Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Education

(now with pictures!)
It's on my mind a lot. Generally I like school. I like the science fairs and the reading contests and that he has to learn large group dynamics. I like volunteering in first grade and I LOVE helping in Gifted and Talented. But the negatives are starting to outweigh the positives.School is just too long. Bottom line. We have an early bedtime and between homework and dinner, there just isn't time for much else. Granted it only takes 30 minutes to do homework for him, but it's busy work. Worksheets or things he can do standing on his head and reading a book the teacher sends home. Because of this he's been given extra work. Not different. Extra.And what kinds of books is he bringing home? I wish I could say Charlotte's Web or Stuart Little.
(View from my kitchen. This rainbow lasted all of 10 minutes)
Instead they're something I like to call "sitcom books". The latest has a character called "The Fartmeister." I'm serious. Now, I don't expect my child to be reading Plato or anything, but could we up the quality a few notches please? The attitude of the school: at least they're reading.
Let me ask you this, if a child grows up to be an adult who reads nothing but adrenaline books and trashy thrillers, is it really doing them any good at all?
He'd much rather read about gravity or snakes and frankly, I don't see why he can't.
Instead of letting him do work at his level, he has to do all the stuff the rest of the class is doing, plus the more advanced work.
When he asks why he has to do worksheets for spelling words like "use" (hippopotamus would be more appropriate) I don't know what to tell him. I think it's dumb too.
I don't write this to bag on his teacher, she has to do her best for over 20 kids and has no idea what they have already read in their recreation time. I write it to point out the positives of homeschooling. He wont be busy doing things he's already done. He'll be learning math he doesn't already know because the class has to do math together. He'll have spelling words he has to actually study! I know he doesn't need to spend 30 minutes practicing spelling words he already knows.
I have nothing personally against my sons' teachers or even the school. I just think he should have down time, time to be a kid.
(what 6 year age difference?)
I've been on the fence about this for a while, but that has dramatically shifted in the past couple of months. I think I'm finally ready and prepared enough to home school. He's ready to start now, but I told him he should finish off the school year. We'll see how we both feel come August.
In the meantime I am reading: Charlotte Mason, Maria Montessori, The Well Trained Mind, TJED, Homeschooling Gifted Children (did I just use the "g" word? Yes! I did!!)
I'm excited! A little nervous, but mostly excited! I LOVE what I have been reading! And hope to have reviews forthcoming.
I know some of my readers homeschool and I would LOVE any advice, resources, and tips!

5 comments:

  1. I'm learning a lot about Waldorf and Steiner education right now and I'm a big fan of some of the things I'm reading (like instead of pushing forward where a kid is gifted, focus on the places where he's struggling). Educating the whole person kind of thing.

    I'm sorry about the intellectual garbage being sent his way. Couldn't the teacher ask you to get extra reading for him, instead? Maybe you could just tell her that you'd love to do it so that she doesn't have to worry about it.

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  2. School IS too long, especially if they are just sending home extra busy work on top of it. First graders should have 10 minutes of homework - period. 10 minutes for each year in school.

    I am really struggling with this right now because Maggie is past the point of decoding and practicing reading. She's doing what we're supposed to do when we read - LEARN. Reading isn't a school subject for her, it's a tool to learn more about the world. So while I'm thrilled that she's reached this milestone, I too struggle with the "what now?" issue.

    Maybe find out what his instructional reading level is (not this Accelerated Reader GARBAGE, I hate that program) and head to the library to find nonfiction books that are challenging yet stimulating for him to read. Check out a stack on whatever topic he's interested in and go from there. It's something I'm going to be doing with Maggie this summer, and I'll be sure to blog about it, too.

    PS I'm in the middle of writing a blog post in my head about math...stay tuned for that one. It's a doozie. :)

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  3. PS, I forgot one thing. Maggie's teacher started sending home poetry books that are on her reading level and it's been PERFECT! I read them with her, and because they are more abstract than a story, it's a challenge for her - but a good one. And we've been able to discuss and search out similies, metaphors, and talk about comparing and contrasting. Give it a try - it's FABULOUS!

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  4. I can't believe the trash that passes as for children's books. I mean, we were at Barnes and Noble the other day and I had to seriously scour and search to find anything that looked even vaguely decent. I'm not sure why Walter the Burping Farting Super Dog is so popular but it pretty much just makes me want to cry.

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