Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Middle School Sucks

Not very mature of me to put it that way, but alas, it is true. While our older son suffered through a year of it, then put down his feet like a mule and refused to go (thus homeschooling for 7th & 8th), our daughter will probably stay the course at her arts focus school, which is at least better than the more mainstream options.

Her school is better than most in climate: the kids are allowed to dress as they choose, the students and teachers have an ongoing mutual respect, and art is integral to all subjects, even math.

But the kids are still hormonal, grumpy, and petty, and feel useless, lumpy, and insecure. Poor things. It was our thought that a school that was 65% girls would be a good place for our daughter, but we hadn't considered the downside of a majority of girls going through the most insecure stage of their lives, in close quarters.

If I was queen of the world, I would take the students out of an academic atmosphere for the two or three years they are in constant internal and external turmoil, and put them to work so they can't focus on themselves, and have to focus on someone else. In a positive way. Frankly, I've been told that middle schools are considered holding tanks for awkward adolescents, and the standards aren't too high anyway. I would put them to work caring for injured animals, building Habitat for Humanity houses, making food for the homeless, creating goods that would benefit a charity, something hands on that every boy or girl could look at and hold, knowing that he or she contributed to the creation, and that it would help someone and impact the world.

One theory of modern adolescent ennui is that teens are undervalued. That the agricultural world that valued their labor is gone, and that they are considered useless until they earn a living wage, or better yet, appear on television. They feel like adults don't like them, younger kids fear them, and shop owners think they're going to steal. How would you like to be treated thtt way?

Sadly, I'm not the queen of the world, though how parents would like their child to be laboring during school hours is anyone's guess. K8 schools may help. Our youngest may well go to one. I guess I'll find out in about eight years.

No comments: