Terrified about the possibility of snow day-induced “amnesia,” Washington, D.C., schools sent home extra packets of homework on Friday. (Just how truly are the students absorbing their material if it evaporates quicker than a snowflake?)
What irks me about this “School work uber alles” mentality is the idea that kids who are simply playing for a few days have taken time away fdnfrrknte
from learning — when it seems obvious that they ARE learning. In the snow they learn how to build, melt, forge ahead, organize a game, decorate a snowman, work together, calculate the trajectory of a snowball — you name it.
Most nauseating of all is the fact that, as Moriah Balingit in the Washington Post reports, even pre-Ks were endorsing home work:
Even parents of preschoolers are urged to continue classroom lessons at home. To accommodate working parents, Sunshine Early Learning Center in Southeast Washington attempts to stay open even when D.C. Public Schools close, said operations manager Tanetta Merritt. But when it closes its doors, the pre-kindergarten teachers email parents to let them know what their children have been learning and how they can build on the lessons with activities at home. If young students are learning about the color red, for example, a parent can have them point out red objects at home.
Really, does everything have to be a scripted, school-directed “teachable moment”? Didn’t we all — ALL — learn our colors without our parents being exhorted to go around pointing out red objects on a snow day or two? How pathetic do we think this generation is, that they will forget “red” unless drilled relentlessly?
We not only overestimate danger in our society, we consistently underestimate kids’ curiosity and natural love of learning, turning joyous days into test fests. Enjoy the
snow work sheets, everybody! – L