Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Education Pushers

My fifteen-year-old daughter is starting college today.
It’s not that we try to be overachievers. I’ve noticed that we are not alone in pushing our kids to do more, faster.
This morning’s paper talks about how middle school kids can earn high school credit if they extend class time by 10 minutes. That’s it? That’s the difference between a high school class and a middle school class?
One friend’s son is hoping to get into a program where he takes classes at DeVry for the last two years of high school. He won’t go to high school. He’ll only go to DeVry and then he’ll graduate from high school with an associate’s degree.
What’s the rush?
Why do our kids need high school credit in middle school and college credit in high school?
A similar program stretches high school to five years, but again, once they graduate they will have an associate’s degree. What are they going to do with that extra year? Will they simply finish four-year colleges at 21? Does that mean they are rushing out to the job market?
Maybe that gives them an extra year to backpack around Europe and Asia or join the Peace Corps or City Year. Maybe they will take that extra year that we rushed them through and give something back to the community.
But I wonder if they’ll even know how to relax once we finish pushing them to their full potential.
Grace is terrified to step into that college classroom this morning. She is taking biology and French.
We have homeschooled since Grace was in first grade. Now she thinks she might want to go to high school next year as a sophomore. Looking at what she has studied, I figured she needed a language and a science credit, thus the biology and the French class.
And, I’m not worried about how well she’ll do in class. She’s smart. She can keep up academically.
It’s just getting her to take that first step across the threshold and preventing myself from shoving too hard.

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