September 24, 2012

School Daze


This post is a bit different than usual.  Would you  please bear with me while I rant a bit?
I just heard a news report on American education on the news channel. They interviewed some legislator or other. His solution? Longer school days. Longer school year. Begin the day earlier and stay later. Ugh! Kids fall asleep now from lack of sleep. 
Children up through their teens need 10-12 hours of sleep a night. Longer hours, longer year? More isn't better.
 In the days of the one room school house, there was no high tech but kids learned.
 Laura Ingalls Wilder lists a typical school day. 
Part of it was adding up columns of numbers like this: 1239+5393+2987+7653= .. in your head.
 Talk about how to develop memory skills and create orderly thinking. 
They learned Latin. Latin is a sure way to increase brain power and that is well proven in studies.
Latin study increases vocabulary and understanding. 
Studies show that children learning at a low level rapidly advance when taught Latin and that reading comprehension increases dramatically. (Valdosta State U research)
 I taught my daughter Latin in her last two years of home school. 
Before that she attended both religious school and public school. The home school day was 3 hours long.  
  I think teachers need to be allowed to teach. They are not stupid. They have some great ideas but I think too much interference stands in their way. 
Can there be methods? Children are individuals. Methods might suggest a path but I think teachers must be free to judge the needs of the children in their care.
Today teachers are required to have so much education it isn't funny.
I had teachers who never set foot in a university and two who attended what was called "normal school".
They were great teachers. 
Teaching is a talent. 
I have watched the education of the Famous Anonymous Kid.       Her teachers have been stellar.
 The only fault I have found with education is the failure to teach penmanship and to insist on proper grammar, spelling and structure in their reports, etc. (This from the Queen of  impossible paragraph messes.  I seem to try and mess them up as much as possible. )
 And let kids fail. They will learn in life soon enough that not working leads to failure. We aren't talking about kids who try and just can't seem to keep up. That is a whole other story. But if they don't or won't do the work they need to be allowed to reap the rewards.
Let them also learn that failure is not the end. They can pick themselves up and do better.   Let them know how many great men failed but did not allow it to stop them. 
We need to redefine failure, however.   Right now it has a dead end feel to it that is unreasonably harsh.

One year I got a call from one son's physics teacher about giving him a 'D' for not handing in his work. She was so very upset over it. 
When I told her " go for it!" if that was the grade he worked for, she was speechless. 
After  a long silence she said, "Oh, thats great. Thank you. I was so worried. Families today demand good grades."  
It was not easy on him. He was an honor student and it ruined his record.  But it taught him that things aren't given to you. You must work to achieve things.
Well we all want our children to work hard and do well,  but I want good grades  from the child, not from the teacher!  She's already proven herself scholastically.

And, I am more worried about the citizenship grades on the other side of the report card than anything.

 I would love to see school systems bring in their retired teachers and seek their counsel and advice.    There would be a wealth of great ideas there.  The experts never seem to get it right but the 'experts' they go to are never teachers themselves!

 I know.. complain, complain. 

 Just an aside:  When writing the post I toyed with the possibility of using html  brackets around the word 'rant' to open and close the post just to add a little fun to  the look.
I should know better. 
It can be done as a joke but not as I did it and being too lazy to bother, I just went on without bothering.
Well in checking the post and it's html Blogger did indeed turn 'rant' into an
the html of this post click to enlarge
html command.
Every single sentence in the html of this post begins and ends with  rant  /rant.
See? Blogger know when I am ranting!!
 I had a good laugh over this. 


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