Friday, 11 December 2009

Two Tests Tomorrow!

We have two programs at our kid's school. One is the French program that our kids are enrolled in. The other is called TLC, or Traditional Learning Centre. It is an alternative program within the board and is apparently academically rigourous...but not reserved for elite students. They have a bunch of things that parents have to agree to - most of which make me squirm. And whenever I get into a discussion about a parent to find out more about the program I become less and less interested.

One of the things that really gives me the willies is the emphasis on daily homework. Right from kindergarten they do homework every day. I often hear parents complain in casual conversation about the homework - but whenever I say something about it they're quick to jump to the defense and say, "Oh, it's really not that big a deal."

I'm not sure why I get some different responses. It's those casual conversations that make me uncomfortable.

Yesterday when we were going into the gym I ran into a friend whose child is in the TLC program. She said to me, "Man! The buses were sure late today."

I had to stop and think....they were? Oh ya...maybe they were.

She added, "Oh ya! Totally stressed me out. My sons has two tests tomorrow you know! There isn't much time to do homework when the bus is so late."

It really took me back. Her son is in Grade two. I had to wonder...two tests? Are these tests in a doctor's office? Allergy test? What are you talking about?

Nope. She was talking about school tests. A spelling test and a math test...for her Grade Two child...that they had to study for. Seriously.

I couldn't really say anything so I just gave me best, "Oh really" and tried to sound sincere.

But my thought was that if you're hurrying your child home from his 7 hours at school, to do some homework and prep/studying for a test to ensure he does well...something is wrong!

1. I don't believe kids need homework...especially in elementary school. I think it's nice for the parents so that they know what's going on in school - but I don't buy that it helps them be more successful in school.
2. If your kid hasn't learned the stuff after being in school all day, it's too late. So what's the point of the homework? Maybe it should just be assigned to mom and dad!
3. If your kid has been in school all day - don't you think he should have a little down time to play with his/her siblings, roll on the floor, chase the cat, make a snow fort, or maybe even watch tv?? I would dare say that these days especially, kids need time to just be kids! There's too much structure and planning and hurrying.

Life's too short!! Lighten up! Let kids be kids!

Seriously. Those push push push school programs make me really uncomfortable. And the funny thing is the more I talk to parents about them, the less I like the idea. We're just really glad to be where we're at!


Jennifer said...

I hear ya Dawn! I hate the thought of those TLC programs. Why make a 6 year olds life (and ultimately the parents) stressful? It will get stressful enough eventually on it's own without adding academic perfection to the mix. Let kids be kids for as long as they can!!

The Lawlor's said...

I think a little bit of homework is good, especially when sometimes the teachers don't have time to help children individually, especially if they need a little more help. I don't have kids so I don't know but when I went to school I sure needed more help once I got home. I don't remember having homework in my earlier school years.

I say give them something that shouldn't take more than 0.5 hour and then let them play!

Dawn said...

I don't mind some homework. I especially don't mind it if my children have messed around in school and that work is sent home. However, homework just for the sake of homework is where I start to argue. I don't think every kid should do 20 minutes every night just because...

Some teachers think that should be the case....and if they don't send homework home they expect we'll figure out something for the kid to spend 20 minutes on to fill the required time.

I got into an interesting discussion once at a School Council meeting with a teacher on this. I told her she was crazy if she thinks parents actually do that. But now that I know more parents, I think some might do that.

Won't happen in my house though :0) We do the, "Do you have homework?"
"Great! Let's get on with cleaning up your room, going to cubs/activity days, swimming, playing with the neighbors, playing with your sibling, playing a game, reading the latest chapter book we've got going," or something like that! I can't say as we ever have time we can't fill :0)