Tuesday, October 23, 2007

School Days

Why hello! We posted your responses about school in September, and it has sure kept you sharing! The school year is in full gear, and you have lots to say about what your school is like, why you go there, and what you would like to change. We all know school is about a lot more than classes. I could go on and on about education (I was an education minor in college), but for now, I want to share what you have to say. Thanks for your input! I am so excited to share more girls' voices on the subject of school:


The first thing other kids usually ask me when I tell them I’m home schooled is “how do you make friends?” What I tell them is always the same. I have a lot of friends. Most of them I know through my support group. Support groups are a bunch of home schoolers who get together, often at parks or for activities like field trips or classes. My support group gets together every Thursday at different parks. Before we go to the park some people go to workshops, like writing groups and book clubs, that the moms organize.

My family has been coming to the group since I was two, and most of the girls my age have been coming to the group for at least four or five years, although we do have some newer girls. My oldest friend from my group has been coming to the group for about eight years, since we were three. Two of my other friends have been coming to the group for six or seven years—and then there is another girl, who just joined a few weeks ago. Also, because there aren’t as many girls my age in my group as there are in a school, I’m pretty close to all the eleven and twelve-year-old girls in the group. At the park, my friends and I like to play tag, climb trees and just talk! In the past we have had clubs where we play games and make crafts. We’ve performed plays, and we’ve choreographed dances for our group’s Talent Show.

We recently started a mother-daughter group called the Saturn Sisters. We meet once a month at each
other’s houses and talk about growing up and being a girl. Outside of my support group I have a lot of other friends. I go to ballet class four times a week and have become friends with a lot of the girls, especially the ones that have been in my class for three or four years. I have two good friends who are my neighbors that both go to school. I also go to summer camps and make friends there. And I will always have an everlasting friendship with my cousin, who’s just a month and five days younger then me. Over all, even though I don’t go to school I still have a lot of friends. Enough that I have trouble keeping my birthday parties small, especially when they’re sleepovers!

--Lily, 11

Private School

I have recently started seventh grade at an all girls’ school. Though some girls may think me crazy, I chose it over another school that was co-ed for a reason. At my elementary school, though I had my crush here and there, I began to get sick of boys thinking they could control us girls. I hated the way they were so arrogant and always being over-aggressive. They always got control of the play-yard, and when one or two of us decided it was too much, they ganged up on us and we ended up right where we started.

I believe that if all of us girls had decided to try and get a piece of the yard for ourselves, we could have. Unfortunately, my friends always said things like “Well, they never play football, we should let them do it for once,” “But we don’t want to play kickball,” “I don’t want to get in a fight with them, they’ll get angry.” This made me feel like the ten boys in our class of eighteen had control over us. I don’t like anything that is prejudice or sexist, especially when I am involved in it. It was usually only me or maybe one other girl trying to fight for eight of us.

The worst of it was that some boys, who were the nicest ones there, probably felt the way I did. But did they stand up to the other boys? No, they were afraid of being teased for taking sides with the girls. This is the main reason why I decided to change schools. Now I am enjoying an all girls’ school with my old friends, who didn’t want to stand up to the boys, and new friends, including someone who I hope will become my best friend.

The greatest thing about an all girls’ school is that not many girls are showing off to “get boys,” something that gives me the creeps. You can go to school with un-brushed hair, you didn’t take a shower, and no one cares! I love my new school for all of my listed reasons and hope that girls around the world can have courage enough to stand up against people who are being prejudiced and unfair.

--Kayla, 13

Public School

I go to a public Montessori school. I have been in Montessori for 6 years. I like Montessori because you can do what you want when you want to do it. So, say you really like math, then you can do a math work, like square root where you make a square out of pegs on a peg board, while someone else is doing research on a horse or something. Montessori classrooms are mixed age classrooms. There’s ages 3-6, 6-9, and 9-12. Last year one of the fourth graders was doing 7th grade algebra. New Moon wrote that Montessori discourages testing. However, in my class we have a pre-spelling test and a post spelling test every week. Because we are a public school, we have standardized tests including math, language, and science tests every 6 weeks. We also take my state's yearly standardized tests starting in 3rd grade.

--Cora, 10

As a ninth grader at our local three-year junior high school, I've seen a lot. Every year, the incoming seventh graders seem to care increasingly more about their images and less about their grades. Our school rules clearly state "No shorts or skirts above knee-length." and "All shirts must be sleeved, or shoulders must be covered." Nowhere in the rules does it say "Welcome seventh graders! Because you're new to this school, we'll just give you a warning every time your shorts look like underwear and your shirts are more like bikinis. Oh, and since we're letting you get off, we might as well let the ninth and eighth graders do it, too. Have a great year!" It seems to me as if the school district thinks that just because we're still in middle school, we're still innocent and the media hasn't gotten to our heads yet. I'd like to write them a lengthly e-letter explaining just how wrong they are. I don't want to make any stereotypes against these girls, but the fact that these twelve-year-olds are drinking water and picking at low-cal chips for lunch scares me. In their attempts to grow up faster and be more like the girls they see on TV, these poor seventh graders have been morphed into the likes of sophomores, and are shown no mercy by the media.

All of this on top of the fact that grades are slipping, both district- and nation-wide. It makes me wonder what will happen in twenty or thirty years, when the leaders of today are retired and the girls I see strutting through the hallways with painted faces and tiny skirts are forced into leadership. And trust me on this one, it's not just the girls. The guys are also tricked by the media. They've been led to believe that the only girls "worthy" of their attention are the skinny ones with cheer-leading uniforms and pounds of makeup coating their faces. School no longer means "education"; it's means "reputation". And honestly, I'm terrified of what's going to happen to these kids when they discover that they need more than just good looks to get into college, or get a job. Maybe some of them haven't been so influenced by the magazines and TV shows, but it's coming. The influence of peer-pressure has unbelievable powers, especially in a junior high that is so tightly controlled by the "popular" group.

Just when it seems that the hierarchy of the marketing community will be overthrown by the people, it lets another stream of propaganda into the system. Each time I think it has to end somewhere, I see another mile of lies stretching in the distance. The only thing I know is this; The next time my little brother (who is, by chance, one of the very seventh graders I speak of) asks a girl out on a "dare date", I'll march right up and end it. If no one else will put a stop to this distorted reality, I will. And I encourage every other girl out there to do the same.

--Lauren, 14

I go to a public charter school for home schoolers. Here is how it works. My parents teach me math, writing, science, history, p.e., spelling and typing. On Wednesdays I take classes with other home schoolers. I also have an E.C. (education coordinater) who my parents and I meet with every six weeks to show her my work samples. We also make a plan for the next six weeks.

The school also does organized field trips. I have not been one yet but when classes start I might go on field trips. But it depends on if kids my age go.

I am glad I get to go to a school were I can make friends but do not have to see them everyday. I am also glad there is less teasing and more fun.

--Abby 11

Thanks for sharing your unique experiences! Keep in touch with responses and comments as the school year goes on. What do you think? I cannot wait to hear more from you!

Sending happiness your way, Elizabeth

1 comment:

piglet said...

wow! All those stories were VERY interesting! i go to a local public school. i would have preferred to stay at monasori, where i went to preschool. unfortunetly, the monasoris do not go up very high grades where i live!