So here’s the deal for Hyper Lad: He’s in middle school, which basically concludes the school year in mid-May with the End of Grade tests for every subject. These are the de facto final exams for all the students in grades 4-8 in North Carolina elementary and middle schools.
Again, note that they are given in mid-May. School, however, is in session until June 10. So, for approximately four weeks, the students seem to coast alone in maintenance mode while the tests are graded and those who didn’t pass the various exams are given re-takes in the hope they will pass and will not have to repeat a grade.
That’s a month in idle. For the most part.
I mean, look at this week. We started with Monday, which was Memorial Day. On Wednesday, the sixth grade took off for an all-day field trip to the Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia, SC. Then, today, we’ve got the first of two sixth-grade field days, in which half the class will be adjourning to a near-by park to throw balls of various sorts, run and jump and play and do anything unrelated to actual academic achievement.
Next week, the last of school, I’m pretty sure they’re booked for wall-to-wall, bell-to-bell movies. Now there’s something to learn: Killing time is the most important part of life. Apparently.
I know most of these kids are still in school only because the state mandates a certain number of days they have to attend school during an academic year, not because they need to be there to actually learn something. They just have to be there.
I mean, heck, they already turned in all their school books that they had to borrow at the beginning of the year. No more language arts books. No more math books. No more foreign language books. No more science or social studies books. They have already turned all the library books, but the students have been encouraged to bring in their own books to have something to read when they get tired of the movies.
One good thing to come out of this is that Hyper Lad has discovered that toting around a Kindle is much more fun than lugging around a lot of books. And, thanks to the Kindle, he’s discovered that he loves reading Stephen King books, a feat he never would have attempted had he seen the length of some of those books.
So, I guess this last month wasn’t a total waste of time. Only a partial waste of time. Is this the best for which we can hope? I hope not.