Day care, or, DON’T care??

I’m not saying parents who send their kids to day care don’t give a damn about them. Far from it. In fact, a lot of the parents care too much. I just start to wonder if they care too much about the wrong things.  For example, a lot of the kids in my after-school group have parents who come and pick them up are only concerned with whether the homework is all done. Every bit of it.

I’ve got twenty-four kids, each with more homework than it is humane to give a child of six, seven, or eight years. I have a couple of kids every week with homework on Friday, for God’s sake. What kind of Nazi assigns kids math homework on Friday? All that aside, I have no problem doing homework with these kids. But we are allotted an hour to do so. I can’ t possibly spend the amount of time I need to with each of these kids to get all their homework done, even if we spent the whole three hours on homework.  To spend the entire time after school on homework, when schools have cut recess in half, jumped through lunch, and demanded that these kids all learn every single thing at the exact same pace in the exact same way; boxing them in with standardized testing and work, work, work; would be asinine.

I would hope that a parent  seeing me play chess with their kids, or teaching them the good old-fashioned value of pre-American Idol music, or doing goofy elementary physics experiments for fun, would engender a sense of security. Making learning fun makes kids want to learn. I detested math for years. Bribed my friends to do it, by writing all their compositions and spelling sentences for them. Then, I hit eighth grade; Mr. Raleigh; and all of that changed. In a hurry. Now, I know math can be fun. It has gray areas, if you know it well enough. It contains theory, you can play with. It took chess and physics to learn this, but I never would have been open to either, had it not been for Mr. Raleigh, who showed us how to play with math, in the first place.

I guess my point is, that I do a hell of a lot more than worksheets. I make learning a lifelong love and that, after all, is the bottom line. It’s why we teach; to give away everything you’ve ever had stored in your brain, and never lose a bit. To see the occasion of epiphany, beautiful as the child, him/herself, and just as unique.

My point is, I care.

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