We all know that I really thought about homeschooling Kylie. Although the idea still crosses my mind often, at this point she is still in Kindergarten and actually likes it.
But that is not the point to this post.
Today I had the privilege of eating lunch with Miss Kylie along with Coop and Addy. As soon as I sat down, a boy from her class came right up to me and sat next to me. I have seen this boy before. When I went to the pumpkin patch with Kylie, this same boy sat next to me and talked my ear off. Kylie has also made mention of this boy (we will call him "the boy") and referred to him as "the boy who gets in trouble...A LOT". I know on one occasion the class was asked who wanted to sit with the boy in art class and my sweet Miss Kylie volunteered. She even got a sticker for sitting with him (more on that later). I have watched him squirm and jump around when asked to sit still and I have heard him apologized for his impulsiveness a number of times.
How sad that a little boy has to apologize for being a little boy. No, he is not always behaving properly. In fact, I would bet to say he probably doesn't "follow the rules" 80% of the time. Many of those times, he is actually just being plain old naughty and other times, he is just getting the "ants out of his pants".
As I sat with Kylie today, this boy tried to engage almost every student at the table. He would try to get eye contact and then laugh or make a funny face. If no one payed attention to him, he would sit on the floor or do something that would require a lunch monitor to come and redirect his behavior. At one point, the monitor moved another boy away from the boy (whom wasn't paying any attention to the boy) and said, "let me move you over here so 'the boy' doesn't get you in trouble too". We sat there for 25 minutes. The kids were told they couldn't move..breath for that matter. They have to sit on their little butts and talk quietly (as quietly as a 5 year old can). I could see this little boy getting more and more frustrated. His little body NEEDED to move! He tried everything to get in control..I could see it but he just couldn't sit there any longer. He got up and did something naughty and got caught pretty quickly. Guess what his "punishment" was....you guessed it...he had to sit out at recesses!
All I could think was how ridiculous that is. A) he is 5 B) he is a boy and C) HE NEEDS TO MOVE! So his punishment was actually probably going to get him into more trouble later in the day.
So the problem you ask...schools require our kids to sit for too long. Yes, they have made major modifications and I believe Kylie's teacher does a lot to get the kids moving during the day. BUT the expectations of a 5 year old are just too high. This little boy shows his behaviors in school but I know many other kids will hold it together until they get home and then blow (my Miss Kylie being one of them). It just isn't fair to make them sit and concentrate for 6.5 hours a day. Seriously...To top things off, Kylie told me that yesterday they couldn't even run at recess because someone was running and got hurt. Therefore, no one was allowed to run for the rest of the day AND they couldn't play on the playground...just the blacktop. Hmmmmmm??!!!
My heart went out to this little boy. Maybe it was the mom in me. Maybe it was the social worker in me. I don't know, but I do know something needs to change. Schools need to be more creative with teaching their students and letting them be kids. Kids need to move and they need to move often. Sitting still at lunch (free time) is just crazy. Yes, they need to stay at the table but why can't they play a clapping game or laugh for crying out loud. And adults need to realize children understand when they are labeled the "bad kid". I am sure this little boy didn't feel so great when the lunch monitor thanked me for sitting with the boy and I am sure he felt lonely when no one would sit with him in art and the teacher needed to bribe kids to sit next to him. He is only 5 and already is wearing the scarlet letter.
Just wanted to make it clear that I don't have a particular problem with the school my child attends...it is just the entire school system that has it's flaws.