Saturday, October 12, 2013

Parental failing

I have spoken about my youngest daughter's unfortunate desire to attend the government school across the street.  Well, those chickens are coming home to roost.

I fought, was outnumbered, and defeated.

She went to kindergarten last year, even though she was technically too young to start.  Her mom (and all my relatives) encouraged her to go, and her mom actually sort of pushed her into going last year.  "Here, take my child!"  She loved kindergarten, so she expected our daughter to have the exact same experience.

She did well, but because of her age, and the fact that the teacher said she thought my daughter would benefit emotionally and socially from repeating kindergarten (and because her mom thought it sounded like a wonderful idea), she is back in kindergarten again this year.

My daughter liked her teacher enough that she wanted to be in her class again this year.  I don't have anything in particular against her teacher, although it does bother me that in this government school it is official policy to show the kids religious programming and have them pray for absent classmates.  Yes, that bothers me.

But this isn't about that.

Before my daughter started kindergarten she was rapidly learning to read and write.  She would try to write words and ask me how to spell things all the time.  She liked to try to read and would participate in bedtime story reading with me.  She was to the point where she could actually read (nearly) entire kids' books to me.

But, no more.

Since she started school, her desire to learn has taken a nose-dive.

Now she never tries to write anything.  She never reads except by accident.

And yet, her mom and my government school-worshiping family members don't notice this change- probably because I am the one around her the most.  And it bothers me.  I feel like I am failing her- but I know this is a fight I will not win.  Because, even though my daughter often says she'd rather not go to school anymore (admittedly, mostly when it's time to go to bed or wake up), the resolve of the other "people of influence" is only stronger.

I see school doing the same damage to her that I see in so many others, and that I don't even know how I avoided.  School was a living nightmare for me, and I still hate it with a red-hot passion- I wish I had never been forced to attend, since I learned nothing positive from "class" after I learned to read, but only by skipping class and reading in the library.