A slower year is good for kids
Perhaps you saw Vicki Abeles’ op-ed in the Boston Globe last week titled “Forget About Making This Year As Normal As Possible”. In it, she discusses the value of letting the COVID 2020 school year be different, be slower.
She points out that U.S. parenting and educational approaches have swung wildly towards “rote memorization, performance, and measurement” to the exclusion of deep and useful learning and good mental health.
As parents, we’re subjected to misinformation such as: more teaching = better learning, “being ahead” in math, science = a better future, and if your child misses a day of learning, they will forget, fall behind, be ruined for life. These ideas are, at best, partially true and at worst, a mechanism to entice us to purchase something.
I agree with Abeles.
It’s ok to let go this year – chances are your child will be fine.
Doubling down on traditional learning – especially on Zoom – will likely not promote learning.
And 2020 offers tremendous opportunity for deeper, more humane, and frankly more useful learning.
A slower year supports equity
What Abeles doesn’t tackle is how academic-doubling-down impacts equity within our communities. 2020 COVID schooling varies wildly regionally, by family income, by race, by special needs, by family structure... I could go on. The differences are glaring and appalling.
When we work to accelerate children who already have amazing advantages, we absorb, dilute, and redirect resources from children who truly need them. We upend our community ecosystem and use our privilege footprint to accumulate opportunities for children ~ who already have them~.
Think about this for a minute. If masses of higher income and well-educated parents use their resources to enhance and accelerate education for their children– where does that leave students and families who do not have these resources?
This is the question I struggle with and I don’t have a clear answer. But I can tell you with great certainty that if you are reading this blog and you recognize your own privilege – it’s not only ok to let go – it’s very likely to benefit those who do not have your advantages.
Questions to ask yourself:
What does my child really need?
* A pandemic pod? That extra math class? That tutor?
* Sleep? Downtime? A way to give back to others?
What is more important at this moment in history? SATs? Accelerated learning? Kindness? Democratic ideals? (read here for more)
Is there something my family can let go in order to make space for others to rise?
How can my family survive pandemic schooling while also
supporting those equally lovely, talented, whip-smart kiddos
whose parents love them dearly but cannot afford the extras?