Friday, February 13, 2009

Kindergarten Future: The Things I'm Dreading

I am very excited for my kids to start school. But the blogosphere is ablaze with a very specific nightmare that I await with a certain type of dread usually reserved for the gynecologist or oral surgeon.

Homework. Not mine, the kids'.

I am a slacker mom. I totally admit it. That's why I suck at being a stay at home parent. Oh yeah.. I found a certain groove with it. But it was mostly about getting through the day so I could rest. I'd take the kids out to do fun stuff, and we did have fun. But my ulterior motive was ALWAYS to exhaust them so that they would sleep.

So I am DREADING the new emphasis placed on homework for young children. I think cognitively most kids below fourth grade do not have the organizational skills to navigate multiple assignments, flashcards, reading, math problems, science experiments, building scale models of the Taj Mahal entirely out of marshmallows --or whatever they're teaching in school these days.

I've been through grade school. It was a long, dark painful period in my life that I look back on and can't believe I went through that hateful, spiteful environment that was public school in the 70's and didn't end up a raging psychopath. But I didn't really have to do homework until the 4th grade.

I was not raised by helicopter parents. If I messed up in school, it was my problem. My husband was in pretty much the same situation. I slacked in High School? Boo freaking hoo... My parents instilled enough pride in me that I cared about my grades. They did not need to monitor my every move to make sure I was doing my assignments. I just did them.

But today we're expected to hover over our kids and make sure they do their homework and that it gets into the backpack in the morning. And why do they pile the homework on to first graders? Because there is a completely unproven theory that it will set up better habits when it matters in junior high and high school. Yeah.. show me the study! Our kids are missing their childhood afternoons for an unproven theory. Yaay!

And if they don't get it done, it's our problem, not just theirs.

The media loves to mock helicopter parents mercilessly. But I think we're being set up. I have no desire to Children are being required use organizational skills that developmentally aren't generally available to them. I'm not talking about the work level. I'm sure it's just reinforcing whatever they're learning in school. But six and seven year olds just don't have the skills to organize a bunch of homework projects without a lot of help. So what other choice will we have but to hover?

I'm just dreading it.


Blogger Downpuppy said...

Teachers don't like it either.

So don't worry. The veterans know how to give 5-10 minutes worth a day. And since your kids are starting now, they don't remember the good old days.

And you don't have to tell them.

3:02 PM  
Blogger Pam said...

I can't remember if you are working FT right now, but if your daycare has an after school program, they generally supervise homework. Ours is wonderful that way. We didn't have trouble until 3rd grade, and that mostly because of Q's ADD.


12:42 PM  

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