One of the things that saddens me the most about schools is how much they usurp from parents. They teach sex ed. They teach character. They teach morals and values and hygiene and health, things that were once the purview of the home. And they teach the basics in ways that we parents never learned them, making it very hard to help with homework.
It's easy for a parent to feel that he or she is not qualified to teach anything at all. We should leave it to the schools. We provide the nurturing and the physical care, and the schools provide everything else.
We homeschool, but I think this is the way society is trending.
And we as parents need to realize that much of what the school teaches is counterproductive. What do kids learn in the playground? Being popular matters. Brand names matter. Being cool matters. None of that is true as an adult in the way it is as a child, but it is taught nonetheless.
But Joanne Jacobs argues that schools also teach kids to be unemployed.
In a recent survey urban middle school students were asked the questions, “How many times can you be late (or absent) in a month and hold a regular job?” Over half the students responded you could be late as often as you had a good excuse. Almost half responded you could be absent any time you had a good excuse.
They believe they deserve a second, third, fourth and fifth chance after making mistakes. They’re never accountable for their actions.
Many urban youth not only believe that a good teacher can make you learn but that s/he can always make it fun as well. Naturally, every effort should be made to make as many things as pleasant as possible, interesting, and certainly engaging for students. But fun cannot be the ultimate standard for judging the work of teachers. Students frequently must learn hard and complex things. Many of these “things” require memorization, intense concentration, and repetitions which are fatiguing.
If schools accede to and support an ideology that “good learning is always fun,” what do they actually teach students about work? Should good feelings come from having fun activities, or should one be taught to feel good by accomplishing things?
Then kids leave school and no employer will put up with the attitudes these kids have.
So it all comes back to us. Do we realize that our purpose as parents is to raise independent, godly adults, or do we think our purpose is to make sure our kids have fun and enjoy the early years? I'm not saying responsibility can't be fun; I'm only saying our priorities have to be correct.
Kids need to do things they don't like (like practising piano; my daughter is very grumpy right now about that). They need to learn to clean. And they need the TV off during dinner hours. Life does not revolve around them, and if we moms try to make sure that our kids' lives are endlessly happy, we're actually doing them a disservice.
Labels: learning, public schools, teaching