A Few Thoughts on: Education, Gwyneth Paltrow and World Vision
Things were very quiet here on the blog last week. I was around but, I was quite crazy from a lack of sleep due to my 7 - year - old's month-long bout with insomnia. As you can imagine, when your child can't get to sleep or stay asleep, you don't get to sleep much either. Some nights we slept a total of two hours and by last week it had all caught up with me. I was pretty much incapable of carrying on a conversation for longer than five minutes so, obviously writing blog posts was out of the question. However, I did keep up on things as they happened in social media and there were a few (just a few) that captured my attention, albeit briefly. I'm not going to pretend that this post is going to eloquently tie all of my thoughts together because it's not. You're just going to have to go along for the ride, But first, a little more on Thing 1's insomnia.
I have to say that it is extremely frightening when a child is begging for sleep, but simply can't get there, or stay there, night after night and week after week. My husband and I had never dealt with this before with any of our other children and were at a loss as to how to help her get some rest. Thing 1 is an extremely active girl who dances two hours a night, three days a week and does gymnastics two days a week. We limited sugar in her diet, changed her eating patterns and her bed time routing to help soothe her. She would sit up and read for hours in her bed. None of this worked. Finally, while taking her to the doctor for her asthma check up, I found out the real source of the problem: school. The girl was stressing out about school - in second grade. She admitted to waking up in the middle of the night worried that she hadn't double checked her math work. She worried about not having enough time to finish an assignment. She didn't want any of her grades to suffer because of silly mistakes. She's a stressed out seven-year-old and I am heart-broken. School isn't supposed to be this way for a child so young. Don't worry, I'm not about to go on a tirade about Common Core, the problem with education (although I do have a few thoughts on both of those subjects) blah, blah, blah. I will do that another time, but, what I will say is that there is less of a focus on how well students are learning and instead more of a focus on learning the right things to perform well on standardized testing. We are pushing, pushing, pushing, pushing to the detriment of our children's peace of mind. And, for what? So that they can regurgitate math facts in record time. Tell me this, when in your life (after elementary school) are you hard pressed to recite your multiplication tables up to the 12's in less than 2 minutes? I'll tell you when...NEVER! Isn't it just more important that the student understands what she's doing, how she get's to the answer and how it all relates to the next level of math or science, or geography, or whatever? Do we really need to express to their little fertile minds how important it is for them to do well on a standardized test or they may be held back in the same grade the next year? The fact that this could be true is completely ridiculous. Learning is supposed to be fun! School is supposed to be an adventure! I said as much to Thing 1 and made it clear that nothing she is doing could make me any less proud of her. Even if she did forget to check her math before she turned it in, there's always tomorrow to get it right. The important thing is that we work hard and in return you get to see the fruits of your hard work. Our efforts may not always result in an "A" or even a "B", however we will LEARN something, which is the goal of education. Thing 1 took it all in and relaxed a bit, then that night she slept. She has slept all night every night for the past week. So have I and I'm finally almost human again. Almost.