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Thursday, February 04, 2010

Learning should be fun

School isn't what it used to be.  What happened to making learning fun?  What happened to Christmas plays and Valentine's Day parties at school?  What happened to nap time? 

"Fun Center's" are permitted if they're a part of the standardized teaching guidelines.  Unregulated fun must take place between the hours of 3:30, when the bus arrives home, and 6:00 when dinner is served.  Oh, but wait, we've got to do a little homework and reading too- in addition to all the mental activities the kids have already been doing at school all day.  Bedtime by 8 and up again at 6:30.  That's a work day.

School begins at 8 and ends at 3. That's 7 hours, including a 30 min. lunch, 30 min. recess (if the weather is good), and one other out-of-classroom activity (music, Spanish, P.E., or Art). The rest of the time, those little kids are trying so hard to pay attention and be still, their noses in AR books and their heads bent down over their desks, furiously working out math problems and writing in their journals. Bella hasn't been eating her lunch, because she's afraid she won't have time to talk to her friends.

Everything's so serious now.  My daughter just informed me that she has to take a "really hard" CRCT test soon.  Who told her it was really hard?  Why are we stressing out 6-year-olds?  Bella is already way more advanced than I was in first grade.  I can't imagine all the cramming that our teachers must do in a day to meet state guidelines.  All that pressure makes for stressed out teachers too.

All I can do is try not to add to my child's workload.  The bummer is that if we want to do anything else, like soccer, tumbling, cheerleading, piano lessons, or whatever, we have to squeeze that in somewhere and make sure we're keeping up with school requirements too.  And so we lead this fast-paced, busy life.

It took Bella almost a full school year to get used to Kindergarten and the long days.  She told me all the time that she missed preschool.  Preschool is what school used to be like.  Somehow we've pushed the fast-forward button.  I can't shake this feeling that they're growing up too fast- that my daughter will miss out on some good old-fashioned fun. 

Anybody up for a game of freeze tag?  Just for fun.  At my house, where it's not against the rules.




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