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September 25th, 2016

Reiss’s Pieces

By Judy Reiss
There can’t be a child anywhere who can’t wait for school to get out at the end of the year. I think that feeling of euphoria still exists, although the school year has been made longer. Of course, I am one of those who thinks that a longer year is a good thing. In fact, what I’ve always thought was a little strange is that students who go to college get out months before the very young kindergartners! Not only do I think that is very strange, think about how much parents pay for their loved one to go to college! And almost before either student or parent can turn around they have either a fall break, a winter break or a spring break and then before either one can catch their breath, school is over and there is a loved one sleeping on the sofa bur someone is planning for them to get a job. And if they do get a job, they consider the money they earned as their money!

But it isn’t my place to figure out how college students behave or who pays for them to attend college. And God only knows why the costs have gone out of sight and if there is an end in sight. Actually, I don’t think so!

But boy, the school year seems to be expanding and the summer vacation shorter!

I must admit that I am one of those in the minority who has a question about this trend. Are we making the school year longer because we are so far behind many of the other countries in the world that our kids need further schooling or is the reason something almost non-existent only a few years ago?

That reason is mothers, as well as fathers are working these days. And because they are working, their children need to be cared for and nurtured by someone else.

The lucky ones have a grandparent nearby who is willing to raise their grandchild. Now, I know many parents will take umbrage at the idea that their little loved one is being raised by someone else. But if you are willing to look at it, it’s the truth. Don’t kid yourself if your child either is taken to Grandma or to a day care center, someone else is with your child during his or her main portion of their day. Granted Mom will be picking them up in time for dinner. But what comes almost right after dinner? It is bed time and when they wake up, the day will begin all over again.

I have sort of wandered away from my first question which was why do our littlest of children have to stay in school longer than our college students. And of course, we have answered our own question. Call it whatever you want, but money is driving our educational train!

I am not sure how to solve this problem except I think it is imperative to make the time children are in school important and not just time filling a seat! And although I am not sure, I believe that a great many countries have school around the year because they have put education first, and I’m not sure if those of us who live and educate our children in the U.S. consider education a priority! Very little time is spent on actually teaching subjects that we need to considered important. But now we don’t want to make a child feel bad about himself so we have dumbed down our curriculums and now we offer photography instead of an advanced math class.

Before some of you are boiling mad at what I have suggested, let me assure you that I don’t mean every single student. But the good student who searches out the hard classes is, unfortunately, in the minority. And the parent who complain bitterly about the amount of homework their child is responsible for, think about those other countries who are teaching the “hard” subjects eight hours a day seven days a week

Of course, it wouldn’t be me if I didn’t mention that I am irate that cursive handwriting is no longer taught in school. Which brings up two (at least) questions. How are these children going to sign their name? I shudder to think that they will be printing their name! Can you imagine? And although the second thought isn’t a question, it makes me almost laugh! If these children remain cursive free, they won’t be able to read it either. And this means that any one who wants to send someone a secret, all they have to do is write in cursive. This gives parents a whole new opportunity to talk among themselves. All they have to do is write in cursive. Their children will have no idea what they wrote!

Actually, I have several friends and acquaintances who have gone to their local bookstore and ordered the good old Palmer Method workbook in order to teach their own children or grandchildren how to write cursive. And it would seem to me it is like a talking dog. It makes no difference how well he talks, it is just that he talks! My handwriting isn’t the best but I can write and I can read almost any cursive whether it is good or not. And over the years I have never really thought about it. I can read whatever is written to me or for me! And there were actually times I was able to read things that were not only historically correct but very interesting.

I don’t really know what I am suggesting, probably that these days it is imperative that you know what is going on in your school. And you should demand excellence, regardless of what your loved one thinks! You need to make sure that they get a good education and that your school is turning out a well-rounded student.

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