Stop Teaching My Kid to Hate School

Rant 16

first day of schoolIf I had a nickel for every idiot adult who has asked my kid if she's bummed that school is about to start, I'd have enough money to buy a big, fat roll of duct tape to slap across their mouths. Consider this my memo to the world: it's time to stop telling kids that school sucks. Isn't it bad enough that they'll come to that conclusion themselves one day?

My daughter starts the second grade this week, and as I write this, she's still a backpack wearing member of the "I love school" team. She has her new shoes picked out, her new lunchbag on the kitchen counter, and after a chance run-in with the elementary art teacher a week ago, she's jazzed about all her teachers.

It hasn't been easy. 

I'll admit I have to give school mixed reviews. My 12 years in the public school system weren't the worst ever, but I won't say I actually enjoyed every moment from kindergarten through the 12th grade either. I genuinely love learning. I love cracking open a new book and diving in.

On the other hand, I was a brainiac, a chunky girl with a big mouth and -- from fifth grade through tenth -- large-rimmed, totally unflattering glasses. I was a bullying victim with an eating disorder. Oh, and I am a night owl who struggles even now to get up in the morning. How fond do you really think I could have been of school?

But my 7-year-old knows none of this. I have never wanted her impressions of school to be colored by my jaded memories.

We have our fair share of awful mornings (really, if you haven't threatened to send them to school in their pajamas at least once over a refusal to get dressed, can you really say you're parenting?). But she's still the "pleasure to have in class" kid, the kid who could have spent two hours debating the merits of each particular colored folder on the back-to-school shopping trip.

She doesn't hate it ... yet.

So all the other adults who like to throw their own two cents about school into the mix are getting on my nerves: "Ooh, so you start school on Thursday, back to getting up eaaaaarly!" and "Aren't you going to miss playing all day?" and "Aww man, no more summer vacation?"

My kid isn't an idiot. She knows what these people are getting at. Summer vacation = good. School = bad.

What she doesn't understand is why.

Why is it bad that she gets to wear new sneakers and learn the multiplication tables? Why is it bad that she gets to see her friends again and jump beyond chapter books with scattered pictures to chapter books with no pictures? Why would anyone think it's bad to ride a bus when Mrs. N. drives the bus and she is AWESOME? Why are all these adults making her feel bad about being happy about going back to school?

I can only imagine it's because -- like most adults -- they can't remember a time when school was fun, when learning was an adventure, when everyone on the playground was a potential friend. We're all too old and too jaded. But that doesn't mean we have to ruin it for the kids, does it?

Do your kids still love school? Do you encounter the "all kids hate school" attitude?


Image by Jeanne Sager

back to school, education, elementary school


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Evaly... EvalynCarnate

My kid's in first grade and she loves it. The bus ride, the classroom, and even her homework (most of the time). I really hope to nurture this love of learning and I REALLY do not want her knowing how horrible a time I had in my own school days. Perhaps we'll talk about it one day, but for now, we'll keep it all bubbles and sunshine and anyone who tries to stomp on that will feel the mom-wrath.

Alexis Eggleton

I'm a big dork, too, because I keep asking every kid I see (and we all know I see a few) "Are you excited to go back to school?!?!" with a big ol' cheesy grin!

nonmember avatar me

I understand what you're saying, but I don't see it as people trying to be malicious and ruin it for your kid. Maybe they just assume she's like the majority and doesn't like it so much?

mamivon2 mamivon2

My kids are ok.. they dont love it but they dont hate either.. they know they have to go

nonmember avatar Tanya

As a kid, going to school was fun for me too even though it was private school. The smell of new stuff just got me in. I do value education and when I notice certain people saying" school isn't all that important" , I feel like I don't want my kids around them. I am a college student but if I were a parent, I would keep my kids away from school haters.

Barbl... Barblicious

I just think their are A LOT of negative people in the world. I wake up every day with a smile. Sure for me  high school and the last part of elementary sucked but that was puberty and my peers fault not the  education or school to blame. My daughter is nearly 3 and goes to a Montessori child care center, and I never call it day care, I call it school. And she loves going to school, when I pick her up I ask her what she did that day at school. I will always reinforce the positive and smile and laugh... let the miserable people put a sock in it.

And also what about those people that say I AM SO GLAD I HOMESCHOOL. GAWD barf - they need some duct tape too.

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