Posted on Tuesday, March 29, 2005 11:48, by Teri
I would assume the majority of parents these days consider their child(ren) to have intelligence that far exceeds their years, as well as their peers. I'm in that category, but feel warranted as my daughter tested into the "gifted" programs in elementary school. Unfortunately, I have watched the interest, enthusiasm and resulting grades decline quickly with each successive year, and this year, only one teacher has bothered to speak with us to determine if she could be of assistance.
Kristen will be finishing 5th grade this year - leaving the "Elementary School" system and entering the "Middle School" system. I remember going from elementary school to junior high school - that was rather traumatic, BUT, not nearly as much as it seems to be in my area these days. In THESE days, our school system stipulates a "dress code" for middle school students that is similar to uniforms. Slacks may be worn in 3 colors only, shirts in solid colors only and having buttons, sleeves and collars, belts required, etc. If you make the mistake of forgetting (or misplacing) your belt, you are sent to the principal's office and given detention.
I'm not necessarily opposed to a uniform dress code, but I do have serious issues with the existence of this strict code only for the 3 middle school years of our children's lives. As one mother put it, "You have taught my daughter that what she wears is more important than who she is or what she does, thus changing the values instilled over the earlier years of her life."
What else happens in middle school here? Well, kids now can get off the school bus anywhere they wish, without the written permission from parents required in the past. They are assumed to be responsible enough to know right from wrong (although they are not assumed to be responsible enough to dress appropriately during this time period).
I also continue to see reports on the news of teacher/student (sexual/romantic) involvement, and yes, we ARE talking as young as middle school. If you aren't aware of that, you should be, because it does exist, and appears to be much more widespread than originally thought. But I digress...
Back on Track
The problem as I see it is that schools, at least in OUR state (which is near the bottom of the bunch in terms of funding), simply do not have the resources to teach these kids. Again, Kristen has been tested and is gifted. How the system can let a young, bright mind falter to the point of near failing grades is beyond me. We have asked repeatedly for make-up work; the teachers either are not getting the questions or are not giving the right answers - in a nutshell, we have a MAJOR communication problem, and it is ongoing and getting worse.
I've checked into home schooling, and we have all decided it is the most practical thing to do. Believe it or not, the state requires 4 hours/day for 180 days/year of schooling. Wow. I thought we spent THAT much time doing homework AFTER Kristen spent 7 hours at school! So this is it for us - at least for the "Middle School" years. I'm excited to see how it goes, and I personally don't see how it could possibly be *anything* but an improvement!