Our kids are over-scheduled and over-connected with all the current technology available. No Child Left Behind has (in my opinion) caused more problems than it was ever meant to correct. Schools are now so test score driven, that there is no room for the things that are needed to grow well rounded, thinking children. Sunshine, fresh air, a sense of themselves and their place in the world, these are crucial, but lacking from our public schools. It used to be that these things were available outside of school. We spent our afternoons, weekends and Summers outside, making our own adventures. We didn't have video games or cell phones. We had to think of ways to entertain ourselves and, guess what, we DID! We learned how to think, and solve problems, not just to pass tests. We had art classes and shop classes, cooking and sewing, even auto repair class! We could go out for any number of sports teams, we had marching bands and could choose from a variety of instruments to learn. And we got to choose from 3 languages to learn, beginning in 7th grade. All during school hours. The same number of hours that our kids are in school now. Is this new math?
I came across this article and feel so relieved to see someone else feeling the way I do.
The authors of The Failure of Enviromental Education write, "The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001,
with its focus on standardized tests, leaves little time for history,
civics, art, literature and other courses that can shape responsible,
involved citizens and teach them common sense, Saylan and Blumstein
contend. So far, schools have failed “to provide what is necessary to
turn the tide of environmental deterioration.”
I started my educational farm because I saw a need for kids to spend time outdoors, climbing trees, caring for animals. We plant and harvest and cook and bake. We make art and play hide and seek. We all sit down and eat a picnic lunch together. And, by doing so, we learn to communicate, to have social skills, compassion and conversation. To be responsible and self sufficient. We even figure out how to "pump" ourselves on the big tree swing and think of the best hiding places. I think these life skills are the building blocks of a good human. And isn't that what we all hope to contribute to this world? As a parent who can't afford to send my kids off to private school, where they could get more of these experiences, it becomes my responsibility to fill in the gaps and help my children to be enriched with a well rounded education.
What are you doing to enhance your kid's public school education? If you decided to give up on the system and home school, at what point did you round that corner?
I'd love to hear your thoughts.