Friday, December 03, 2004

Education, Boredom and Challenging our Kids

There's a great discussion over at 11D about how much should we want our schools to challenge our kids. If our kids seem bored with school, should we say something? Should we just let them work it out on their own? Lots of interesting comments over there. I have two really smart kids. I think they're definitely going to be smarter than me. When we first moved to the area, my older son had just spent a year in kindergarten in a state that's ranked 49th in the NEA's rankings of "good schools." His school was excellent and his teacher was wonderful, so he'd learned a lot. She'd managed to make kindergarten fun, but also challenge the kids to learn letters, numbers, basic math, reading and even science. We ended up in a school here that was a public school but in competition with the private schools because its student body was primarily drawn from the most affluent neighborhood around. There was too much pressure. Though my son did well his first year, thanks to an understanding teacher, the second year was horrible. Things had to be perfect. Answers had to be correct and written neatly. I don't know any 8 year old boys who write neatly!

We moved (bought a house) and ended up at a school with a much broader spectrum of socioeconomic backgrounds in the student body. And I'm happy about this. Someone over at 11D was talking about learning to deal with boredom and I think that's very important. I may feel like moving my children to a more challenging school (possibly private) when they're in high school, but at the elementary level, I'm satisfied with them learning social skills, and being challenged, but not being pressured to be absolutely perfect. They can relax a little. Besides, my son asks questions that we encourage him to find answers to by looking it up. He's already learning to fill in the gaps. And that is as important as what he learns in school.