Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Reading you the riot act

When I was a kid, we learned to read in late first grade. I remember learning to read and I didn't feel like I was getting beaten about the head and shoulders with it. It was a struggle, but it was ok. I was ready to learn to read.

Now, they expect kids to come in to K already knowing their alphabet, how to write their names and the sounds the letters make. They start the first day of school with sight words and it just gets worse from there. By first grade, they are getting math work sheets EVERY SINGLE NIGHT plus 7 or 8 books they are supposed to read per week. IMO, this is way too much. TB isn't ready to read. He will occasionally ask what words are or what something says, but overall, he couldn't care less. The only time it concerns him is when he is playing a video game that requires reading. And then it doesn't stress him too much, he either skips the reading and muddles about on his own or he switches to a game that doesn't require reading. What does stress him out is being forced to read books that he has no hope of reading. He struggles and stumbles and take 15 minutes to read one book. It is horrible and leaves us both frustrated and angry (although I try not to be angry at him, more angry at the system that requires 1st graders to be able to read those things).

My form of protest for awhile was just not to do it. I was making him do the sheets that came home, we were doing the sight words but I was passing on forcing the issue of the books. I've decided that isn't the best idea anymore and have change my protest plan. Instead, I'm done with the sight words. I made fancy flash cards and everything but I refuse to do them anymore. Done! Next is the homework situation. He will have to do something every night. He can do the math sheets (which he really seems to enjoy and totally gets the concept, way better than I did/do). The math is basic addition and subtraction (although today, they solved for freaking X in a basic addition equation) with some money and time telling thrown in. The alternative is that I can read the books to him. He isn't capable of reading the books they are sending home and pushing him to read them won't help him. I've told his teacher repeatedly that he isn't able to read those books, yet he gets them so I'm done fighting it.

This might make me sound like a bad mom who doesn't care about her kid's education and that's ok with me. I'm also ok with him being labelled as "behind" because of his lack of reading skills. I'm not ok with the developmentally inappropriate curriculum that so many schools follow. I'm not ok with children being forced to do things they aren't ready for, to suit some test. I'm not ok with children's natural talent in one area (for example Math) being squashed in favor another area (like reading). Obviously, there are way more things that I'm not ok with than things I am.

No comments: