Home School

How does school compete with PS4, Nintendo Switch, Android, IPhone or YouTube? Short answer- it doesn’t. And now we’re going back in person. We may very well have Corona virus Among Us very soon here at my house on top of the other school failures this year.

My kids are getting ready to go back to school under what is called, “The Hybrid Model.” Up until now, they’ve been virtual exclusively, which, really has been a blessing in disguise. My wife is a teacher, so she’s been home as well. We live in a state where the Covid numbers are world renowned. Without getting into the drama that has been our school season thus far, it’s been way more safe having everyone at home. Better yet, I’ve gotten some insight into our school system.

It makes me cringe. I’m truly praying for whatever “Event” is due to reset the planet as prophesied elsewhere by numerous spiritual experts. Whether it be the economic reval, suddenly unexpected 5D Ascension, the straight-up apocalypse, grand solar flash, or whatever it takes. If our US Dept of Education had been on the ball, they could have completely re-written our education system to be amazing.

Photo by Julia M Cameron on Pexels.com
Totally not one of my kids…

This is political, yet not really. Education is a mixed bag of federal, state, local, and even school specific rules, funding, and issues here in Iowa. Everything, literally everything related to going back to in-person school is tied to the school admins specifically. I get trying to prevent the spread of the virus. I get that we took a pencil-and-paper curriculum and attempted to make it fit a virtual setting. But what they’re doing going back to school here in Des Moines is straight ridiculous! They fought not to go back repeatedly- and failed.

So, starting today, my youngest two children in the house, the two who are most likely to catch anything/everything are going back to school and after school child care. My wife is going back to teach her special ed kids (literally, not figuratively) and I’m here with the older two doing virtual school. That’s okay, the rotation changes mid-week, meaning I’ll be ready for the nut farm by Saturday easily.

Communicating by BitMoji for the rest of this article. I just can’t seem to find any good pics that sum up the sad sauce that is the school system these days.
I might joke around a little bit, but this is serious.

Of course, assuming no one brings the Corona critters home to make Dad sick. My wife and I are both immune compromised to the nines by Diabetes and other exciting things. I’m already avoiding some things like the literal plague. There’s fear and then there’s just plain intelligent. It’s like I’m unafraid of getting shot, but I’m not going to run out into the middle of a gunfight buck-naked yelling “Shoot me! Shoot me! Shoot me!, ” either. Let’s be reasonable. So, the Des Moines School Board has offered to “help” by inviting all kinds of new and old germs into our house. Thanks guys.

But virtual learning has taught me that our whole education system needs overhauling from the lowest level on up. I have sat with all but one of our children for an extended period of time listening to what they call their curriculum. I have one kid who can operate independently enough that I don’t have to threaten “Dad School.”

Really, I’m a big softie, but don’t tell their Mom. *Wink. Wink.*

How well does modern American schooling stack up in terms of the rest of the world? Really? Last I heard we were falling behind other civilized nations in terms of math, science and even literacy. It’s sad to say, but I understand why now that I’ve been home with these guys for seven plus months. Look what these teachers are competing with. No, I don’t mean Britain, Japan, China and Germany. I mean Iphone, Android, YouTube, Nintendo and Playstation. Our 11 and 14 year olds are at the top of the curve in terms of literacy from hours playing video games plus mom and dad making them read good old timey printed books.

At least the kids are learning to read. On the other hand, their writing skills are a big more cringey. I don’t mean handwriting, I mean the simple ability to compose full, meaningful sentences and paragraphs. That brings me to my two younger kids. My poor nine year old has spent the school year so far learning about poetry vs prose. I’m all about culture, but in the condensed, virtual, online, worldwide web world, does that sh*t even matter any more? How important is it when this kid goes to look for a job in ten years? Last I checked, McDonald’s doesn’t ask “Do you know what the difference between poetry and prose?” Reading comprehension is vital, sure. But job applications, rent applications, and tax forms do not look like poetry or prose and I never learned to read doing that stuff, anyway. (We can talk about comic and game book learning some other day. LOL!)

My kindergartener… God save us all. He will have little to no access to writing when they go back today. The online learning portion of the show on the days they aren’t in school is null from what we’re hearing and Covid restrictions are going to completely kill any pen-and-paper learning in the classroom, or writing on the dry erase board. I’ve had to sit through several hours of this arf-arf letter learning on YouTube and what passes for math. The child learned more in on afternoon of Dad School than he did all week in an online class with almost 30 kids in it.

Aside from socialization, I see almost no benefit in sending the kid back to what is basically over glorified day care. The kindergarten teacher my son has could really care less from what I’ve seen. Which, the sentiment is mutual. I could care less that the school pageant or their 1,001 “charity” fundraisers are going away. (Although I’m sure they’ll keep finding ways to beg for money.) School has completely gone to pieces for the year as it is. Why the heck do we have to go through the added stress and strain of “hybrid” learning and in-person classes? Oh, wait. Because our governor said so. Highest Covid numbers in America, rivalling entire countries globally…

We saw it with my wife’s special ed kids. They would literally be doing anything and everything but learning whatever science, reading or social skills lesson was presented. PS 4, texting (sadly,) and the wonderful world of Nintendo are way more captivating. I find it ironic that these kids know how to text, but try getting them to record a video, (not even write a sentence on paper or type one in somewhere) summarizing something they just had literally read to them. Yikes. But guaranteed that kid can whoop my butt on MK11 if presented the opportunity.

My wife keeps reminding me to behave myself with this article. Pfft. I ain’t even warmed up yet.

IF my loving wife wasn’t a public school teacher, no kidding around, I’d yank these kids into straight up home schooling so fast the school admins’ heads would spin 360 degrees. I’d quit my job tomorrow if I thought I could help my own children out. I would be pretty loud about it, too. We won’t even get into their bullsh*t Covid precautions that turn the schools into Orwell’s 1984 all over again. We won’t even mention that all but High School athletics are pretty much done for the year. Let’s not even mention that my child with a 504 plan has been given zero leeway by teachers in the online learning environment. (It’s easier just to flunk kids now, apparently.) The sad, sick part of this whole debacle, virus threat aside, is that it has been a major wake up call to parents on every level that our school system is falling the flying f*ck apart on us! Something truly needs to be done.

But what to do with these kids? I thought you’d never ask. It’s not as hippie-dippie, woo-woo fruity as one might imagine give my usual spiritually centered nature. I’ll cover that in another article. Pretty sure I’ve already cheesed off every teacher and school administrator who gets wind of this. No sense doing some more damage.

Author: Jeff Craigmile

I'm a tabletop role-playing game writer and designer from Des Moines, Iowa. I'm the father of four boys and human to three cats.

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