe is finished with his homework, it's dinner and then an hour until bedtime leaving very little time for family stuff and friends and unstructured play and being a kid.
Lastly, I think that summer is completely outdated. Why on Earth are our kids spending three months out of the year doing absolutely nothing? What purpose does this serve? Doesn't it make more sense from a learning stand point to keep kids in school for the whole year? Balance people, balance. I mean who is the idiot that said, double the work for part of the year when they won't be able to play at all and then the rest of the year they'll sit on their thumbs and do nothing. This isn't a new problem, just look at how many summer programs there are out there.
I'm so fed up with having to conform to a failing system that is nowhere near capable of reforming to the amount that needs to be reformed at any time soon. And the thing is, I don't think I'm a beleiver of Home Schooling either, at least not for me because I'm nowhere nearly qualified to teach

--Firstly, I feel as though I should apologize profusely for my bible swears. I know there are plenty of people who think that those words are unacceptable, and for their ears I am truly sorry. But hey--I was mad. Really mad. Generally when I'm angry I tend to exaggerate (ha ha haaaa haaa!!), but this was not one of those times. Seriously. Gabe really did have that much homework last year, and I still laugh at the fact that he has so much less this year! Also, It should be noted that he had a really hard year last year. We all did. And my feelings for summer have not changed in the slightest. Honestly, it's the largest oversight of the last century. Basically, I still totally feel that our educational system is just one huge ugly mess. Oh how I wish I could find a private or charter school to send my kids to where they spent more time out of desks than in them, and where there was much less testing. Ah well. At least this year we have a teacher that doesn't belittle our child and then send him home with hours of homework to do, right? Baby steps...


Anonymous said...

I could not agree more. I understand where teachers are coming from when they say they need parents to help and work with their kids, but at the same time, they are at school for SEVEN hours! I personally think that is plenty of hard-core learning time. Also, there have been several studies that have shown homework to be not at all effective.

It makes me seriously want to homeschool. If only that didn't mean I would have my kids home all day every day, LOL.

Julie said...

Wow Ali you really were on one.just kidding

But just wait until you have that much homework with 3 kids...Oh, and homework does not decrease in a private school. We have some of our kids in private school.

And I just have to defend summer break because I LOVE IT. I love having my kids home and hanging out all day. But we also keep up on the school skills at home during the summer.

You have to remember there are kids out there who's parents do nothing with them at home so the teachers get to spend time getting those kids caught up ...oh the joys of pblic school.

I hope you guys are doing good. I haven't talked to you in forever.

Juli said...

Amen, sister friend!

Emily said...

Wow. I agree. Completley. 100%. Homework...what the? Didn't they just LEAVE school? What exactly were they doing if they weren't doing this stuff. I promise they won't forget, they just left and they'll be back tomorrow...summer break sucks. I hate it. THAT IS WHEN THEY "LOOSE" STUFF. NOT IN THE 2 HOURS BETWEEN SCHOOL DAYS....HELLO??!! I'm all for school through the summer. All they do is get boared and spend too much time being lazy. If they were in school more, they would appreciate their time off. Okay. I'm done. Good post Ali. Now, let's me and you take on the Utah Board of Education and do something! Ha!!

Matthew Newsome, FSA Scot, GTS said...

Ali, I agree with 100% of what you said. My wife is a full time mom and we have chosen for her to homeschool our kids. We have a 2nd grader, a 1st grader, and one getting ready to start kindergarten next year. At their age, school is about 3 hours a day (1.5 hours in the morning and 1.5 hours in the afternoon); and only about 3 or 4 days per week -- but we don't take the summer off.

Obviously that time will increase as they get older and the subject matter demands it. But the point is that they are all light years ahead of where the public school kids their ages are. And they have zero homework, my wife knows exactly what they are doing all day, and they get to spend most of their time just being kids. Best of all, they think learning is fun. How many kids act like its Christmas morning when their new math worksbook arrives in the mail?

I'm not saying homeschooling is the solution for every family -- there are some great private and charter schools, and some good public schools, as well, though the "system" in general is a mess. But I really do think more families ought to consider homeschooling as an option than currently do. After all, the parents are supposed to be the "first teachers" of their children. The way I see it, it's our responsibility that our kids get a good education, not our government's.