So, apparently, I have more than one secret talent. Remember how I told you that one of them was changing song lyrics? Well, another one of my hidden talents is sucking the life out of children’s fun activities at school. Or at least a few moms on a HuffPost article I commented on think so.
I really hate to be critical of the school system because for one, I have some very close friends who are school teachers and I KNOW how hard that job is. So, I try to mind my own business for the most part when people start ranting about ridiculous things that the schools are doing. And, let’s get real, I don’t have the sanity to homeschool, and I can’t afford private, so here we are. In public school trying to go with the flow and be happy with our local school (which for the record I really like and for the most part, think they do a fabulous job).
The subject of the article was about food allergies. And, since I dealt with those pretty closely for the last 5 years, I know a thing or two about food allergies, so I had to read the article. Aside from the fact that the author comes across completely self-centered for the sake of a homemade cupcake, I have to say that I just rolled my eyes at that. I mean, I’ve heard people rant before about how they think allergies are made up. And even one commenter on the article called food allergies a “fad” Yeah, whatever. Not going to even get into that one. But, here was MY comment:
I disagree. I feel like I’m ready to ban every party celebration in school period. We don’t need to celebrate St. Patrick’s day, the 100th of school, Dr. Seuss’ birthday, etc AND 25 kids birthdays in the classroom!! The celebration factor is getting a little bit out of control if you ask me. Why not just let the kids sing to the birthday child, and move on with actual learning!!
Which has 363 likes by the way, so I guess I’m not TOTALLY crazy. But, since I’m not looking for fame from a comment on a HuffPost article, I don’t even care about that. It’s how I really, truly feel. But, the comments that came after in response to mine were surprising. Apparently, I come across as a heartless mother that wants to suck the life out of her children by not letting them celebrate anything and turn them into robots. Because, school is obviously for eating cupcakes and talking about leprechauns right?
Here are a few of the comments I received in response:
Yup… just like the little learning machines they are. Celebrations make school more fun! Like the 100th day of school. I’ve never seen anyone beyond grade 1/2 celebrate that but the kids do fun things like collect 100 things or make a 100 link paper chain and see how far down the hall it stretches. Learning isn’t robotic. Learning should be fun, especially for kids. So many people want their 2 year old to read Shakespeare or their 6 year old to be the next Einstein. Great if they are, horrible to put that kind of pressure if they aren’t. Kids aren’t machines. They are little humans who deserve to live their childhood without all the pressures and worries us adults have to endure. They’ll get to that soon enough. My kids didn’t have birthday parties at school. At snack they got the treat and at the beginning of the day they got a crown and sung to. That’s not a party. On special days, like Valentine’s Day, they worked half the day and got to play games and hand out valentines and eat treats the other half of the day (or less… only a period or two). Now it’s nothing but work, work, work. No wonder so many kids don’t like school any more! Yes school is for learning but it doesn’t have to be dry and monotonous. I don’t have a problem with smaller amounts of sugary treats (do it like pot luck. Have parents sign up to bring different items like fruit trays, treats, drinks or even the paper plates etc) but to cut out all celebrations? Things are getting too drastic in the name of being PC. Sure be safe, totally agree, but lets have fun with it!
Yes, you’re right. I want my kids to learn to be robots. That’s exactly what I was saying. And, my 2 year old can’t even tell me the difference between food and paint yet, so I’m pretty sure I’m not pushing for him to read Shakespeare. Although, I do believe my 7 year is INCREDIBLY smart, Einstein comes with too much responsibility. So, I think we’ll just let her keep reading those Diary of a Wimpy Kid books that she’s obsessed with. I DO agree learning should be fun. But, is eating an extra cupcake actually learning? No. I’m pretty sure that’s something we call…..eating.
Yes, please suck all of the fun out of education. Who needs costumes for Halloween or cards on valentines day. School is about creating robots, not preparing kids for life. </sarcastic rant>
You see, there I am again creating robots and sucking all the fun out of education because I don’t want my child to start believing that leprechauns are going to come in the middle of the night and leave gold leprechaun footprints around my house (something my daughter actually believed after preschool). And, do holiday celebrations really prepare my kids for life? Sorry that I think reading and math is a little more important of a life skill than celebrating holidays.
Because they’re kids, and being festive is fun. I’d rather my kid celebrate everything, rather than nothing.
Here’s the deal, I get that. Being festive IS fun. But, I also believe it’s the kind of fun my kids can have at home. We celebrate every holiday under the sun. To its fullest. I dress my kids up in Halloween costumes and let them trick or treat even though I don’t care that much for the Holiday. But, this year? Not only did we celebrate at home, we celebrated at church, at preschool, and in elementary school. I dressed my kids up in their costumes 4 times and had enough candy from the “celebrations” to feed an entire hungry nation in a third world country. So, I think they’re good on the celebrating, thanks.
That was one of the best parts of growing up! It helped each kid feel special on one day. Which, for an only child of an alcoholic father was awesome. Don’t get me wrong, my parents did a pretty good job raising me despite dad being an abusive alcoholic. But, for one day at school, I felt like I wasn’t a kid who had to fear being hit for losing a shoe. So, remember when you say, celebrating 25 kids birthdays in the classroom is out of control. You may not know what that kid’s home life is like. That may make his/her week. Now, celebrating St. Patrick’s day–better left to adults.
I do of course care about children who don’t get a special day at home. My kids are privileged that way. They get EVERYTHING celebrated at home. They are in a home where they are loved, and don’t want for much and celebrate even when their tired mom doesn’t feel like it. I love my children and want them to have a happy childhood more than anything. So, I do it for them. And, I think that while I’m sure it makes that child feel special, it can also have the reverse effect. What about the kid that can’t bring cupcakes on his birthday? What about the child that is Jewish and has to endure yet another Christmas celebration? What about the kid that is Jehovah’s witness and isn’t supposed to be doing any of this? What about the kid whose parents can’t afford Valentines for him to hand out at school? Celebrations do NOT always equal fun for the kid with a bad home life. Period.
I look forward to what else will be said in response to my comment. But, I stick by what I said. There are too many celebrations that I think sometimes we forget what we are there for….learning. I mean, I’ve blogged before about how the last two weeks of school aren’t even necessary. And, I don’t want them to be like robots, but rather like children who are at an age where they can and WANT to soak up knowledge. Kids are like sponges, and if we put too much emphasis on the wrong thing, they will remember it.
And to quote SNL once again, “This week, children at more than 1,700 schools in North America sang the song, ‘I Wanna Play,’ at the same time. Simultaneously, in China, over a billion kids were doing math.”
If you don’t think there could be more actual learning in our schools, then maybe you aren’t looking very far for anything to compare it to. Try Afghanistan where girls are being shot for wanting to go to school. Do you think they are going to get an extra cupcake? Something tells me that’s not what it’s about at all.
I linked this post up for Finish the Sentence Friday. The sentence was, “One of my hidden talents is….” Join in the fun!
Rayna Drago says
I 2nd everything you say. We didn’t do all these holidays in school and I sure remember having a ton of fun. Maybe this IS why our kids are doing so poorly in school compared to other countries. Too many parents wanting to do too many OTHER things than let the kids learn.
Agreed. It’s like suddenly every venue is competing to be the kids’ favorite place. Sorry, but that’s reserved for home. I’m all for celebrating accomplishments, acknowledging a birthday with a song, and fun with friends. But I remember those half day parties at school – and I didn’t want to be there. I wanted to go home to celebrate the exact same thing with my family. Thanks for the post and I’m sorry you’re taking such crazy heat over it.
It’s just crazy to me how passionate parents feel about these parties! I don’t care if they insult me, because frankly, they don’t know me, but I’m just surprised how passionate people have gotten about it. 🙂
You said it exactly right that these people don’t know you. They don’t know that you’ve let your kids jump in puddles and play in the middle of a rain storm. Totally anti-robotic. I loved that post.
Awww! You remember my blog posts?? Sniff sniff. 😉
This is my first time here to your blog and I love it. I have to say, I totally agree! I wrote a post about how preschool sucks the life out of me with all the demands…for PARTIES. I mean, good grief, it is preschool! The thing about all the celebrations is that they become WORK, for not actual work that helps kids learn. Let kids be fun, yes, but I agree, too much is too much.
If my kids are robotos so be it. Hopefully they will be as useful as the roomba.
bwahahaha! As useful as the roomba killed me. 🙂 Love it.
Lisa @ The Golden Spoons says
I agree for the most part. I think there is room for a few celebrations – the BIG ones – but it has gotten out of hand. And those commenters completely overreacted to what you said. 🙂
I know. It’s making the whole dream of being published on HuffPost kind of not seem so desirable anymore. 🙂 I agree, the big ones are fine! But, let’s keep it low key at that.
I was just reading another post by a woman who also took issue with this HuffPo article, so you are definitely not alone! And I do think we have become a little celebration-heavy. Overall, I don’t mind the celebrations or acknowledgments of holidays/special days, as long as it’s a small deal. My daughter’s school does a pretty good job with that. Holiday parties take place during the last half hour of the school day, and basically consist of a quick craft, a game, and small snack. The school sets guidelines to keep the parties as low key as possible. They also don’t “celebrate” birthdays. Kids do get to acknowledge their birthdays by dressing out (they normally wear uniforms) and their name is read over the P.A. But no treats to bring in. It’s great!!! But so far, the parties at my son’s school have been totally out of control! Parents bring in these crazy feasts and Pinterest-perfect crafts. And I have a friend who says the room moms at her children’s school have multiple MEETINGS to plan for school parties. That’s totally ridiculous. Kids don’t really need that much to have fun.
Also, after that whole “Frozen” article, it’s pretty clear Huff Po just really likes to stir the pot 🙂
That’s CRAZY!! Yes, I think that’s how a lot of schools are. Out of control! I like the idea of celebrating the big holidays like Christmas, but in a low key way. And, I love what your school does for birthdays. That’s perfect. People are majorly overreacting to my comments obviously. I was just told that I obviously did not understand human social development. WHAT???? I don’t think I want to be published on HuffPo anymore. Too many crazies.
I guess there is a price for exposure. It does seem like people go to those sites with their guns ready to blaze. I mean, you are OBVIOUSLY what’s wrong with parents these days. That’s completely and logically clear from a FEW sentences you wrote in a comment section. Anyone who would have the crazy sense to suggest moderation about anything just wants to make kids suffer 😉
I know, right?
Mary Widdicks says
Wow. Just wow. I haven’t known you long, but I’ve certainly found you to be a fun-sucking, child-hating monster 😉 Let’s get rid of recess next!
Mary Widdicks says
This was totally written in my sarcastic font. Reading it over today, I realized that might not have been obvious :-P. Ah, the limitations of online communication. Just so you know, I don’t really think those things about you!
Oh my gosh. I totally knew. 🙂
Kristi Campbell says
I agree with you. America is behind so much of the world in education for a reason and while I agree that learning should be fun, the trolls who said you were trying to raise robots because you want your kids to LEARN at school is just nuts! Also, my son is allergic to nuts and peanuts and the thought of home-made treats going into the classroom always panics me a little bit wondering if somebody forgot that it’s a nut-free class.
I can imagine!! Allergies are NO joke. That was what was so surprising to me. I thought my comment was a little off topic anyway, so it surprised me that people got so passionate about parties!
Um, school should be fun because the teachers are good and make LEARNING” fun. Anybody can make eating a cupcake fun, but what are the kids learning? There are only so many school days in a year. Let’s not waste them. I agree completely!
I can’t even go to Huffington Posts anymore. I never leave better off than when I got there.
Yep. I’m convinced it’s where all the crazies hang out to taunt rational people
Absolutely spot on. And the pics at the end really drove it home. I’m a firm believer that kids should be doing the celebrations at home, and the learning at school. The part that really gets me, is that the schools don’t even use the celebrations as a chance for a learning experience. Don’t bother teaching kids about the origins of these holidays, let’s just give em a colored cupcake, egg, or whatever…yeesh. No offense to the HP, but I’d much rather have my kid come home from school and tell me about a history lesson he learned, instead of showing me how adept he is at stringing together a 37 foot long strand of paper clips.
I think I may be somewhere in the middle regarding school though I would not be upset if they stopped all the parties and celebrations. They can still commemorate them through projects and books around the theme. I agree with you about the abundance of celebrations and in particular sugar doled out at school. Candy and sugary treats should not equal fun. My daughter recently called me out to her teacher telling her I didn’t like how much TV they watched in school. I wasn’t going to make an issue of it because 1. it is public school and I won’t always be 100% satisfied and 2. she IS learning. However, the intermittent TV watching and what seems like constant rewarding with candy and celebrations does seem a bit much and a waste of time.
A seasonal celebration seems ok, but all the other stuff is just unnecessary.
I meant “regarding school celebrations..” sorry 😉
Jennifer Steck says
Isn’t school for learning and aren’t we responsible, as parents, to help them celebrate the amazing milestones and birthdays? We’ve moved lots of things off our plates and onto the backs of teachers who are already overworked. I’m with you. Limit the parties or have them after school. I can’t imagine dealing with food allergies when there are so many tempting treats.
I agree. It makes me wonder how the teachers feel….haven’t heard from too many of them.
While our son’s school has had a couple celebrations, they are few and far between. I don’t know if Common Core has made it out to your state yet, but here, it is a very dogmatic approach to education that is miserable. So, personally, I wouldn’t mind if there were a few more celebrations in school. At the open house, our son’s teacher declared, “I don’t do birthdays, I don’t do holidays, we are on an academic treadmill from the moment they walk in the door to the moment they leave.” While I will admit my son is learning, I also have to admit that by the time he gets home at the end of the day, he is a ticking time bomb from sitting in a seat doing academics for six hours, minus the 10 minutes they get to eat and have recess. So, I think some of this depends on where you come from and what your school department is like. Sure school is for learning, but at my son’s age, for example, studies show that their learning should come more from socialization, play, and a lot of the American education today is just not developmentally appropriate for kids, IMHO. Additionally, they may be poking fun at us as Americans for celebrating random things, but lots and lots of other cultures have festivals, celebrations, and holidays much more frequently than we do. . .
Hmmm. Interesting. We DO have common core. And, I’m all for breaks occasionally, and am definitely PRO recess (we get two of those per day also) but honestly I feel like the weeks that we have a full week of school are just about as many as the week where we have a random day off. I’ve also found on the weeks where it is not a full week, there is no homework sent home. I’m not complaining about small celebrations, especially for the big holidays. I’m complaining when we dedicate a day to something silly, and it is very apparent that my child did nothing but color all day when she is already reading 2 1/2 grades above her grade level. I WISH she would be challenged more. But you’re right, every school and every child is different.
Stephanie @ Mommy, for Real. says
First of all, how epically awesome that 363 people LIKED your comment?! You totally win. And OMG with the 100th day nonsense. And Dr. Frickin Seuss… And the Sock Hop… and… I am with you, sister. Enough is enough. I can barely keep my head above water without having to track down a damn poodle skirt and stick 100 things on a hat. Not to mention the class parties for holidays- argh! Preach it!