Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Common Core and the Case for Less Worksheets!

This Monday at our staff development day, we teachers (albeit preschool and daycare teachers but still), were taught something very different from what is being taught in most Elementary schools these days. That creativity, playtime, "Big Body Play"(running, jumping, tagging, even wrestling), and even (GASP) letting kids be kids, is GOOD! Conversely it was yet again another week of the attack of the worksheets for kindergartners everywhere.
Worksheets worksheets worksheets! That is literally all I see come home from my son, these days. Once in a while he will bring home the classic "kindergarten project" that we all remember. Construction paper cut outs and alphabet handwriting and nursery rhyme story characters. Yet overwhelmingly it's worksheets. All of which state "common core" on the headline. 10-15 of them a day... 50 or so a week. All of which I glance at to see he obviously knows the material and then recycle. He is 5 (barely) and comes home with at least 2-3 worksheets of homework a night. HOMEWORK! I have tried to play ball, tried to be the good little school age Mom, tried to not care that my son is spending precious days locked inside a stuffy classroom writing out a thousand wksheets a month... but I can't. I just can't. Maybe it was our own Staff Development curriculum that fired me up, or maybe that my recycle bin is overwhelmingly my sons hmwk.... either way I am taking a stand. I have wanted to write this piece for a while now but this morning I was handed in the form of a tiny boys artwork, the perfect example of what my child can do ALL BY HIMSELF! Left to his own devises, he created this. No adult helped, not even with the spelling. He did this entirely on his own!!!

Note that he even spelled Tyrannosaurus correctly! I was floored. I asked him if he did it in school, he said "no we don't do things like this in school. I asked him if Daddy had helped him, he said, "No I looked up in books and TV how to spell the words, I did it all by myself."
So while my son is ok playing ball and doing his hand cramping duty of a thousand worksheets, I am not as ok with them. My son can spell and write words like Tyrannosaurus on his own yet his school has him doing countless worksheets describing the difference between a sphere and a circle. Now I am not blaming his teacher, she is just doing what she has to to keep her job. She has to teach to the testing which will cost her her job if her students don't perform well enough. I am just saying that these kids need less worksheets and more time to create things like this. They need the freedom to do what they want, to show teachers what they are really capable of. 
So I am here to say MY SON IS NOT A NUMBER! My son is AMAZING! My son and all his classmates are worth so much more!

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