Saturday, October 21, 2006

Okay, okay. . .

I got not one, not two but THREE phonecalls last night asking me to elaborate on the end of my last post (hi Nichole, Barb and Becky!) I stated that I think making your kids go to school ireparably harms the parent/child relationship. I was at gymnastics with Evie on Wednesday night and overheard a mother and her 11 year old son. She was making him do his homework. The homework was parsing out syllables and learning what short and long sounds are--in my opinion, a completely asinine, tedious and stupid exercise, WHERE IS THE RELEVANCE? It was a nightmare to listen to. The kid had clearly learned that doing homework means producing the "right" answers in the quickest, least painful way possible. He would ask his mom, "Well do I do this?" She would screech back, "You didn't read the instructions, read them again." (This happened twice.) Then, when he would make an honest attempt she would say "No, it is X, listen." One time they were arguing about the syllabic divisions in the word "evening." She insisted there were only two syllables (that is the way we pronounce it in WI) but her son was insisting there were three. I am guessing the book wanted his answer based on what they were using as rules for defining syllables. The whole thing was horrible. Keep in mind there are about 20 other people around in this room as this is happening. The kid got up after awhile, clearly disgusted and exhausted and went and bought a candy bar. When he brought it upstairs his mom said, "You are not finished with this." He said, "Aw come on, I've done a lot." His mom then shunned him and murmered yucky things under her breath about her slacker son. Later, the kid went to buy some candy out of one of those quarter candy machines. As soon as he got near them his mother shrieked "Don't even think about it! How can you even consider such a thing!"


When his mom went downstairs I invited the kid to pull his chair up next to mine so he could see better (down into the gym, he was waiting for his sister). I was hoping to start a converstaion with him about ANYTHING he actually liked. I was going to take a wild leap out of my sphere of knowledge and ask about the new x-box games, or star wars lego or ANYTHING. When his mom came back upstairs she told him to "get back over here and finish you stupid homework." Well goll-ee, if mom thinks it is stupid too, why does he have to do it!

This kind of scene is par for the course at gymnastics. Performance obsessed parents caught in the drama of public prisons. . . I mean schools. I won't even bother fully recounting the other "highlight" of that gymnastics session regarding a 4 year old who "used to be such a sweetie" but then when he started preschool he started hitting, throwing things, biting etc. "He is going to get kicked out of preschool!" "What are they going to do with him?" "Send him for counseling I guess." "Why do they think he is doing it." "Going to school I guess" HELLO?!?

So, over and over again I witness or hear tales of how daily school and the culture that goes with it creates antagonistic relationships between parents and children. I had a good school experience, I went to a wacky 1970s Montessori school until I was 12. I was spared much of the initial school brainwashing. I really didn't know how bad schools are for our children, and thus for our society.

I think I will go look at the face of my sweet 6 1/2 year old as she sleeps, and anticipate the hugs and ideas that will come flying from her when she wakes up a happy, whole and healthy child.


~DanaB~ said...

Bravo, bravo--excellent post, thanks!


Tiff said...

I am not sure this woman would be good at homeschooling/unschooling her child either...yikes...or she needs to be involved in her childs Evil "PUBLIC" school education or she needs to look at her busy schedule and simplify!

Just keep in mind that it is NOT all bad!

How lucky Evie is to have such a caring mom who is able to provide an enriching learning environment. One in which Evie is in charge of her own learning and the direction it takes!

You are my hero! You amaze me with your entries.