Tag Archives: Success

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?