Jul 28, 2018

Staying at the curve when the hammer is nailing you down.

Staying at the curve when the hammer is nailing you down. photo

Even my girls feel like they are being given homework just for the sake of homework. In my younger daughter’s case, this is true. She knows the material. It is just mindless repetition. And my oldest, she still doesn't understand what she is doing, so again mindless repetition. She needs more help understanding different ways to do the same thing so that she can apply her way of thinking about the problem. But during summer there isn’t a teacher to help her comprehend what she is doing. This means any of the homework she does is incorrect and that is how she memorizes it. That is where self-study comes in.  When my daughter didn't understand how to do long division, my husband and I took it upon ourselves to help her out. But I am American and my husband was raised in Brazil. We all had different ways to approach the problem on long division. This turned out great for my daughter because she could break it down in several different ways until she understood it and why it worked that way. It apparently wasn't good for her teacher because she wasn't supposed to learn certain aspects of long division yet. That wasn't until the next year so we shouldn't teach her that. This blew my mind that I should stunt her learning just for the sake of hammering the nail down. All Japanese kids should be on the same page, no one coming out ahead. but what happens to those kids who are falling behind. The laggards stuck behind and sometimes this even means smashing the other kids in the class back until they don't know just as much as the slower ones. Gotta keep them at the same pace right? This became even more apparent to me when my girls went to look for books with me at the local library. They told me about how when they are in the younger grades, they are not allowed to check out books above their level. First and second graders can not borrow books meant for third graders. They mustn't be moving faster than their peers. The local librarian refused to lend out a book today because the girl requesting it was in third grade and it was a fourth-year book. As a child, I would have been so discouraged from reading if I had been delegated to stay in my year. It is a strange thing to hold a child back from learning when you are supposed to be encouraging them. I understand why many of the middle school children I taught had already given up on their studies. 

Staying at the curve when the hammer is nailing you down. photo



American step mom with beautiful Brazilian babies. Raising them in Japan. I'm a crafter too


  • helloalissa

    on Jul 28

    One thing that surprised me was that kids will graduate from junior high without even going to school / if they fail every class (not without some pestering of course). How are they supposed to be motivated at school? The reading level thing is something I didn't know about. It must be something to do with learning kanji in order? Doesn't make sense to me either.

  • edthethe

    on Jul 31

    @helloalissa There was one kid who graduated from the middle school I taught and I had never seen him until the day before graduation. He still graduated. It makes it harder to motivate my own girls because they know it doesn't matter how they perform.