Giving kids an education

19 Sep

Typically when I write a post, I take a pretty obvious stance in one direction or another.  Today though, I’m not sure you’re going to get the “usual, what you’ve come to expect from me” post.  I don’t even usually consider making a topic an entry on the blog unless I’ve collected all my thoughts and come up with a pratical application.  On this issue though, I’m not even sure as I’m typing now, exactly where this will go.

Giving kids an education today is so far evolved from what I experienced growing up. Maybe my memory is a bit foggy, but I don’t remember having homework until at least the 4th grade.  And honestly, that was so minimal I really could actually say, I don’t remember actually having work to complete outside of class nightly until junior high.  By that time, I was able to schedule study hall time during school hours to complete my homework.  Even through high school, I rarely had nightly homework, except for math, and when I did, I typically completed it before I left school.

Now-a-days, kindergarteners have homework.  It is not uncommon at all for them to have up to an hour a night to complete in some schools.  Second grade students are expected to write book reports.  Librarians want to give homework to the kids. Study halls are often not allowed because an elective class can be added instead.  There are more classes needed, like computer and technology classes, and college prep or even college credit classes.

In general, 2-4 year degrees are becoming extinct because “more and more” education is required for the “good paying” jobs.

A new reality shows, a 5-year-old will start school and begin with an hour of homework a night, be taking spanish in elementary, start algebra in junior high, be taking college classes at 16, and plan to need at least 6-8 years after high school to go into $100,000  + of debt to have a good enough education to get a job in the world today.

Let me address homework to start.  I can see why homework has relevance in some subjects.  When it comes to math, if a child can’t remember what they did 3 hours after class, then after 24 hours, they will be behind and be unable to keep up.  Math builds on itself, so it is a good indication if the child isn’t understanding their homework, they aren’t getting the material they are learning.  However, 8-15 problems (depending on age) is plenty to determine if they are able to apply what they are learning on their own.  That being said, homework every night, in every subject, causing kids that are 5-10 years old to spend an hour or more above and beyond the 8 hours they are at school seems excessive.  Why are we as a world pushing them to be rocket scientists? They need fun, imagination and creativity.

I too, want my kids to be educated and able to obtain a decent job to support themselves and their families.  And there is SO much more in this rapidly changing world that they need to know every day.  But at what cost?  A confusion that their identity in the world is based on how successful they are in school, the degree they get, and the amount of money they make?  The loss of childhood and humor in life because everything has to be so serious and strict?

Might we, as a world, have made an idol out of education? or success? We’re so busy striving to give the kids THE BEST education they can get and THE BEST chance at success, that we’ll do anything, including adding WAY more than we should on them, to reach this goal.

And I have no solution.  Sure, we can choose to scale back, or home-school and decide for ourselves the right amount of work or education they need and in what areas, but will they be ready for college, and can they get a job in this world without college?

How about it parents?

Are we doing the right thing?

Are we asking too much of our kids?

Are we on the right track toward the “right” kind of success?


6 Responses to “Giving kids an education”

  1. RaZella September 19, 2012 at 11:36 am #

    I think it really is all about the “bigger” picture. I’ve learned as a Christian, our goal is to please God. We do this by being more like His son Christ Jesus. Therefore, with our kids, as we are raising them, our priority should be raising them to be more like Jesus.
    The way of the world says we need a better education because we need more money to survive. Do we really need more money to survive? If we can pay our bills, and not have a lot of extras, however, have time with our family and learn to be content with what we do have instead of what we don’t, do we need more money to survive?
    I was fortunate enough to go to school and get an associates degree. Honestly, every good paying job I ever had, had absolutely nothing to do with the associates degree. My husband has no college degree of any kind, however, he earned his good paying job by starting at the bottom and working hard to get the experience he needed to progress in his field. The reality is, had he gone to college instead of working his way up, he probably would have only just recently finished paying off his student loans anyway!
    But even with that being said, what if he lost his good paying job? What if we had to downsize, get rid of all extras, would that be the end of the world? If we have our focus where it is supposed to be?
    This is a topic I ponder a lot in my own head. One that I am guilty of as well. After being in the workforce, and watching so many of my friends go to college, spend oodles of money, and not be any better off financially than I was when I was working as a single mother, I don’t believe college is as important as the world wants us to believe it is.
    What is important, is what we believe. Do we live our life according to our faith? Do we work at the tasks given to us, family, jobs, etc, as we are taught to per our Savior? Are we following Him, or are we following the world?
    I struggle with this a lot. I’ve heard myself tell my son “You better get good grades if you want to go to college, your going to need a scholarship”. My concern should be more about his heart. Does his heart care about doing a good job and doing his best because his homework is the task he has been given?
    Sorry for the long ramble. Maybe too much coffee this morning.. LOL! Very thought provoking indeed!

    • kaylagulick September 19, 2012 at 12:07 pm #

      Good response! Thank you for taking the time to really pour out what you see and what you’ve experienced! I like what you’ve pointed out.

    • Annie Thomas September 23, 2012 at 8:44 am #

      Kayla, I have had the same thoughts about education and success being all important in our society. I do actually homeschool my 9 year old son and we get ALL of his work done typically in about 5-6 hours a day. He is learning stuff in fourth grade that I’m already having to learn with him just to be able to keep up :o) He is a very smart and well rounded child. He plays football on the local Jr. Pro and All Star teams and is a very kind and compassionate soul. He has plenty of time for using his imagination. Just this past week, he took a remote control truck apart and took all the wiring out of it because he wanted it to be just a regular truck as well as drawing out a floor plan for a home all by himself. AND, he even took the initiative to clean and rearrange his room all by himself this week! I’m not saying that I would never put him in public school but, I agree with you, that kids should be able to be kids so, for now at least, I know that we’re doing what is exactly right for our family. Thanks for sharing your heart with us!

  2. Rocket Spanish vs fluenz October 21, 2012 at 5:59 am #

    This is a good tip particularly to those new to the blogosphere.
    Brief but very accurate info… Thank you for sharing this one.
    A must read post!


  1. Not of this world. « Lessons Of Mercy - October 8, 2012

    […] tell you how much money is on my mind lately.  I suppose this stems back to my post on education, as I think about college and the idol of education and degrees which has taken even the Christians […]

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