I’m not talking about through child abuse. Well, not in the sense we think of. That’s how I lost my childhood, abuse.
But losing our childhood is happening in another way and on a massive scale.
In a few minutes I’ll wake my little girl up. I let her sleep in longer in the mornings, especially in the summer, when we stay up real late. Although we do home school throughout the rest of the year and can be flexible, too.
Actually, referring to a “school year” is really a strange way of looking at life, when we’re not even in an institution that needs to run within that time frame.
Somehow though, the state regulations do make you, at least, aware of the schedule they run by and expect you to adhere to in some capacity. The reasoning is that its to make sure we are accountable and do right by our children, but I am not so sure the Department of Education, itself, is doing right by the children they are supposed to serve.
I’ve been thinking more and more lately about how oppressive our education system is becoming. Even if I did not have my other reasons for homeschooling, this insidious pressure to TEACH TO THE TEST, that all public schools – brick ‘n mortar and cyber – face, under the threat of losing their funding, would, alone, be enough for me to pull my daughter out of school if she was in one, and never let her step foot in one, if she wasn’t.
I went to our school district’s web site. It had a notice on the home page that stated that from now on, educational trips will be granted for a maximum of five days for the year. Anything over that would be counted as unexcused absence.
So if a child had an opportunity to travel to Europe for a couple weeks or go to NASA in Florida for more than five days, that child would be considered truant – even though their educational experience would far exceed anything that could be offered in a classroom setting.
Why? Because that child would not be in school getting drilled in facts that were sure to show up on the yearly state tests. The results of those tests is the school’s report card. Passing scores = receiving funds.
Students are required to provide job security for their teachers and administrators. Can’t let real opportunities for learning get in the way.
Not only are children coerced into spending more time in school – and they’re now talking about extending hours and days – in many schools across the country, they are given fewer opportunities in other disciplines, such as music, art and drama.
Even if scores were raised through these measures, what are we really attaining? It’s like feeding hungry kids junk food, and watching their weight go up. But are they healthy?
Are our kids educationally, intellectually or emotionally healthy? Are our kids learning the skills to be lifelong learners? Are they even learning what they’re learning in school? Is it even retained after the test and if so, for how long? Are we nourishing a child’s natural drive to learn, or have we beaten our kids down so low they have to be convinced, “learning is fun” or “can be fun”, because our experiences through school is that it really sucks, and we’ve all bought that as a given?
I lost my childhood because of a father who was inappropriate and a mother who was in denial. And it just makes me so sad to see a whole generation of children losing their childhood for institutionalized requirements.
I think I’ll wake Brhiannon up now, so we can go outside and play.