For the last few weeks I’ve been stewing over my 5-year-old’s Term 2 report card. He’s only in kindergarten, so there’s no reason for him to 1)Receive a report, or 2) For me to give a shit what it might say. But still. Here it is.
The report declares how my son is ‘approaching’, ‘meeting’ or ‘exceeding’ expectations in about 20 different areas. It’s annoying me because the categories are so boring: “joins in repetitive parts of stories and songs”, “identifies practices that contribute to health”, “lists the features of bears”, etc. And though he’s marked as “E” for “shows an interest and positive attitude toward writing”, it doesn’t anywhere say – Holy Smokes! This kid writes and binds his own books. That’s amazing. He’s only five and the spelling is completely wrong, but what incredible initiative!
Instead, there’s remarks about him not “sharing observations with classmates,” or not “participating in whole-class discussions.” (He has anxiety about big groups, and some perfectionism, for which we see a counselor.)
How much of my irritation is to do with wanting my child to be recognized for the “special snowflake” he is? Can I really expect more from this poor teacher with 21 other kids?
I did expect more, honestly. This time it was for cool arts and science projects, glitter, bug-collecting walks, interesting learning stations. Here it’s just worksheets and colouring pre-made pictures. All designed to help ESL students to get a better handle on language, I know, but where’s the excitement?
Still I’m equally unsure if it’s silly to send my babies to alternative free-thinking schools, partly because I picture gangs of feral children who never learn respect or courtesy, and partly because it would involve bussing them to North Vancouver.
The regular school is a five-minute walk from our house. Awesome. For me. For my kids … it’s also pretty awesome that their school friends will be within play date range. I want them to have the best chance possible at happy social lives, maybe even more than I want academic success.
Homeschooling seems great in theory but I get lonely and grouchy when I’m with my kids all day every day. I’m much better at coming up with interesting adventures or art projects once in awhile, especially when I’m resourced with my own writing and learning. It seems better for my kids to be influenced by other adults. After all we don’t see eye to eye on everything. I HATE structure and lists and rules, for example. While my child LOVES these things, and feels mortified when I park in no parking areas, or cut the arms off my T-shirts.
Plus, the idea of it causes strife in the household, because my husband doesn’t want to be the only breadwinner. Currently, I’m only winning bread 2 days a week, but the idea is that as the kids file off to school, I start to make more dough. That doesn’t work if I take on homeschooling.
Maybe my kids should learn numbers, letters and rule-following at school, and conduct grand adventures and science experiments on the weekend – like most people I imagine.