Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Pre-K or College: Are We Pushing Our Kids Too Far?


Well friends, we're at the end of another month. Summer is in its prime and I still have not made it to the beach yet. But, I can say that I am enjoying my time at home, hanging out with Masaya, fixing up my home and garden and writing til my hearts content. Once I do get to the beach, believe me, you'll know. So let's get into this post.

I absolutely LOVE living in the city. I love the diversity, the energy, my century old home and that fact that I can pretty much walk to any grocery store, restaurant, dive bar or small boutique and still have time to take care of things at home. I love that I don't have to jump in my car to run errands all the time and paying lower taxes is always a good thing. The downside at times can and often is the school system. But, this was something that my husband and I understood when we bought our house. That what we didn't pay in taxes, we would pay in private school. Now I want to be very clear. There are some awesome schools in the city, a few are the best in the country. Yes, you heard me right, the best in the USA and that is something I will brag about. Yet, the process to get into these schools leaves me shuttering. My child is only 3 years old, yet the application process to enter into these learning initiations, public and private, gives the impression that my son should be on 12 year old level. Which begs the question, " Are we pushing our kids too far?"

My husband, being Japanese, comes from a culture where studying is the name of the game. Longer days in school, cram school after school and nothing below a A is excepted. And part of me has to agree. American children are lazy and we have all seen the statistics and read the studies. Our country lags behind in math, science, reading, and other areas yet excels in confidence. And whats the point of being confident if you have nothing to back it up with? Yet, mass creativity and individualism is frowned about in Japan and praised here in America. So, of course the simple solution would be to create an environment for our son where both ideas thrive. But see, its more complicated then that. Because even though Masaya is bilingual (my husband says Masaya is an 8 on a 1-10 scale with his Japanese. Not bad for just having on native speaker in the house), multicultural and smart as a whip, it may not be enough to get him into a particular school here in Buffalo, NY or any other major city here in the USA. The expectations that society pushes on our kids is alarming, yet the backing for it is not there. And really, pushing are children before they are ready is more harmful then helpful. What happens when we cram, cram cram and our kids end up hitting their plateau at 10 years old? Its only down hill from there. And being a former educator, I also understand that every child does not learn the same way. Some learn better in the traditional sense and others are more active, and lean by doing and experimenting.  Where is their school? You cannot fit a square peg into a round hole no matter how hard you try, yet we see so many fellow parents trying to with their children, and for what? Bragging right? Bending to the peer pressures of social norm? And when will we stand up and say "no more"? When will we finally take our children's education into our own hands instead of having it dictated to us?

My son will be testing into the Gifted and Talented program in the fall. At 3 years old, he will be judged on an academic level, even though he truly has not had any formal education, to determine if he will attend the city's premiere pre-school. And if he doesn't get in, I'm ok with it because...well...he's only 3 years old, not 18 and going off to college.

Love Malinda xoxo

The above video is an AMAZING lecture by Sir Ken Robinson entitled : Do schools kill creativity from the TED talks series. Though I have watched this video at least 7 or 8 times, its still very informative and truly makes me think.

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