I actually wrote this for my website several years ago. After recently reading “I Don’t Know How You Do It” over at Life Without School, I thought it was worth reviewing and posting in a different context.
What do Thursday nights have to do with homeschooling? Everything.
My son was in first grade and wanted to play baseball. My husband, Scott, and I both worked. So I would take off early from work to pick up Ethan from daycare and get him to practice by 5:30 or 6:00. After practice, we would pick up one those healthy and homey meals from a fast food place and eat on the way home. This allowed us more time for Ethan to study for his spelling test, do any other homework, take his bath, and get to be so that we could all get up at six the next morning and do it again.
We were so caught up in rushing from one place to another that we didn’t have time to realize the insanity of it all. Where was our time together as a family? If his friends came to the door while we were at dinner, I would let him go out and play since he hardly had any “free” time. Scott and I were both too tired to put up with the yelling and crying that came with doing chores and enforcing other family rules. It was easier just not to deal with it.
Oh sure, I could have just quit my job and it would have made the chauffeuring less hectic, allowed time for chores in the afternoon and so on but that wasn’t the point. Ethan was barely six years old and spending seven hours a day in school. Surely, that’s enough time to learn what’s needed to be learned. But no, six-year-olds also have homework, not to mention needing to study for tests.
Why does a six-year-old have to worry about “time management” skills and being responsible for homework assignments as part of an academic education? By the way, there aren’t any studies that show homework contributes to learning before the high school level. Anyway, wouldn’t the chores he’s not doing count for responsibility and such?
ltimately, when we received his first report card, all A’s but for one B as I remember, it just struck me how ludicrous the system was. The grades didn’t mean anything to him. He hadn’t suddenly transformed from kindergarten smiley faces to F’s and A’s in a period of three months. Why should we worry about the one B? How much time did we need to spend to get nine out ten right rather than eight out of ten?
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for standards, especially for doctors and nurses and such. But can you imagine your pediatrician telling you that, “I’m sorry Mr. Smith, but your toddler hasn’t mastered 70% of the expected gross motor skills for an 18 month old. We simply can’t let her progress to skipping until she can stand on one foot for 10 seconds.”
No, you can’t.
Because everyone knows that children develop at different rates and it’s perfectly normal–until you enter school. Then, all of a sudden it’s not normal and you get to spend Thursday nights making sure you child is the same as every other child his age, and no matter what the report card says, that will never happen.