I recently wrote this for Deep South Moms, but would love to get more feedback on the issue.
My oldest child started Kindergarten this past Fall in what I would consider a typical public school here in the Deep South. It’s not too big and not too small; it’s just a typical suburban school. I remember when she started school that she was so excited to learn. She couldn’t wait to read and loved practicing her handwriting so that she could keep a journal ‘just like mommy.’ She was eager to leave for school each day and couldn’t wait to return to school the next.
That excitement began to wear off as the school year moved along and it didn’t surprise me at all. But, what I didn’t realize until recently, is that her lack of excitement may very well be boredom. She comes home from school with a backpack full of worksheets. Countless worksheets. She doesn’t tell me much about what she does at school because, according to her, they don’t do much of anything. I figured she was just being a bit dramatic in her recall of school events. Until she told me about recess.
The other morning we were looking for her extra hat and gloves before she left for school when she informed me that her class doesn’t take recess outside anymore.
“What do you mean you don’t go outside and play anymore?”
“Well, we have not gone outside for a while and my teacher said we won’t go outside fore the rest of the year because it’s too cold to play outside.”
“We still have recess, though.”
“Oh, do you just play in the gym?”
“No, usually we just watch TV.”
I was shocked. Shocked. My brilliant child is spending her recess time watching TV. Not only is she being inundated with countless worksheets throughout the day, but she isn’t even given time to run and play and get fresh air. I have not talked to the teacher or the school yet, but here in the South it’s rarely too cold to play outside. I grew up far North of here and I can tell you without a doubt that there certainly are kids having recess in December above the Mason-Dixon line!
Once the shock wore off a bit I was faced with the question of whether my child is actually receiving a quality education. Sure, we do our best at home to supplement, encourage, and provide other learning opportunities. But, the bulk of her education is supposed to be happening at school – the place she spends a good six hour a day. And, it isn’t. She’s coming home bored, defeated, and without the excitement to learn that I’ve seen in her since she was old enough to sit on her own. She’s losing it. She’s losing a love of learning and a love of school before she ever really gets started. I don’t know what the solution is, but I know that, as a parent, I will do anything in my power to try and fix the situation.
Maybe it’s as simple as a bit of fresh air during recess. Or, maybe it’s dependent on something bigger – like homeschooling. I do know that we better figure it out pretty darn quick! I would hate to have her lose that love of learning before she’s really even gotten started.
Last night we took our oldest to meet her teacher and explore the school that will become hers as of Monday. She was so excited to see her classroom, meet new friends, and tell anyone that would listen that she was about to be in kindergarten.
I’m sitting here filling out the massive amount of paperwork required to register my daughter for kindergarten.
I’m just going to have my coffee this morning by snorting crushed beans mixed with powdered milk. That’s all I have time to do.
Every Monday my daughter is required to bring in three pictures that represent the letter they will be studying that week. Actually, it isn’t necessarily required as much as it is recommended.
But, yesterday I had some of my own issues with an upset tummy. As any parent knows this always hits at the most inconvenient time. Not there is ever a convenient time for the ‘rrhea, but anyway! I ran to the bathroom- one kid crawling and screaming at me – one kids in desperate need of finding his spider and cricket – and one kid that felt now was the time for conversation: