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Can Kids Get Too Much School?

Mar 21, 2008
When my mother got a promotion at her job, she had new office hours that lasted much longer than my school day. I heard my parents talking about how to handle this problem. They found the solution in an educational after-school program.

Putting us in an after-school program meant that sister and I had to go directly from one class to another after the school day ended. The programs promotional materials said it would use fun activities and innovative teaching methods to make the best use of the time. I thought that meant that a teacher would provide homework, and we would copy it.

This is exactly what happened most of the time, but we did not tell our parents that there were no fun or innovative approaches at the program. It would not have helped, and they would just move us to a class that would actually make us DO some homework.

I was mostly bored in the classes. I did not want to spend a whole afternoon with the same books I had been seeing all day in school. I was a child, though, and I did not have any choice about it. It would have been hard to say anything anyway, since all the adults were always telling me that my mothers salary increase would allow the family to buy a great big new TV or video game.

One day, my sister decided to make some wave. She had had enough studying, and she just refused to go to the after-school program. My parents finally got the idea that something was wrong, and shortly after her rebellion, the put us in a much better educational after-school program. This one was brighter and more fun somehow.

They offered us interesting games and actually had a computer we could use. Each one of us had the chance to do something on the PC. We also managed to finish our homework really fast, even though it had to be completed by us alone, because once we had finished, we could play. The program offered acting classes, painting, games, and speech. We spent hours painting and laughing at silly jokes. The after-school program really became the highlight of our day, and I began to look forward to going there.

Now, when I need to get a job and leave my children in a safe place until I return, I know how important finding a really good after-school program can be. Ironically, I will be the one looking for an educational after-school program, and it will be one that offers fun in addition to educational activities.
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