I never want to be around anyone who is astonished by the fact that home schooled children can finish their day in 3-4 hours when public school runs 6 hours, and some places want to increase the length of the day or the year. That person will receive an earful from me.
Last week, my son (4th grade) had a junk food buffet on Friday. Why? They earned it for good behavior. (Don’t let the school rant about childhood obesity to me, either.) My son didn’t tell me about this buffet until he was exiting the car for school. He knows where I stand on these things, and figured I wouldn’t send any junk in (it was all parent provided, although no note was sent out). He came home with a stomach ache, by the way. Anyway, that evening we found out that they had also watched a movie that day. Okay, the teacher had just finished reading the book aloud to the class. What bothers me most about this is that both of these events were separate. You’re telling me that the kids can’t eat their junk food while they watch the movie? What are we paying these teachers for??? (My family is full of teachers, of which I am one. I just left the public schools to start a family.) The day had also included gym class (much needed before a pig out!), and partners. Partners is when the fourth graders go to a 1st grade class and they do little projects. They’ve carved pumpkins, written letters to Santa, etc. Third grade goes to Kindergarteners, and fifth pairs with second grade. This happens once a week for a half hour.
My point: Not much learning took place Friday.
Add to this that this week is only three days due to the end of the semester. This afternoon my son’s class has a pizza party that they won for bringing in the most box tops. Okay, they earned that, but they earned it in early December. I fully expected that the pizza would be combined with Christmas celebrations. The party takes the last forty minutes of school today. Tomorrow afternoon they’re having a birthday party for our state with cupcakes and ice cream. Couldn’t these two events have been combined? Oh wait – they need a break before their break. How silly of me. Needless to say, I did not volunteer to provide the goodies for tomorrow’s party. I already sent cupcakes in for my son’s half birthday (summer birthday), and the rest of his class sends in goodies for their birthdays or half birthdays.
You may say, “But this is elementary school. The upper levels are different.” Hah! My oldest is in eighth grade. She got to watch A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, and the school has an annual talent show which takes place during school hours. That ran about two hours, and this year it ran about five minutes past the end of school so they made the kids stay (held the buses, even). These are just two examples. There’s wasted time at every level, and I obviously hate it.
Am I saying that there can never be a movie, a small party, or a few minutes of goofing off? Absolutely not. Kids do need breaks here and there. We all do. I’m just tired of what seems to be a never ending break in the elementary school, and some of the frivolity in the middle school.