Thursday, January 15, 2009

Love of Learning

I had a conversation with a 6 year old the other day about school. I asked him, "How do you like school this year?" His response was, "I HATE School!" Unfortunately, his response is typical of most children. Most children I know, especially teens, really dislike school. They moan and complain and long for the weekends and summer vacation. They view education as something that must be endured.

We have a generation of children who are getting their education from pop culture, video games, and sound bytes. We have little girls who are forming their opinions about life from Hannah Montana. Boys are getting their view of how to act from Wrestlemania! It is worrisome to realize that these children will be our future leaders!

Dan & I both tutored in the local public school and it is downright scary to see what kind of students are being turned out. Our school system has a required summer reading program and each book on the list is assigned a point value. The student is required to read so many points for the summer. Sounds good right? Well, for the high school level, there are books on the list from Dr. Seuss all the way up through actual high school level reading. Students could feasibly read 30 Dr. Seuss books to get their points! The sad thing is that many of them do this. Unbelievable.

Is this the school system's fault totally? I don't think so. When parents start allowing "the experts" to make decisions for their children, problems are bound to happen. Am I advocating homeschooling for everyone? Absolutely not! I do think it's a very good alternative to a broken system. I chose homeschooling because of having a child with special needs and the school system was NOT a good situation for him.

However if I decide to put my child in public school, I would certainly hold them to a higher standard than is currently happening. I would be involved and not just leave it up to the "professionals." I would also hold my child to a higher standard!

My children went to both public school and a Christian school. They were required to go above and beyond no matter what EVERYONE else was doing! Would I allow my 10th grader to read 30 Dr. Seuss books? No way! Everyone else was turning in papers late? It didn't matter. We expected them to give it their best and we followed up to make sure it happened.

I'm not perfect and I've felt many times the stomach wrenching anxiety that perhaps I'm messing up as a parent. However, I think as far as instilling a love of learning in our children, Dan & I have done a fairly good job. Nathan told me yesterday, "I love school!" Stephen told me, "It felt good doing so much school today."

So even though I'm tempted at times to feel like I've failed at times, I think that overall something must be going right. My kids love to learn. They spend every evening reading, writing, drawing, or learning about something new. They aren't parked in front of the television or computer screen. We have lively discussions about religion, politics, and a host of other things. They can recognize faulty reasoning and put thought into what they say.

One of the best things you can do for your child is to give them the desire to learn. However, it won't happen without you modeling the same thing yourself. If they see you plopped in front of the t.v., they will learn to do the same thing. How will they love to read, if they never see you with a book in hand?

Raise the bar and see if your children don't rise to the occasion!