If your child is doing well and you are happy about public school you probably don’t need to read any further. If your house is decorated well enough to win a Martha Stewart contest, and your Christmas dinner was cooked and frozen in neat Zip Lock bags and Rubbermaid containers weeks ago, then you can probably skip this post.
But if you fumbling through the season scared to death your children are missing out on the kind of education they deserve and you don’t know what to do, and you are burning the night oil, eating too many cookies and feeling like the Grandma who got run over by a reindeer, keep reading. I hear you!
It’s tough when your child isn’t getting what they should in the way of learning. The holidays might come as a welcome relief, but having a two week vacation, though a nice break from it all, doesn’t solve your child’s school problems. You know come January, when the holidays are over, it will be back to Common Core and test prep all over again.
Then there are the personal problems beyond your child’s schooling. There can be a whole array of issues. Job losses, loneliness, grief due to the loss of loved ones, broken relationships, and cancer and illness, are what I would put on the top of the list. Further down you have burst water heaters, a child’s hyperactivity (or your own), broken down cars, arguments, etc.
Even if everything’s swell in your life and you’re lucky, you know this is the only year your child will be 2, 10, 14, 21 and so forth. Time passes. Christmas makes us only too aware of this.
For those who treasure Christmas for the religious holiday it truly is, great hope and faith can replace some of the disappointment, hurt and fear.
Life has plenty of problems to serve up without school being one of them. I’ve said this before but it is worth repeating. Schools should be warm inviting places that not only help children learn but also help them deal with the problems they face outside of school. Schools should foster community support.
But don’t despair! This Christmas season I have hope. I believe changes, however slight, are possible. We’ve seen it this week with a new school board in Pittsburg rejecting Teach for America http://www.post-gazette.com/news/education/2013/12/18/Pittsburgh-board-reverses-on-Teach-for-America-contract/stories/201312180142.
Many states are seeing a huge non-partisan pushback of Common Core State Standards. Many families are opting their children out of harmful high-stakes testing. Parents of students with disabilities and/or gifted students are also raising their voices. Everyone has the ability to connect with others. Good things are always around the corner if you just have hope and keep working towards that end.
I welcome more good news!
In the meantime, don’t miss out on the things that matter today—time spent with your children enjoying the holidays. Be safe and have fun!