Monday, July 31, 2006


Wow, who would have thought that having a near-school age child would bring up soooooooo many issues. I have to state for the record that I am not all about pushing my kids for higher education. I know growing up there was that unrealistic expectation to do so. And if you didn't go on to college after high school then you were basically pathetic and a loser. Such shit! And I know it first hand. Most of my teachers from school 'snubbed' me because I didn't finish college. I was never one that knew what I wanted to do. Never. Even now I couldn't say what I would go to college for. But this whole education thing is OVER the top in the States. Look, we all know in America you can't get a job without a high school diploma or having passed the high school equivalency test but even then if you pass it everyone knows you didn't graduate. Furthermore, a degree gets you everywhere. It doesn't matter how good you are at something without a degree, the degree gets you in the door. I've seen it first hand. Education, education, education. That's all I hear about coming from the States.

Now in New Zealand I like the fact there is less stress put on education. I like the fact that someone can go and get some training and start out making $40,000 a year WITHOUT a degree. That just proves that anyone can do it here. Get the right training and you could have a decent job. I like the fact that college is only 3 years long and not 4 until you get a degree. Why bother with stupid menial prerequisites if they don't pertain to your degree???? That's how it works here. You study what is required to earn your degree.

Ok, minus college even grade school is exhausting mentally. Ok, not for me when I went through it. I enjoyed grade school. But folks when I started kindergarten, I didn't know how to write my name, I could probably count to 10 but I only learned to tie my shoes in first grade and we had naps in kindergarten! Now I'm hearing that the Letter People no longer exist in kindergarten. Everything is based on phonics. Ok, fine, I did just fine on the Letter People. They are adding and subtracting. Writing their names and probably doing it in cursive. We didn't learn cursive until I was 10!!! Push push push! Let's cram as much crap into them as we can. Ok, granted we all need to know how to read, write and add and subtract but do we need to know it by the age of 6? Children don't need to be pushed like this. I want my girls to be the best they can be but that doesn't mean making them read mounds of books and take tons of tests every day and night. I used to take up to 2 hours to do my homework at night. I can only imagine what it's like now. New Zealand may be a bit 'behind the times' when it comes to teaching our kids but in all honesty, don't they get there???? I mean, there are New Zealanders working in America with their Kiwi education and they are making it. And why???? Because New Zealand education faltered somewhere???? Being at the top of your game isn't everything. Life is meant to be enjoyed; not to be spent with your nose in a book for the rest of your lives for a few extra bucks and a title!!! It's all about money any more. That's the bottom line. MONEY, MONEY, MONEY! And I'm sorry but I will NOT be pushing my girls to head to college so they can have all the money in the world and still be miserable with their life and their career. JUST SLOOOOOOOOOOW DOWN, PEOPLE!!!

***For the record, I am not dumb. I am not anti-college because I couldn't pass college. I graduated with a 3.8 (highest grade point average is a 4.0) in high school. But many things I didn't get and couldn't apply to my life. I also know that my brother passed the high school equivalency test and now works for a heating and refrigeration place. He makes good money but they also paid for his education in the field. This does happen but you don't see it much any more. Hugh got a wonderful education in his field of work in Germany and he could get a job anywhere with his knowledge. So I don't detest education I just don't feel a need for all the pushing. Believe me, our kids will learn to read, write and add and subtract even if we don't push them to do it by the age of 6!***


Blogger Rachel said...

You're right, Christi. There is all this pressure, and underlying competitiveness between parents when it comes to their kids. Interestingly, with all the letters after my name I still don't earn big bucks - and I'm not too worried, neither. For me, the kids and family life come first. No one ever said on their death-bed: "gee, I wished I put in more hours at the office". As for my boys, I'll encourage them to follow what they're interested in and what they're good at. I reckon that's the best we can do, to guide them, as parents.

7:46 PM  
Blogger nzmommy said...

I totally agree, Rachel. I will be encouraging my girlies in what they want. But I won't be pushing one way or the other, it's just not how I work ;) Completely agree :)

10:00 PM  
Blogger Hannah said...

Wow, did something happen at Kindy yesterday? LOL.

I can see where you are coming from. Although I have to say I'm not that clued up on how things are done at school these days, with regard to homework and so forth. I guess I'll find out in a year or so! But I won't be impressed if my 5-year-old has any more homework than reading a picture book each night!

What I can say is that watching how much Ethan has improved with his name writing since he started Kindy in May is proof to me that he is ready and capable to learn more than he was learning previously. And I wasn't even aware of it! So my hope is that school will always keep him challenged and motivated, if that is what he requires.

I guess my viewpoint is slightly different because I did go to University and I pushed myself all the time while I was at school, college and Uni. To be perfectly honest, I would like my boys to go to University if they want to, but only because I loved it so much and got so much out of it. Having said that, I would never push them to be somewhere they didn't want to be. I guess we all kind of gravitate to where we felt comfortable. For me, I felt comfortable with homework, exams, assignments and deadlines. In fact, I used to set myself projects to do in the school holidays because I missed the work!! I was (am) a geek. So I gravitate towards all that stuff.

I know from marrying a person who was not that good at school and certainly didn't enjoy it, that you don't need to get a tertiary education in NZ to get a good job or to be happy. So hopefully having a real balance of both sides of the equation will help both of us as parents to be accepting of whatever our boys decide to do with their lives, and will help our boys to know that they have options. They can choose what makes them happy, and they will be supported.

7:49 AM  
Blogger Michelle said... a bee in your bonnet now didn't you! LOL

I'm not sure how I really feel about what you've talked about. I loved school and used to cry when I couldn't go. I pushed myself to get good grades and had a 3.8 like you Christi.

I didn't go to college/uni but that was a choice. Again, like you I had no idea what I wanted to do and I still don't. I'm happy just being me.

However, my mom was a teacher from preschool to 6th grade though the last 30 years. So I'm really into education for the kids. I don't like what I have seen of the NZ system. I've watched my step-daughter go through it since she was 5. I'm not impressed she never has any homework and she never reads any books.
I'm constantly amazed at the lack of homework she has. It's high school next year for her so that will be interesting.

We are all encouraging her to do well and go to uni as we don't want her to go the way of her mother. (DPB, sit on your ass, poor me, the govt owes me person)

I will encourage Aidan and Maddie too but I won't be disappointed if they choose a different path.
I just want to make sure I give them the proper tools to live and succeed in the world.

One thing you said though about in NZ that it's nice that a person without a degree can make $40,000. Yes, I do agree that is nice but why is it the bus drivers in Auckland or milk tanker drivers etc...feel they should be making more than my husband? A research scientist with a bachelors in science, a Masters in analytical chemistry, a teaching certificate and is working on getting his Ph.D.

They cannot go and do his job without putting in the years of schooling that he did but he could sure go and do their jobs with a couple months training. Yet they want equal or more pay than him. That just doesn't seem right.

9:12 AM  
Blogger nzmommy said...

Michelle - I don't agree that a bus driver should make more than Brendon. But it comes down to demand. There is more need for bus drivers and milk tank drivers than probably what Brendon does. It's not as simple as walking into a bus depot and then driving a bus. You have to have specific license. So the people who want the job are fine with that but the slackers can't be bothered. So there is still a demand. However, this is why people with higher degrees go overseas, to earn the big money. I think if you work for it then you should be paid appropriately I didn't even touch on that.

Hugh had a job interview in Blenheim back in 2002 and it was a HUGE drop in pay from his job in Warkworth. But they basically said that if you want the lifestyle that Blenheim could offer then you will live with the reduction in pay. I don't agree with this. And obviously he didn't take the job. We would have like him to but we didn't see how we could manage. But I think that's pretty much all over NZ. It wouldn't be so in the States but then you have to weigh up what's better for your family.

10:42 AM  

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