8.11.2007

Regular School....

Is it me, or has public primary school drastically changed since the early 80s when I was in kindergarten?

I eagerly awaited the day I could sign my child up for *free school*. After paying an obscene amount of money to private preschools, I was excited to actually have my tax dollar working for me in this way.

A'las, kindergarten this year...public, and up the street. I am of the mindset that public school is fine for most students. I went to public school...yadda, yadda, yadda. More diversity, more interaction with real life people. I believe it's easier to be a big fish in a little pond, so the fact that the school is 'average' could be a great thing for my kid. And, studies show that 'average' middle class kids, who attend 'average' schools, do just as well as similar 'average middle class' kids at great schools (whatever those are). Also, I've seen my share of the rich spoiled Paris Hiltons, to know that many of those expensive, pricey private high schools are full of cocaine, fast cars, and complete disregard for humankind at large. I've seen plenty of kids come into the ER intoxicated, high, raped, "suicidal", or all botoxed up with perfect make-up to boot, at age 16, from these well-to-do schools. My kid has a Diva personality, and she doesn't need any coaching in that area.

So, we went to the local public school. It was okay, I guess. But, it didn't seem as though the kids were well supervised. My kid is an escape artist, and she isn't always a great listener. It's important to know your kid, and in doing so, attempt to create an environment that they'll thrive in. Well, free play (whether planned, as in montessori or other 'child based' methods of teaching; or by default, as in lack of supervision by disinterested minimum wage earning staff on the playground) isn't a great environment for my little girl. Strike 1.

Then, they get out at noon. "School" is from 9a-12p. That's crazy. What is she supposed to do the rest of the day? Play on the playground....with the unsupervising supervisor. Strike 2.

What do they learn in kindergarten?
letters, numbers, frog cycles...

When do they learn to read?
First grade? You've got to be kidding me. I knew how to read and write sentences in kindergarten. I actually remember my teacher and everything. I expect that she'll learn how to read in kindergarten (actually I kinda think she should already know how to read).

I spoke with local parents, all whom agree that the local schools are unable to keep the reading ready kids advancing as a result of the....other kids. Those kids who don't know English, or are just stupid.

I don't want my child to stagnate waiting for Spanish speaking kids to learn English (unless my kid is learning Spanish simultaneously). Otherwise, my kid is getting the short end of the stick in this deal...and it's my duty to try and address these issues as her mother. As they are still learning (a very valuable skill), my kid is acting out, playing candyland, and waiting....
...and in the end, she's gained nothing. Strike 3.

So....she's going to private/christian kindergarten this fall. This school is the closest thing to a 'regular school' I've discovered in our 5 year search. They 'pledge allegiance to the flag.' They learn songs and dance. They learn about morals and friendship, love and obedience. It's okay for parents to spank (gasp) if deemed necessary. And....She's *learning practical things at school*...like reading, and math. Strangely, the Christian school has allowed us more freedom of expression than the public school or private, liberal preschools. The Christian School has been the most tolerant, and accepting of our family, our values and beliefs. It's amazing. Sometimes is seems the crazy right-winged republicans have taken ownership of Christianity. I am a Christian, and it's nice to see that there are Christians who actually do WJD (do what Jesus did).

After years of being forced to sit through church as a kid....and then marrying a guy who works in a world where anything Christian is typically anything but, it's refreshing to experience Christianity from this different perspective.

We have come full circle....back to our 'regular school.' No bullshit Montessori, or 'let the kids do whatever the hell they want child-based'. No learning about frogs and roaches in lieu of letters and numbers. No purple haired, flip-flop wearing, 35 yo single, childless, "teacher" with a PhD acting holier-than-thou because I think watching TV is okay, and my child eats Oreos. A regular school. With little desks. Where children raise their hands, and call teachers by their last names.

Ahhhh....finally....after 5 years!!
REGULAR SCHOOL!!

17 comments:

tina said...

I think the normal range for learning to read can be anywhere from k to 2nd grade depending upon the kid. So the first grade readers really aren't stupid-just avarage. Watching them do it is amazing. My kid learned between k and 1 and suddenly he went from sounding out words to reading paragraphs in two weeks.

If they aren't getting it by 2nd grade then likley it is an LD not stupidity. I saw a very cool talk at AS of neuroscience. Turns out poor readers often can't distinguish sounds on a sub 100 us timescale. They developed a computer program that teaches them this and then they read much better.

Public schools in tx suck for some of the reasons you mentioned-we put our kid in charter schools

Toni Brayer MD said...

Great post, very well written and it really makes the case. But "spanking?" I just can't see that in a school setting and it only serves to humiliate the child. Surely a Christian school doesn't need corporal punishment.
P.S. I went to a Catholic school and one nun slapped me across the face in class. I was only 8 but I knew even then she was out of control. Not a good model for learning.

ER doctor said...

Oh no, not spankings in school...

Just in general, I believe that we should give parents "room" to raise their children, and not pass our judgements and values onto others.

(of course abuse is a different story, but I'm not talking abuse...)

Alison Cummins said...

I was reading at age two. I read Heidi (the original novel, not a picture-book) and Frances Hodgson Burnett novels at age seven. I read Jane Eyre when I was eleven.

My mother taught me how to read. That's just detail. Parents can look after reading - super easy if your kid is bright. School is for the other stuff, like frogs, and making friends with kids who don't share a language with you. Especially kindergarten! Kindergarten is about learning how to go to school, and readiness skills like learning how to count to ten and learning the alphabet.

If you want her to read now, then teach her now. Don't whine about it.

ER doctor said...

"If you want her to read now, then teach her now. Don't whine about it."

My response: A two year old reader? Wow.

The mere fact of me teaching her (and her learning) to read...isn't the point, really. Just a great example to demonstrate my point.

My point is, good parents should certainly work with their own kids...teaching them about morality, values, spirtuality, social conduct, etc. Also, if they are able, help them grasp more academic lessons as well. However, good parents should participate in school, and hold school accountable for teaching the children what they need to know, to obtain basic educational skills. Most people think this is important, hence public schools...and the requirement that all kids attend.

The best parents may not be able to teach a child (academically or otherwise) everything they need to know. I remember my mom had to stop helping me with my homework once I got to jr. high/high school and advanced math (geometry, trig, etc). For many parents, this may come much sooner....like 3rd grade. It is at these times that parents are no longer to simply "teach their kids what they think they should know" when it becomes essential that our schools are up to the task of schooling - be it reading, or calculus. Teachers are trained, and better able to do this for most kids...otherwise we wouldn't need them at all, right?

The point is...
...school needs to be school...and teach children (not just how to read) but...academics in general. And this shouldn't start when they enter jr. high. This should start in pre-school!! I'm advocating that schools teach children practical academic skills...
...so that they can, for instance, "locate the United States on a world map."

Cory said...

Spanking is awesome. I was spanked, it wasn't a angry thing, as a result I learned respect.

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twotwobunny said...

Im having issues with the public school system. my son is a great child. he is in a kindergarten class and had be miss behaving, aparently one of the children has already be suspended. he is picking up all this bad behavior. he was depants at receses by a little girl, etc there dosn't seem to be any supervison at all.
he went to a privat preschool for two years. the work he has been bringing home for work is stuff he had learn a year ago and to find out they watch movies in class toy story!!!!
i am thinking of a private cathic school just down the street or moving to a diffrent town

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