I was worried Daughter L was oversleeping today but it turns out it is senior skip day at her school :). I remember my senior skip day, 31 years ago (:() — I played golf. THat was just a few weeks after Jack Nicklaus had surprised the golf world by winning the Masters in his 40s. That was the year I loved golf so much I golfed 3 times a week (walked on as a single on Friday, Saturday and Sunday) and I was starting to play well enough that the golf coach asked if I’d consider playing golf, not realizing I was a senior. Funny how much I loved it then – I don’t feel that way at all now. I don’t know how you can have soo much passion for something then none at all.
Standing here at the bus stop, beneath a hazy sunrise with literally a silver colored sky above me, I have a momentary understanding of why a poet might write poetry. I feel a rush looking at this, and a poet probably needs to channel that rush. Unfortunately, I am no poet (not really). In college, when I took a poetry writing course to improve my descriptive writing skills, I was obviously a hack when it comes to poetry 🙂
More than anything else, this shows the sheltered life I’ve led, but I think the most nerve-wrenching thing I did as a parent was drop my oldest (son R) off at Kindergarten, which happened 13 years ago tomorrow. I was so worried about him – would he do okay? Would he make friends? Would he be bullied? It was stressful and worrisome. I didn’t feel that way about my daughter L, not only because she was the second in line (we’d already done it so I knew what to expect) but she was much easier to adjust to things at the time. But, again, it shows what a privileged life I lead – there are people in USA who have to worry about their kids and drive-by shootings, etc. I did not go to a great high school (it was half minority in a poor area and there were problems with gangs, etc.), but I did not have to raise my kids in that. I feel blessed. And I wish I could make it so no one had to raise their kids in that. The fact we have that in the USA is really unforgivable to us, our Leaders, and our top 1% who have retired and spend their days in luxury.
Daughter L had a few books to read and a major essay (i.e. over 7 pages to write) that were assigned over the summer and due before her first class starts today at 7 AM. It is madness that we burn our kids out before they even start the school year. Was she assigned the paper over a month ago? Yes. But we were traveling (she traveled for 3 weeks with our family, plus 3 weeks with a school service trip) plus after taking an AP course last summer and having major assignments due over Winter and Spring breaks last year, she needed a break. Plus, most human beings — especially teens — will procrastinate.
I keep waiting for this age of homework — which is now over 20 years long – to end. We have been reading for years now about how the kids have too much homework, and how that much homework does not increase learning and hampers quality of life. But if anything it gets worse. And this weekend it burned my daughter out before she even starts her first day of school. It is madness.
For most of my life, I was a *very* slow and highly-selective reader, but remembered everything I did read. I not only remembered nearly everything I read, but often could recall the page and location on the page of where I read something, plus the date and where I was when I read it. But there were two keys:
- I had to be interested in what I was reading. Luckily I was interested in many things, such as history, science, literature and human interest stories. But I wasn’t interested in anything technical or mechanical, biology, or my teachers’ odd obsession with Hinduism (it seemed like every year we studied Hinduism). Ironically, because I was a slow reader, I often did not read what I was assigned in school, but rather flipped around to read what I was interested in. For example, the class might be studying about President Taft but I would see a piece about Abraham Lincoln, so would read the Lincoln piece instead).
- It coudn’t be read to me. For whatever reason, I have a hard time comprehending something that someone reads to me unless they are a professional or trained reader. Story hour for me has always been hell. 🙂
I always loved reading comprehension tests – I was always the last person to finish but generally scored in the top percentile. I didn’t really have to try — it just happened. But…
Since coming off prednisone I am struggling to remember what I read, most astoundingly numbers and years, which I was especially good at before. I really have to work at it, and have to keep reminding myself of what I read. Honestly, it makes it challenging, and dips into how much I can learn, since I am always having to review what I re-read. Is this what it is like for the average student? If so, no wonder so many kids hate school 🙂
But I refuse to give up – one thing for sure is if I stop reading, it won’t get better — plus in some ways it is nice to keep reading about a topic I am interested in and always learning something new when doing so 🙂