Why I’m NEVER Having Kids

Why I’m NEVER Having Kids #61: School Daze, Part 1 – Curriculum Set-Up Not Worth Sending Kids to School

June 29, 2008 · No Comments

(Note: In this 5-part series, I will be discussing the various reasons why having to deal with putting my kids through school makes me NOT want to have them.  Feel free to share with your friends, and add any commentary you might have!)

I was blessed enough to be born with an abstract mind.  For those of you who don’t know what that means, it’s a shorter way of saying that I was able to catch onto different concepts and theories in school faster than most of my peers.  I was able to do certain math problems at age 12 that most of my peers wouldn’t even understand until age 14. 

Because of this so-called “gift,” I was able to be in all the honors classes with other “smart” kids, while our “dumb” friends took “regular” classes.

One of these “regular” students was my younger brother.  While he wasn’t as quick as me in figuring out the subjects they taught us in school, he was – and still is – very gifted at talking to and being around people, a skill which, to this day, is no where near as good as his is.  Because he was nice and very well-liked, he was able to do things like turn in papers with extreme grammatical errors and get A’s and B’s.  Even though the teachers knew he was turning in crap, they let him get away with it, partially because he was nice…

…and partially because the school curriculum really only had one purpose: to make sure the students knew enough stuff to be able to pass the standardized test forced upon them by the County each year so they could push them into the next grade, regardless of if they really had full grasp of what they just learned.

All this came to a head for my brother when, upon entering his 9th grade year, our Mom decided to move us to a college prep school.  Imagine his surprise and heartache when, upon completing his first English paper for the year, his teacher told him and my Mom that my brother had the reading and comprehension skills of a 6th grader!

And why, you ask? Because all those years of being pushed through the public school system had only raised his status a grade higher, but not his actual ability to comprehend and properly use what he “learned”!

When people decide to have kids, they will have to, at some point, send them to a school.  I, however, do not feel the current way that school is set up is really beneficial to children.  Here’s why:

1. SCHOOLS “TEACH” IN A LIMITED WAY.

The only way schools teach is by what I call the “sit, shut up and write down” method.  The kid is told to sit at a desk, not talk, and write down whatever the teacher says is important.

Unfortunately, each child is different, and may need to use a different way of learning to really grasp a concept.  Some people learn better when using music or art; others, like me, learn better when being in a full discussion with others.  Yet and still, other children may need to equate what the teacher is talking about with something they can feel or touch.

The problem is, there is currently only ONE way in which most teachers teach.  Your kid’s math teacher may not care that Little Johnny has to be able to put his math problems into song before he can understand it – she’ll just assume he’s slow and give him an F!

2. SCHOOLS “TEACH” TOWARDS “THE TEST.”

Schools are a business, and as such this business only cares about one thing: it’s survival. 

Part of that survival usually involves passing a standardized test that is used as a meter to determine if a school is teaching all of its kids certain subjects in a satisfactory manner.  Doesn’t sound so bad at first… until you realize that this leaves teachers stuck not being able to spend a meaningful amount of time on a particular subject since she has to try and cover everything before test-time. 

That means if Little Amanda doesn’t grasp how to spell a set of words in time for the test, OH WELL, guess she’s out of luck!  After all, there’s no time to go back over it – the teacher still has to touch base lightly on other subjects, too!

3. SCHOOLS JUST WANT TO GET YOU OUT A.S.A.P.

Again, schools have to make money.  They can’t keep making money if they have the same students not passing the grades and staying there year after year because it makes them look like their teaching program is too poor for students to grasp.

This is especially true for public schools.  To make themselves look good, they may over-look certain things, like spelling mistakes on papers, incorrect historical facts in Social Studies, or even a misplaced positive/negative sign in math.  “It won’t matter if I let this one little mistake slide,” the teacher thinks to themself. 

However, it becomes a BIG deal when your kid has 7 teachers who ALL think that same thought – for all I know, my kid could get all the way to 12th grade and still not know how to spell its own name! 

4. SCHOOL IS ALL ABOUT CONFORMITY, NOT THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX.

As a creative person, I always had a problem with this aspect of school. 

Think about the various messages a school sends to a kid during the day:

  • They are told to sit in desk and not speak without permission (i.e. Don’t contribute unless asked)
  • They are told when to eat, speak, go to the bathroom, or play (i.e. You must be told when to do things before you can do them)
  • They are told what subjects to study – anything outside these subjects is considered “fooling around”
  • They are told to work alone, and punished if they ask for help (i.e. Don’t trust others to help, only rely on yourself)
  • They are punished when they do something they weren’t told to do.  I used to get punished because the work they gave me was so easy, I’d finish it up and go try to help others with it - but because the teacher didn’t SAY I could do it, I had to get sent home with a note for “disturbing the class!”
  • They are only given a limited amount of time to play (i.e. Work most of your life, and only play for short periods – I don’t know about you, but I’d rather play more than work!)
  • Grades are given based on what ONE person feels they should get (i.e. Even if a kid does their best, they can still be told “what you did just wasn’t good enough.”)
  • They are punished when they figure out how to do something differently from what the teacher said.  I used to solve math problems in class and get the answer right, yet STILL get points docked off because I didn’t find it in the way the teacher had wanted me to.  WHAT THE HECK IS WITH THAT?!?

5. SCHOOLS ONLY REWARD “BOOK” SMARTS

As I said before, I was really gifted in school to be able to grasp the concepts they were teaching us out of the textbooks.  Meanwhie, my brother may not have gotten textbook stuff as quickly, but when it came to relating to others, he should have received an “A+++!”

But did he? No.  Why?  Because “Being Personable” smarts wasn’t being taught in school, and therefore not rewarded.  Nor were “Streets” smarts, “Managing” money smarts, “Negotiating Your Way Into Opportunity” smarts… Nope, all the people with THOSE skills - the ones that are actually NECESSARY to have in the real world – were being overlooked in leiu of the kid who was able to get an “A” in his history class by re-reciting Lincoln’s Gettysburg address.

So, while the people who got good grades for having “book” smarts got a huge ego boost, people like my brother and others got their self-esteem crapped upon, making them feel like less of a student in the process simply because their skills never got the attention and respect they deserved!

Is it any wonder WHY I may not want to put a kid through what I consider a crappy school system??  Even if I didn’t send them to public school, some of these issues arise in private institutions as well.  Schools, in general, are limited by their inability to configure itself to different styles of learning, and is too bent on making everyone the “same” to reward individuality.

Unfortunately, were I to have a kid, I’m pretty sure I’d be legally obligated to have my kid go to some kind of schooling environment.  And frankly, my friends, I just can’t see myself sending a child into a system like that.  Which, of course, I won’t have to since I’m NEVER having them!

-A.P. Taylor

Send your “Why I’m NEVER Having Kids” stories/ideas to neverhavingkids@gmail.com.  If you’re a parent, send your “Dealing w/Kids Horror Stories” – who knows, your story could be the catalyst for my next blog!

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