I am a nothing mom.
I am not a hockey mom, a soccer mom, or an as seen on TV and cheerily frazzled drive-my-kid-everywhere-after-school mom. My kids do nothing. Well, let's back up a bit. Because they were born into the Race to Nowhere and Obama/Bush's NCLB failed policies, they actually are doing more than most of us can even imagine. Louis C.K. was baffled at his children's common core homework, and yet, years after The Case Against Homework was published, parents are still insisting that their kids get more homework; for fear of them failing.
Falling at what?
We are certainly falling behind other countries; but our emphasis on testing and ivy league colleges means we, as a society, are failing our children. It is positively inhumane to take away recess for young children; yet schools insist it is for the greater good of testing. We submit our children to medieval conditions in order for them to "beat out" other children under the monolith of testing. Imagine a dungeon where kids don't see sunlight all day, are confined indoors, without fresh air or exercise, bolted to desks and fed factory-farmed pink slime in a dismal, prison like cafeteria. This is pretty much what my kids' high school is like. No joke.
My daughter goes to the "prestigious" La Guardia H.S in NYC. She is/was an artist, and because of the ironically named "school choice," we chose this school for her. From the time she was 14 she has woken up at 6 and commutes an hour each way during rush hour. Why don't we just send her to another school you ask? We ain't rich, and this is a public school. At La Guardia and Murrow H.S, which my son attends, the administration does not let children out once during the day. For those already on the brink of mental health, this is certainly one way to push a kid over the edge.
Ironically, they say it's for "safety" reasons. (Now that is a joke)
During their long, drawn out, crazy schedules (my son does not even get a lunch period!) they are stressed to the max, without any way to release it. Add more testing and less physical activity and you get a recipe for disaster.
Therefore, in spite of the risk I take by not loading them up with extracurriculars, I allow them to just do nothing after school.
If I'm home from work, I keep the apartment quiet; no TV; no yelling; no nothing. Even when I'm stressed to the teeth, I try to swallow mine down so I can be there to listen to my children. I don't pressure them about their homework, nor have I ever done their homework for them. I cannot imagine the mindset of parents who do their kids' homework. (I imagine these are the same helicopter moms that go to their kids job interviews) What price are you willing to pay to satisfy your ego? For surely it is not in the best interest of your child to infantilize them in the name of your idea of success.
How much of your child's health and heart are you willing to forever destroy by enabling this Race to Nowhere?
Please stop. I beg you. Stop the testing. Stop the homework. Stop the culture of all-or-nothing thinking. As a society, we must make room for all sorts of people. Not all of us were meant to be coders; let's make space in our schools and in our homes for the artists, carpenters, designers, plumbers, wrestlers, musicians and others who don't fit neatly into our rapidly drying up pool of acceptable futures.
I am the guardian of my children's souls, and I have been fighting against the system for years to no avail. The only way I can effectively fight is by opting out. No afterschool activities. No SAT testing. No sad Kumon. No tutoring. No "checking" their homework. Maybe because of this, my daughter is an "A" student who scored in the top 2% of SAT scores. But if you ask me what her score is, I honestly don't know. I am not bragging; for this is strictly her doing.
I did nothing.
ronically, my daughter is going off to SBCC in September. We thought this would be an affordable and gentle way to get her into the UC system as a resident while knocking out her pre-reqs.
We must lessen the pressure on our children. It is a moral imperative. And this is something I can do.
Will you join me in doing nothing too?