We spent almost two hours last night doing homework. I say we because my girlfriend and I were as involved in these assignments as our two oldest kids. I mentioned the amount of homework they're bringing home and she said their teachers had indicated it would be this way; they are preparing them for the harsh realities of middle school.
I've got very mixed feelings about that. Our kids spend almost seven hours a day at school and then bring work home that, some nights, takes up another two hours. And that is preparing them for the harsh realities of middle school?
Well, John, you're just ticked because you had to help them last night and it took up your time.
Maybe. That's fair. But that's not all of it. Our kids love to go out in the backyard and play together. They swing, have light saber fights, roll around in the grass, dig big trenches in our yard for dad to twist his ankle in. That after dinner time, dusk, is a perfect backdrop for our children. The beauty of their faces set against a salmon-red sunset and the shadowy Raspberry mountains behind our home. It's downright gorgeous. But two hours of homework does not allow the sun to naturally set on my shoulders of my children. They are huddled over paper and erasers and the harsh reality of a flourescent light bulb.
Well, homeschool 'em, you big sissy. Stop whining about public schools and do your own thing.
We've thought about it and still do. But I'm not altogether unhappy with their public school experience. We believe they have great teachers and the social component is very important and any opportunity to go somewhere wearing a backpack is not all bad. But I believe once they walk out that door in the afternoon and head home, they should be free. Released from school. Free to go home. To that place where you can lay in the floor and watch cartoons and eat pretzels. A place where you can go outside and reintroduce yourself to your brother or sisters after having been apart for the day. A place that holds the opportunity of hunkering down in the grass and just thinking about stuff. Or getting together and pulling all the legs off a grasshopper. Or lining up beside each other and seeing how far you can spit. Or just swinging, swinging, swinging as the day closes her eyes for the night.
I've no problem with our kids being prepared for the harsh realities of middle school, or life for that matter. But I do not want it to be at the expense of experiencing the things we live life for. Their experience these last few weeks has been that life is all about work, productivity, all day long.
Well, skinny-philosopher-guy-with-kids-that-are-mean-to-grasshoppers, that's the reality of this world.
Yes, but we are to live in this world, but not of it. I want my children to learn the difference those prepositions make in our lives.