Wednesday, March 25, 2009

In the Interest of Something

I have been contemplating for days something worth posting; trying to delve something of meaning from the mundane tasks of my everyday life. So far, nothing... In the interest of bringing something from nothing I would like to call your attention to the theory of evolution.

(see what I did there?)

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

The Science of Sifting

Someday these will be a great tool for educators and parents...

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

The Hum of Conversation, or Why Does My Brain Hurt

Right now we are at Off the Leaf, a great new coffee shop in Billings. Actually, not so new, it's been open since late this summer. It has quickly become one of our favorite spots.

Andrea spent most of the time that we were here grading papers while I was reading about all kinds of different things. While I was sitting here, overwhelmed by the hum of conversation around us, I was trying to write (or finish writing) a post that I started a few days ago. The inspiration just wasn't there.

I've been reading a book recently called The Trouble With Boys by Peg Tyre. It is a fantastic and informative read for anyone who is interested in the modern education system.

- Note: The above was written at the coffee shop, everything that follows was written while sitting on my couch.

Before we left the coffee shop I typed and deleted text from this post multiple times, at one point I deleted an entire paragraph. I was asking myself on the way home why it was so hard to actually write, and think about publishing, what I was thinking about the book. The only answer I can come up with is that I don't want to come off as insensitive. The book has gotten me thinking about how different kids are treated today, how different schools are... Actually, how different everything is if you're a kid.

It really seems like kids are no longer allowed to just be kids. Parents expect their kids to bring home worksheets and homework in Kindergarten and first grade, sometimes even in preschool. They are expected to know their ABCs, be able to count to ten, tie their shoes and spell their name BEFORE Kindergarten. Whereas, I had a note sent home in First Grade reminding my parents to teach me how to tie my shoes. Kids in third and fourth grade, and probably younger, are carrying around cell phones, texting, instant messaging, joining online communities, etc, etc. I didn't use a cell phone until I was in high-school, and I didn't have my own cell phone until I started college! In an era marked by violence and war a boy's imagination has, by many, been deemed inappropriate. The game of tag has been "outlawed" on many playgrounds because the physical contact is inappropriate or has the potential to become too violent. Instead of simply focusing on inane and harmless topics, like numbers and letters, kid's shows now discuss politics as well (my sister-in-law brought this one to our attention).

Schooling in the United States is less about becoming well-rounded and educated and more about defeating your opponents; ie - other students. Students are expected to sit still, pay attention and "fly right," and there is no outlet. Art, creative writing, Music, PE and Recess are all being taken away and replaced by rote memorization and test preparation. If you cannot sit still or have trouble focusing on something then you must have an attention disorder - after all, it's not like kids learn differently or anything. It is no wonder our (public) schools are failing boys... it is no wonder our (public) schools are failing...

In the end, I believe it comes down to a simple solution: Let boys be boys, let girls be girls and let kids just be kids.