Today I learned from my sons part-time preschool teacher that he is extremely smart academically. He’s 4 and can read sentences, knows how to spell small words etc, etc… but… his hand writing isn’t very good. His letters are two big and sloppy. My son is 4 and he has bad handwriting… was I surprised? Yes. But not the way you may be thinking. I was surprised, not that my sons handwriting was sloppy (I homeschool so I’m aware) but that this was even an issue. I nodded and said I would work on tracing more and using scissors and I smiled and I got in my car and that’s when my brain clicked back on and I started to think and wonder…
Why are public school’s expectations so high?Don’t get me wrong I’m all for having expectations for my kids. I expect my 4 year old to have manners, to be kind to others, to try his best, to have good listening ears. I expect him to still have an eagerness to learn after the elementary years are over. I don’t expect him to stay seated for more than 20 minutes without getting wiggly butt, I don’t expect him to write his letters in 1 inch lines that are always legible. I don’t expect his cutting skills to be immaculate, all of that will come with time and patience.
A little background on our schooling plan. When we decided to homeschool full-time about 6 months ago I had already put my sons name on the waiting list at our public school’s preschool. So when I got the call about him getting in I was a little apprehensive because of our homeschooling decision but my husband and I prayed about it and decided that since we wanted to eventually do a hybrid homeschooling plan that we would go ahead and start part-time preschool and see how it goes. And all in all it’s been great. His teacher is awesome and the activities they do are fun and its only a total of 4 hours a week and I homeschool the rest of the time.
Until this latest update I’ve been pretty happy with how it’s been going but now I’m feeling a little stumped. While we were talking I immediately felt deflated, not only as a mom but a homeschooler as well. When my brain clicked back on in the car, all that deflation went away and I felt frustrated. Frustrated at the school system for making me feel so defeated. Frustrated that my child and his abilities are lumped together with 10 other kids his age and they are all expected to go at the same speed. All kids excel in different areas, kids do not learn the same. While my child excels at reading and is more visual, another child may do poorly in that area but excel in hands on activities such as writing. Knowing all of this, again I have to ask the question why does the school system expect so much?
There are so many studies showing how preschool and kindergarten in the US are getting it wrong (and public school in general) less recess, more academics when in all actuality it should be the reverse. Here are a few articles I love on the subject and what caused me to ultimately choose homeschooling.
All that being said, I have some great friends that are great teachers in the public school system and my son’s preschool teachers are great teachers. So my concerns don’t fall on those awesome teachers out there.There are a lot and they don’t get enough credit, that’s for sure. I am questioning the school’s expectations only because they do not make sense to me nor do they make sense to impress on my little ones. We actually moved to a great school district to make sure that if we don’t homeschool through high school that they will be in good hands. And I’m hoping that the expectations they have in high school will actually be something that is attainable. Please, before I get any haters out there, research for yourself, check in and see how many expectations your little one has to meet to move on to the next grade. I’m only looking at elementary so please to do not chastise me for coddling my old children. All that I want is for my children to be excited about learning throughout their schooling years. I don’t want them to have so much pressure to live up to their peers that they lose that joy and that love of learning.