I was lucky enough to stay home with my son for a few years between the ages of two and four. Amazing years…we spent a lot of time playing together and learning. He discovered a love for the piano at this time, a love of dancing, a love for all things creepy and crawly. He learned his colors and his ABC’s and how to count. We had fun and he learned along the way.
He entered pre-K at public school and everything went down-hill. I don’t mean to bash the teachers or the school. But it is true. Everything started… unraveling for lack of a better word, shortly after entering school. He went through numerous tests. IQ, behavior, medical, ones I can’t even remember. He got diagnosed with Autism, then PDD-NOS, then ADHD. All before he could properly write his name. Whether he took it in at the time or not that he was singled out I don’t know. He was marked ‘different’ because his brain didn’t work the way the system wanted it to.
As a new parent I took all this and went with it. They knew better, they were smarter. After years of being on medication and being off it and being on it. Seeing the pros and cons we decided that yes, he does need a little help. Just like a diabetic needs help, or someone with cancer would need help. His brain isn’t wired the same and that is okay. That is perfectly fine. I read somewhere, someone described their ADHD like being spun around and around and around until they feel like they will puke and then being told to focus on one thing. Impossible.
His medication, after finding the right dose, still allows him to be super crazy, still allows him to play and imagine and be silly, but it also stops the spinning. But this isn’t about Cody or his medication. This is about the system. This is about all kids who deserve to be educated and not conditioned.
I remember learning to write my name, I remember that I was in Kindergarten. I was five. More to the point it was Kindergarten when I was learning it. Now pre-K is Kindergarten and Kindergarten is first grade and so on. The common core has quite simply, in my opinion, ruined education in the country. Instead of bringing us closer to other countries academically or whatever it’s mission was, it is failing. Children are failing. My son struggles nightly with his homework. Nightly. The way they are asking the kids to do math is insanity to me. The other day it took three adults to figure it out. Three. One with a college education, one with a certification in Accounting.
To figure out third grade math. That isn’t right. It isn’t right that my son would honestly rather come to work with me, than go to school. My son would rather do just about anything than go to school. He doesn’t like going to bed, because he knows in the morning they’ll be school. He wants me to home school him. Believe me I wish I could. If I did, he could go to the bathroom whenever he wanted, he could learn at his pace. Another example of failure that is common core is ELA. They time the kids reading. Which, if you will excuse my language, is complete bullshit! No one should be timed reading. If it takes one kid ten minutes to read something and another five does that mean the one who took five is smarter? No! of course not! It boils my blood to think that kids are being treated this way, being pitted against each other like this. It is all about those damn test scores. The test scores don’t mean anything. I would love to know who decided that was the way to measure people. Test scores don’t matter. There is so much more that goes into learning and into retaining and recalling information. Even if at the end of the year the test is the end result, the learning along the way should be and can be enjoyable.
Parents shouldn’t need to take college course to help their children. Their shouldn’t be parent nights at school specifically to help with the curriculum.
I wrote a blog about the need for recess and also mentioned that my child has been refused the basic human luxury of going to the bathroom more than once. Someone commented. They suggested that I ‘train’ my kid to use the bathroom at certain times. This mentality is what is wrong. Is anyone trained to use the bathroom? They went on to say that two recesses is a bit excessive. Except that it isn’t. What is excessive is forcing children to focus and sit for hours on end. I’ve said it before and will say it again, adults can’t do that. I work in an open office. I see it every single day. So either I work with a bunch of people with attention issues (I don’t ) or it isn’t feasible to expect people to sit for hours and concentrate. (I am thinking that it’s latter here).
The school system to needs to change. They need more gym, more recess, more art more science, less sitting, less testing and for the love of all that is reasonable, less common core. Our children deserve a better education system.