Monday, June 7, 2010

Family Schools?

Today is the first day of the last week of school.  Quite the event. 

It is to be a week filled with class parties, teacher gifts, pool parties, and more parties, hugs, kisses, and tearful goodbyes from the teachers. 

Somehow, when I was a kid, I don't remember the last week of school being so packed with festivities. 

I remember one day devoted to cleaning up the classroom and cleaning out our desks.  (I remember the year I found a birthday card I was supposed to mail on the way to school.  Wups.  I wonder what Auntie Judy thought she had done to be ignored that way.)  

And I remember the obligatory class trip to the zoo.  Always the zoo. 

And then we were free . . . and the fun began.  And we couldn't wait.

What fun?  Nothing, really.  Just a summer of kicking around the house, spending more time with my parents,  and hanging around the neighborhood with our friends.  No extravaganzas, but we were home and fun was just an organic byproduct of summer.   

I gotta tell ya, after this week of fun and frolic at school, I don't know if life at home can measure up for my kids.  Sometimes I think schools have gotten so far out of being schools, and have endeavored to be a second family to kids, that it is detrimental to families. 

I would like to be the one to take my kids to the pool for the first time this summer, thank you, but the school has arranged that honor for themselves. 

 This afternoon, the "teachers' party," complete with cake and punch and scrapbooks and gifts from the kids much resembles a grandma's birthday party. 

And speaking of birthday parties, is it really good for the kids to walk around in a crown all day at school on their birthdays?  Is it fair to the families when the child is, basically, "de-crowned" just before they have to leave school and go home to their ordinary lives? 

They go trick-or-treating at school, the Friday before Halloween . . .

And Santa comes for breakfast . . . at school . . .

And the loot they receive at school when they lose a tooth?  Even the tooth fairy cannot compete with that. 

And what about movie night?  My school never had movie night.  Watching a movie with our parents was a rare treat and a family event.  Now schools put on movie nights as fundraisers.  Parents are not invited, and kids are encouraged to wear their pajamas and bring their teddy bears. 

Am I the only one having a problem with all of this?

My daughter suffers from Reactive Attachment Disorder, so this is an especially challenging issue for us.  Basically, she rejects the parental relationship at every turn.  She repels an emotional bond with anyone.  It is taking an enormous amount of therapy, dedication, and hard work on our part to get her to a healthy emotional state.  But all this "school as family" stuff really, really confuses and even harms our daughter. 

And it's gotten me to thinking, wondering whether it is really good for any family.  Personally, I don't think it is.  I long for the days when school was for teaching and families were for everything else.   

 Thanks for listening,


tdjunkie said...

Hi Renee,

I whole-heartily agree. School should be concentrating on the 3 R's and leave the parenting to us. Who is better qualified with our own children?

Viki said...

I agree the last week of school they are just putting in time because they have to. I guess though with no plans of learning that week they have to do something but I think it's too much.

LemonyRenee' said...

But that's just it, Viki. Why no plans of learning? I'm willing to bet neither of my kids can name all the continents off the time of their heads . . . there's plenty to do.

Hi td!

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Marydon Ford said...

WOW! A lot of deleting to do there ... I don't necessarily agree that home schooling is the answer, but I do think that parents (ALL) need to be more active in the schools agendas & bring to fore these kinds of issues ... I thoroughly disagree with any of the above you mentioned being done in school ... the 3Rs needs to return & social activities minimized.

Sweetie ~ Your email is still the same in your slot. Sent it to me at my email ~

I have contacted Kelly to see if she can make it either tomorrow or next Tues. I'll let you know, so stay in touch.

Hugs, Marydon

PS In my time the last day before school got out we had play day ... it was fun & the excitement built into a thrill of anticipation ... TOMORROW would be the last day.

LemonyRenee' said...

Marydon, I'd love to have lunch tomorrow even if Kelly can't make it. ;) I'll email.

MomIT -- You know it. So do I, but I dread it. You understand all too well. (P.S. Your comment seems to have thought itself wise enough to repeat and repeat and repeat! [I just deleted the duplicates.])

Becky K. said...

We have homeschooled for years and years now so I am definitely biased. However, I would say that with your daughter's issues she would definitely benefit from this type of learning and structure.

I have a friend who has adopted two boys and is in the process with another who all had RAD to one extent or another. She may be an excellent resource for you. She does homeschool so she is coming from that perspective... Here is her blog link.
I know Kelly would talk to you via email at least.

Becky K.

June said...

Hi Renee,
What a great and thoughtful post. Since all of my children have been out of school for awhile now, I really don't have any of these issues in my life anymore. I can see how this interferes with family time however and it is taking things a little too far. I would feel better if they would use that time to cram a little more learning into the children's heads before them taking their breaks.
I have missed you and am glad to be able to come back and read all your great posts again.

Jabacue said...

Good post Renee. Being an ex-teacher I whole-heartedly agree with you.....schools ought to get back to teaching and not taking the role family . Keep them separate. Your daughter must get very confused with all that is coming at her.

Knitty said...

My boys are long past the age you're dealing with so I am not speaking from first hand experience, but I agree with you. There always seems to be something social (planned activity)going on and I can't imagine how that fits into a week's schedule when there is so much educational material to cover.

I never had a problem with a Halloween or Christmas party, those were just two events between school beginning in Sept and the holiday break. It saddened me that some parents made such a fuss over Halloween being heathen and Christmas celebrations not belonging in public schools. Halloween became an autumn festival and costumes were discouraged or had to fit a theme. Christmas became a winter party. It wasn't people of a non-Christian faith that squawked, it was a group who believe that all such celebrations are wrong. It seems to me that sometimes the tail wags the dog and majority rule has gone by the wayside, but that is a different story than today's topic.

Aunt Amelia's Attic said...

Yes, public schools go over-board in some ways, and under-board in others. Blahhhhhhhhhh...

No I have never heard of Reactive Attachment Disorder. Perhaps you have spoken more of this, in past posts... But I'm quite new here.

If your family is coping with this, I'm sure there are others. And I'd think it would be good for others to know, they aren't alone.

My heart goes out to your family and to all families who are coping with this.

And I finally realize that I am way too tired to be on the net and to be typing comments. So, I will now say; "Say Good night, Gracie" "Good night, Gracie" ^_^

Gentle hugs...

bad penny said...

Oh my goodness that is SO OVER THE TOP !!! The tooth fairy ??? Some things are for home home surely ?
I wish you would have more faith in yourself - I BET you are doing a great job as parent - yes THE PARENT.
I think it's great if some kids who don't get much socialising imput - ie eating around a table with others can gently learn this in a school envirionment ...but Father Christmas etc should be kept for fetes after school activities...

email me if you like

The Quintessential Magpie said...

I have wondered this with both children in our extended family and our friends' kids. I am alarmed at the amount of activities that children do these days. There is no time to daydream or think creatively.

Every minute is filled with something. I have never seen anything like it. It's go, go, GO all the time, too, and I don't think they are having fun. The kids seem stressed.

We had down time to ourselves. It's as if people are afraid to allow children to have that time to think for themselves and be creative on their own. That was such a BIG part of our childhood, and I think it made me a more creative person.

I sympathize with your plight and am sending hugs across the miles to you as you deal with the situation you described.



tea said...

Wow, I had no idea schools had gone this far. You're right, they need to let family be family and school be school. I would be so bummed if they took my kid to the pool before I got to. :(

The only sad thing is, there are a growing number of kids whose families don't act like a family should. I've known of lots of kids whose home lives are so sad. Still..I'm not sure the school should be the one to try to fill in the gap.

From my own school experience, I know that not enough was being taught and I agree, that is where the focus should be.

I will pray for your daughter. When we were adopting I researched RAD and I can imagine that it is not an easy road you're walking.

With love.

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