Samantha and the Brio Train

My wife and I have often marveled at how difficult it can be for high school students in the learning mode.  I have a theory that one of the reasons they have so many difficulties with homework at the high school level, and by this I mean just even doing it, is because they were so programmed that they didn’t yet get the “playing” out of their systems.  Our children were not necessarily the best students (not that they weren’t capable of it) but they did know how to play.  This play has allowed them to become fine, upstanding adults who know how to prioritize, work hard, and chill when necessary.

I am convinced that there is so much wrong with our expectations in terms of elementary and the middle school.  We often overload the students with work thinking that it will guarantee good grades and success.  I think it is often to the contrary.  As a high school teacher I was forced to go way above and beyond in my energy expense to keep students on task.  I didn’t mind doing it but I would have been nice had they been more ready for the seriousness of the venture.

Not only are students at the younger level given too much work, they are also far too programmed.  The Koerners had a rule that you were allowed only one major thing, like soccer, per time period.  It is very important for the entire educational program that students have a chance to chill out and enjoy life.  They need the time to sit in the dirt, like my granddaughter and let the granules filter through her fingers.  They need to walk around their neighborhoods and touch things, look at them, do some safe experimentation with their surroundings.  Too often, this doesn’t happen.  We wonder why there are so many stresses on our youth, we wonder why obesity is an issue.  Perhaps I am being too simplistic, but it seems to me that they just never get the time as youngsters to “smell the roses.”

Today Samantha and I had another Brio train day.  The Brio train was bought bit by bit when my oldest son was a child.  The train set is thus over twenty-five years old at this time.  It was stored in my infamous carpeted crawlspace and recently retrieved.  Samantha, who is not yet two, speaks French and English, and knows how to put the train track together and enjoy it.  Life is good!  We are already on the road to being well-adjusted!


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