I am not at all surprised that there’s a movement afoot to add more time to school. In fact, I’m surprised that there’s not a movement to add time to more things.
My colleague and friend who is on maternity leave wrote on her Facebook page yesterday: “Every new mother should leave the hospital with the following: a baby, 6 extra hours in the day, a 3rd arm and a chiropractor.”
I’ve begun to take note of how many questions my sons (ages 6 and 9; the almost 2-year old still mostly points and screams but maybe if my husband I had more time, he would scream a little less, and ask more questions) ask that start with, “When are we going to [fill in the blank]?” Among the blanks that recently garnered some variation of a “not right now, I don’t have time” response:
· Carve a pumpkin
· Buy gloves
· Go to the bookstore
· Chart which is the fastest route to get home from school
The questions that didn’t start this way are no less tricky:
· Where are the nails [to fix the arm on my skeleton]? (Asked adorably just after bedtime)
· Do worms have legs? (Debate on the way to school)
· What is “the Dow”? (While waiting for the morning weather report)
· What will happen if Barack Obama loses the election? (Watching morning roundup of last GOP debate)
These are really good questions. They show that my kids want to create and are thinking about our world and current events. But trying to offer equally thoughtful answers makes me crazy. I need more time—time to think, to research, to worry. I need time to search: for nails, for a way to explain the markets to a 9-year old, or for a country to live in if we end up with a president who doesn’t believe in science. I could avoid some of these questions if my kids didn’t consume so much news media, but then I would have to find time to read the newspaper, which clearly isn’t happening. So much more efficient to rely on my friends and colleagues who are reading the papers to post links.
I could start a whole bunch of campaigns: more time for reading, writing, reflection, sleeping, exercising…. But for now, while they still have a few minutes to spare (and their parents don’t) and they have so very many questions, let’s give kids more time to learn.