It says here in my copy of Blogging for Complete Morons* that
…Parent bloggers are allowed, in fact it’s a requirement, to post complaints about how their kids are getting assigned too much homework in the months of September and October. Posts of this nature at any other time are considered bad form.
Any time is a good time to post about the dearth of non-skanky clothes for tween girls, however.
Well, dang, I’d really like to complain about Zaphod’s 4-5 hours of homework a night, but it does seem kind of silly to do it in December. But watching Zaphod struggle with a particular book report this week, something else occurred to me; something that would be appropriate any time of year.
Zaphod is an accelerated reader. He’s in 4th grade and reads at an 8th grade level. I’m not telling you this in a “My Child is an Honor Student at…” way; this fact is very important to what I’m trying to say. Anyway, St Bob’s Academy really pushes their accelerated reading program, and for that I’m thankful.
However, this brings up an interesting problem. This year we have been putting middle school / high school themes and thoughts into a 10-year-old mind. He just finished doing a report on an old book called “The Machine Gunners”. He’s a 10 year old boy, of course he was attracted to the subject matter. When I asked him what he thought of the book, he said “It was depressing”. I can’t tell you how weird it is to hear your 10 year old son say those words.
Looking through the book, I realized what he was talking about. It was written in 1975 (and was there ANYTHING written in the mid-70’s that wasn’t depressing?). This book had it all: death, betrayal, personal agony. I thought to myself, isn’t it a little soon to be introducting this kind of stuff?. But alas, we have no choice.
Think back on the books and short stories they had you read in middle school and early high school. I don’t know about you, but the assignments I had were ALL DEPRESSING! The Lottery, The Scarlet Letter, The Stone Boy, The Grapes of Wrath (and for some reason, they all had titles that started with ‘The’)
It’s a wonder I didn’t slit my wrists in 8th grade.
Now, here’s an intersting chicken/egg thought. We all know that kids in 7th,8th,9th and 10th grades are filled with angst and are generally sullen, meloncholy creatures. How much of this attitude is actually caused by their school reading lists?
*Blogging for Complete Morons is not a real book.