Do parents value education only when it's convenient? A recent Huffington Post article about the longer school day in Chicago, has made me ask this question. Actually, I have asked myself this question after talking to a lot of parents even before the school day was extended.
Over the years I have listened to parents complain about too much homework and too many projects. These conversations always seem to involve their child's homework/projects having a time conflict with an activity or sport. Every parent wants a rigorous curriculum until it interferes with an extracurricular activity or sport. They want that rigorous curriculum to prepare them for great high schools or colleges. Or so they say. NEWS FLASH: A rigorous curriculum almost always means extra work.
I understand that we all want our children to be well-rounded. We want dance, sports and music to be part of our children's lives. Parents and their children need to learn BALANCE and TIME MANAGEMENT. Parents and their children also need to learn that you can't have everything that you want, how you want it and when you want it.
Claire Wapole wrote an entire blog about all of the things that her and her children didn't have time to do at home because her children have a longer school day. She talks about teaching her kids to do laundry, pet care and the fact that daughter takes gymnastics for two hours a day, everyday. She suggests having the teacher help her children with these things because they are in school for seven hours and are only at home awake for four hours and they need time to decompress.
If children need time to decompress after a long school day, why would any parent enroll their child in a two hour gymnastics class everyday with only four hours to do homework, eat dinner and experience family life? Does the term "over scheduling" come to mind?
Claire Wapole, according to her biography works with Raise Your Hand. The Raise Your Hand parent group was lobbying really hard for a longer school day. Until last year, Chicago had one of the shortest school days in the country. They wanted a longer school day so that their children could have recess during school. When Mayor Rahm Emanuel extended the school day by one hour and ten minutes, the group pulled it's support for the longer school day because they deemed it too long. They just wanted time for recess, they didn't care to have additional instructional minutes. The additonal time for recess was convenient for them.
The point is that education should be a priority. Everything else should be secondary. At this point in a child's life, education is their main focus. Their education is preparing them for the rest of their life.
Your household chores, gymnastics, sports and dance should be worked around education. I know this will come as a shock to some people, but it may not be possible for your child to take two hours gymnastics everyday. You may have to teach your children how to do laundry during a school break or God forbid, on the weekend. If your life is so busy that there is no time to properly care for a pet, you may need to find him or her a new home or maybe you can pay for pet care.
For those of you who want it all, when you want it, how you want it, maybe you should try homeschooling your children. That pesky school day will no longer be a burden. If you homeschooled your child, you have the entire day to educate your child anyway that is convenient for you.
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