Saturday, April 30, 2011

Seriously? Are You Kidding Me?

So I thought I needed a place to vent about the not-so-beloved Science Fair. Not that I haven't been venting offline. It's been more of an unintended social experiment, and the conclusion is that everyone I have talked to agrees with me. But, I'm not done venting. I am so passionate about my opinion on this.

For some reason, the School Board in my district saw it fine and proper to require all the 4th and 5th graders to complete a Science Fair project. Mandatory. HUGE part of their grade.


Now, I am totally in favor of these projects when the students are in the upper grades (therefore more mature to handle the process on their own) and want to do them and/or are in a science based education track.
I am NOT in favor of these projects when it's basic elementary education (and of course, each class is doing a project in the classroom and the students study the process) which results in the parent having to keep on and keep on the kids to do it at home, (thereby causing conflict and strain between mom/dad and child) help them, guide them through it, and spend money and time on it. Time especially that could have been better spent on a happy family activity, instead of a government mandated stress inducer.

I actually lie in bed at night crying big fat tears, dripping on my shoulders, over the stress this causes me. It's not worth it, I know.

I don't know about you, but I don't want my kids to have memories of me always fussing at them to do this or that or the other for school. I will support them and I will support the teachers along the lines of their belief that this assignment is beneficial to the students and I am not going to undermine them, but I will tell them that these projects cause disharmony in my home and when that happens, I step back and re-evaluate what is more or school? And I will tell my kids the answer to that.


So, we aren't supposed to help them? Seriously?? They can do a lot of it, but some of it they need help on. You should see the checklist and grading form for this project. Let's see....Gigantic 3 fold poster board, printer ink, photographs, glue, grammar and spelling correct?, on and on....
Let them manage it? But they WANT good grades and they WANT to do it right, (they told me so) so why can't I help them through some of it. I am the parent and an extension of the teacher, right? It just doesn't feel right to me to NOT help them, you know let them be in charge of it, but with me providing some guidance and pointing in the right directions for research. They DO ask me to help. What would I be teaching them if I didn't help. I think the students would say, "Mom doesn't support me, she doesn't care".

Too much emphasis is placed on this one event of the year, when there could easily be an alternate assignment (not here) or how about even a joint project ( not allowed)? How about an option to participate (nope)? Because I have 2 students in the system that are "REQUIRED" to do a science fair project. Yes, I have one 4th grader and one 5th grader. So yay for me, stress times 2! But the Powers-That-Be offer no alternative than an F grade. So really the only options are: take an F, or do the project.

Isn't it funny how they coincide the Science Fair with the school fundraising event and Spring Open House? So the parents have to come to the school to see the projects displayed (the kids are so proud, and they want to see what ribbon they get, everyone gets some sort of ribbon) and since they are already there, why not take a look at all the pretty gift baskets the classes put together for people to bid on (which the parents donated to in the first place. Well, I didn't.) It's a Silent Auction/Open House/Science Fair event all in one! Oh! Oh! Oh! and buy some dinner from the school while you're there. Clever.

And just another rant: Overlapping projects. No kidding. Not even finished with one--- it's not even due--- and another project gets assigned which must be worked on at the same time?? I'm not joking. I got an email this morning, a Saturday, telling me that my 4th grader now has another big project due, which was assigned this past week. To be complete with 2 visual aids! Research and all. He is in the 4th grade, not fah-reaking college! Give him what he can handle at his age. This happens again and again, for both my 4th and 5th grader.

Everything is getting way too complicated these days. Why the heck are we imposing such high standards on the students? I mean way high! Waaaay high. A teacher actually told me that they raise the standards for each grade, every year! What are we trying to achieve/compete with? What's wrong with instructional time at school, family life at home? Why does the standards for education have to be so high that they interfere with home life? Especially at the elementary level.

Before you think my kids must be dumb, I'll have you know that they are both in the Gifted programs. They are challenged and thoroughly enriched in all areas of education in that program. They do not need nor want another project. They would like to just be kids at home.

So many little things add up to me having a problem with the way government wants to run the school system that I help pay for. If I'm paying for it, I think I should choose what my kid should do. I seriously think about homeschooling. I feel like I do sometimes anyhow with all the guidance I need to provide for the kids projects. I hate the government telling me what they think my child is required to do. After all these standards, this country's students intelligence level is still pretty low. Maybe it's time to relax a little Uncle Sam, you're stressing everybody out---overwhelming us all.


And what the heck is up with the way they teach math? This new way is not the way to work math problems!

No comments:

My Page