I am trying to get up the motivation to go to my kids' open house tonight.
I really do not like their school. I am also not too keen on their teachers. I understand that the teachers are handicapped by a myriad of federal, state, and local rules that prevent them from taking control of their classrooms and utilizing all of the no doubt amazing teaching techniques that some of them learned in their pursuit of their teaching degrees; but when I have to go and listen to how my son got a C on a math test because he did not draw a picture good enough to demonstrate how he got the numbers in the equation that he used to actually solve the problem, or that he didn't properly use 'counters' during his math review, I get all stabby feeling. When I have to hear how my daughter got a 'level change' for giving a pencil to a classmate who didn't have one, I have to bite my tongue. And when I think of my 5 year old attending this highly regimented, restricted, and controlled school next year, I get sad.
I remember elementary school as FUN. We went on lots of field trips, at least once a month some kid had a birthday and their mom brought cookies or cupcakes, and we had at least 7 class parties a year. We had PE everyday, recess was 45 minutes everyday, art was twice a week and music twice a week, and our teacher read books by authors like Judy Bloom and Ronald Dahl to us for at least 30 minutes after lunch every day. We had plenty of time at lunch for eating and talking with our friends -- the idea of a 'silent lunchroom' would have never been suggested, let alone tried.
Sure, we had lessons and we learned a lot of stuff, but the only thing I remember truly dreading were the DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) reports that we had to do in 5th and 6th grade. Even those wouldn't be so bad now that there is the Internet. I had to spend hours with my parents Encyclopedia Britannica and in the public library in the card catalog on my 'working bibliography.' Then I had to spend even more time making note cards, outlines, composing the report, writing and rewriting (by hand) the report so that the margins were perfect, the citations of sources were accurate, that everything was done to the strictly laid out rules and guidelines so I could turn it in. I have always been a pretty good writer, but I suck if I don't want to write about something. I would have enjoyed it better if they had said "Hey, go learn enough about the Revolutionary War to make up a historically accurate story." But sadly, they wanted facts. They wanted facts that were backed up by multiple sources. They wanted properly documented sources and they were not interested in colorful embellishments. Yep. DAR reports were the sole blemish on my fun early education, but for the most part elementary school was a blast.
Too bad my kids do not have that same amazing school experience. Not at all. They get PE every other day. They get art once a week (most weeks). They get music once a week. Recess is only 15-20 minutes on a good day. And their classroom time is spent learning new ways to do things that their parents and grand parents learned the right way. No, it is no wonder that they come home everyday begging me to home school them (which is sooooooo not happening!)
And if I go tonight, I will get to hear all about how my kids would do better if they would just conform and I will have to resist blowing raspberries. Maybe I should just stay home....