2/15/2012

Three Ways to Sunday: A Major Rant

I want a do-over. Some weeks, there's just no winning. Those hassles pile up and weigh a body down, sink the person into a seriously growly mood. Except I'm working on my second case of laryngitis since the semester began. At the rate it's going, I'll have no voice by the end of the day, so instead of saying all this, I'll rant via keyboard because these things need to be said.

Frak me three ways to Sunday. What is with this crap, anyway? I am still not well, after weeks of being sick, and a new study just came out, as I sit here considering whether to go back to the clinic, showing that antibiotics are ineffective with sinus infections. Given that the last batch of antibiotics didn't knock this stuff out, and that I have a mono diagnosis, I guess I just have to wait this out. I'm getting tired of this crap, tired of sleeping every single chance I get, tired of being in bed before eight at night, tired of being tired. It's keeping me from things I want to do, need to do, and it makes it challenging to do things that I do manage to get done.

Ah well. Maybe my body knows something my mind doesn't want to admit--that I'm in need of a break, in need of restoration. Makes you wonder is it my spirit that needs restoration, more so than my body, and if, in the process of taking care of my own mental well-being, the body will follow? I hope so. Both are feeling worn thin, given the feeling I have of battles on all sides of me demanding to be fought; there are things that make me beyond frustrated.

The girls's schools seem to have lost their collective heads--Lily's coach making the kids play a game called prison ball that's as bad as it sounds, and Rosie's thinking that having the kids beat the crap out of each other's legs with swim noodles is good fun--math testing gone to ridiculous lengths--what 10 year old kid needs two months of four hours of math testing a week in order to prepare for the new state test? Hours of stupid math homework a week that leave Lily, Rick, and me ready to drop kick the math homework and the backpack it comes home in out to the dumpster.

Every afternoon and evening has become a battleground to get the homework with the girls and the studying for various tests done. No wonder I'm in bed at eight. I've spent the time from the bus dropping them off sometimes right up to bedtime helping them get their work done, fighting them to get it done.

It's building up, my dissatisfaction with the school system, with its stupid stuff an animal workshop (don't forget your money!) and items for sale in the office, with a testing system that has ruined third grade on--we're making kids HATE school and hate learning, and parents hate it as well. We're breeding a culture of anti-intellectuals because they associate learning with ridiculous circling and bubbling and writing paragraph numbers down.

I don't get how or why we as parents put up with this bullshit, unless there are those of us who think it's appropriate to bring commercialism into the school system and inept, incompetent state testing demands that force the curriculum to be cut to teaching to the test.

Consider this my war cry.

My kids aren't buying shit at school, especially a stuff-your-bulldog thing.

We aren't selling fundraising crap, either. You want money from me for school supplies, ask.

And unless you, as a coach, want me hitting you in the legs with a swim noodle, my daughter better not be getting hit with a frakking noodle. Don't even get me started with prison ball.

And the homework crap is on notice. Five afternoons and evenings a week, we're held captive to some of the dumbest homework I've seen that DOES nothing to build skills but everything to kill any enjoyment or appreciation of an incredible subject that should light my daughters up with joy. I loved math, loved the manipulation of numbers, loved the underlying patterns that numbers have and of finding those patterns. I hate the math my kids come home with. And so do THEY.

Honestly, some days it's enough to make a person want to go back to bed!

11 comments:

Elise said...

At least when they sell stuff, you are asking people to give money but get even some really bad chocolate in return or they wash a car. I liken it to paying my boys for doing certain chores in the house. Should they do the chores. you bet. but at the same time let them earn the money they want to spend on games, etc. I liken it to selling girl scout cookies too.I have seen schools actually just go out with a collection bucket and ask people to give money.

As far as stupid homework..that started in kindergarten and didn't stop through high school, even though it did lessen as they got older. At least you can help your child with the math if they have issues, we couldn't even do that. It was a terribly painful 12 years especially for my youngest. The irony here is that he wants to be a computer science major in college.

Can't talk to the coaching issues..but the state tests are horrible. My youngest refused to complete his 4th grade English test writing in the test booklet, that if the state wants to see how well he reads and writes they can come to school and watch him...

Hope your rant made you feel better...:)

kathleen said...

Teaching to test...one of the "wonderful" (sarcasm) effects of NCLB. I am very happy that my schools have done away with it..we have gone to "Student based learning". Unfortunately-schools who do not meet the standards-don't get the funding. It is absolutely ridiculous-if a soldier loses a battle-do we punish them by taking away their weapons? Because, we punish students/schools for not meeting standards by taking away funding.
The homework thing is crap. It should be to enhance what was learned that day-not to make it torture. It should not be that way.
And the games? I have no concept of how they can be explained..wow-just wow.
Please let your body heal!! A week of rest does not make up for months of being sick. Sorry...but you are gonna have to just give in on that one...((((())))) Hang in there...

K Wombles said...

Elise, it did help some. At least it's not bottled up inside anymore.

I could see fundraising for trips for band and things like that, but no first grader needs to fundraise. And they don't even do the chocolate here. Instead it's expensive cookie dough and the like.


Kathleen--great analogy.

I will do my best--gonna nap later this morning, once I get back from my appt this morning. Sad thing is I could fall back to sleep right now.

farmwifetwo said...

1. The same math and litteracy curriculum is used here as well and it's AWFUL. Which is why I had to redo the Gr 3 one for the eldest using Saxon (Classical math) and the younger is using the Gr 2 curriculum for our homeschool weekends/holidays at the moment.

2. EQAO http://www.eqao.com/ is our standardized testing. Joke. My fav is that I have 3 of such tests btwn the 2 of them (youngest exempted his Gr 3 one but I still got a copy of the results) and the local village school is over 10% below both board and province YET they gloat about how well they teach... NOT!!!

3. Something truly frightening is the youngest's report card. It's simply the IEP with comment. So behaviour, social, life skills, litteracy and math. They did put on a one line comment wrt media litteracy (fancy word for computers) which she wrote he needs improvement... no I didn't write back and inform them that maybe they should teach above the kindergarten level and maybe he'd pay attention... another was music... let's just say there's a reason why in about half an hour we're off for private piano lessons. But it's same old, same old.. IEP hasn't been changed, the other programs are the same year after year.

Ironically, "normal" kids can use a calculator for math... special ed one's have to master it before moving on. Even though the board's psychometry paperwork tells them to use a computer... WTF???

I'd love to pull him out at the end of this year but since he likes to go for "respite" he can stay another and we'll continue to homeschool at home.

I can't homeschool the eldest. I have done it. It wasn't pleasant and it's not worth the war.

4. I don't fundraise - EVER. If I need to pay for something I do so... but I'm not wasting my money on garbage.

5. Mono takes a VERY long time to go away. You really should be off work for a couple of weeks if you want to get over it. Said in that "Mother" voice :)

Joeymom said...

Homework and I are bitter foes. I finally called one teacher and said, NO MORE. I am happy to reinforce skills my kids need, but spending 2-3 hours a night on school tasks when I have therapies and other things i need to be addressing here at home is not happening.

melbo said...

Damn - I feel for you with the laryngitis thing. I'm a semi-regular sufferer myself and you guessed it, sinuses are the culprit. It's getting worse as I get older and every year it is a struggle to get through with the repeated infections and voice loss. I can't blame you for being frustrated with it.

Mono? Did I miss something? That's nasty. No wonder you feel so tired and ill. I'm a big believer in the mind/body thing (no fracking woo associated with it though). I think illness is sometimes a way for your body to get you to slow down and take a break. It is pretty logical really when you factor in how easy it is to let sleep, diet, general health etc. slide when under stress.

And for what it's worth I agree with you on that homework issue. We are starting to head down the road of "teaching to the test" too and I HATE that stuff. It is so counter-intuitive to learning. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

In an attempt to make ourselves smarter we're actually making ourselves more stupid. It is incredible. And the parents who think those tests are the be all and end all of everything are those least capable of deciding what is of value in education and what is not.

Sorry .. I'm ranting now. Get well soon. Rest up and get some kitty love.

K Wombles said...

joeymom--wish that were a solution here.

fw2, I know--I'm trying to get all the rest I can without missing my classes and hoping that will be good enough.

melbo, got the non-acute mono diagnosis on the 2nd when I went back to the clinic feeling worse than when I'd been in the week before and they said I had strep.


Oh, and it should be noted that we are into two hours plus of homework so far tonight with Lily. And yet the actual volume of papers and problems really aren't that unreasonable--if a kid isn't literal, isn't stubborn, isn't easily distracted, and is enticed by bribery to speed through the work to get to something pleasant. She'd just rather whine and fight about it than sit down and get it done. Well, that's partially unfair to her--a lot of it is her distractability and her difficulty understanding the demands of some assignments.

Attila the Mom said...

Rant on, my friend! Hope you are able to get some good restoritive rest!

farmwifetwo said...

Is the other issue the same I have with my eldest... a disconnect from homework and grades. There's no "I give a sh*t" as I like to call it. No drive to improve upon something. To him as long as he's done the work it could be an A or an F... it's done as much or as little as he wants and that's it.

He's 12 now and I've backed away. He'll pass or fail. I will not allow him to be pushed through if he fails. He will repeat and he's been warned. Oh, and no he doesn't believe me... geez, wonder why... could it be that they don't do that??? (sigh...)

usethebrainsgodgiveyou said...

Ben was exactly the same way, Kim. Only we would spend 4 hours. I was beyond frustrated and so was he. I didn't take into consideration dysgraphia and dyscalculia (not dyslexia, thankfully). I remember him coming home in 1st grade, sobbing "I'm stupid!" He was trying to tell me. A kid with a 130 IQ with learning disabilities, "2e" or twice exceptional.
The little sh*t gave me a mothers day card that said "Thank you for helping me with my homework". I thought I was adding to the torture, but he couldn't do it alone. I was amazed, bless his heart.

I got my hair cut the other day, talking about Ben's troubles, and the woman said, "Some kids just take longer to get there." I thought that was wise.

I think you are very, very spirited! From a woman who is so laid back it nearly takes mental defribrillation to get up in the morning...

Jean said...

I feckin love a good rant! Hope it helped clear your laryngitis.
Seriously tho, it sounds like you need a hug, a large mug of tea, earplugs and a month in the sun.
Get well soon XXX