When was the last time you spent the day in a traditional public elementary school? Was it when you yourself were an attendee?
In my 3rd year as a compulsory education parent it is getting harder - not easier - to drop my son off each day.
Imagine being put into a machine each precious morning that whorled, rotated, directed, was loud, had over a million moving parts – did I mention you are required to remember thousands of rules, facts and keep track of 4 fundraisers simultaneously?
Think you can manage?
Here's more: you are among hundreds of "friends" – as they are called – who are completely different from you. You don't get to choose who's on your "team" and you're expected to get along with all of them...all of the time. You're required to be tolerant of the ones who face challenges, you're expected to be understanding when your leaders – without warning – are having a "bad day." The leaders aren't always up to par.
Your surroundings look like the explosion of a craft supply store with so much loud visual stimulation you want to scream. You are interrupted by voices and bells, never finish a sentence and are tested...CONSTANTLY.
Oh yeah. And you're 7.
While Axel rarely complains of the chaos that fills his day I can't help but compare what these kids experience to being the junior version of "wolf of wall street."
I'm sure moments of peace happen. I'm sure there are times that don't seem so out of control. In 3 years I just haven't witnessed one yet.
What I believe: every kid – and further more – each group of kids has the ability to operate with a quiet hum and to thrive in a calm environment where they can hear peoples thoughts and not their voices. I believe kids are naturally curious and given the tools will discover a love of learning on their own. No fancy gimmicks necessary, no hyper-stimulation required, just empty space to fill with discovery and silence to ponder their questions.
Utopian? I don't think so. Ever watched a Montessori class? It's possible.
Solution? Write out the check for a school placing students as the priority. Say no to fund-raisers that pre-maturely use children as marketing pieces. Home school - if you can't take it anymore.
None of these options work for your family?
Play hooky once-in-a-while. Take a "mental health day." Have "camp Mommy" where you relieve your kid from their day job and play in the woods. Let them work on something until they finish – not until the bell rings.
Let them be 7 or 8 or 3 or 15.
Just a thought.
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