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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

WTH is this school thinking?

Of all the after school programs or activities a school could offer the kids, why in the hell would they offer a freaking gaming club?  Now correct me if I am wrong, but isn’t the big push in the school systems now ending bullying and getting kids away from sitting in front of gaming stations, computers, and TV’s – electronics for short and getting them physically active?  If so, then can someone please explain to me why in the world did my boys come home from school with permissions slips to join a Minecraft after school gaming club being held at the school in the computer lab?
From the Minecraft website: “Minecraft is a game about breaking and placing blocks. At first, people built structures to protect against nocturnal monsters, but as the game grew players worked together to create wonderful, imaginative things. It can also be about adventuring with friends or watching the sun rise over a blocky ocean. It’s pretty. Brave players battle terrible things in The Nether, which is more scary than pretty. You can also visit a land of mushrooms if it sounds more like your cup of tea.”

Now, to me this computer game seems to be very similar to what we used to do as kids in real life and not on some damn computer screen, - build forts –battle monsters - and whatnot – you know – get off your butt and actually move and use our own imagination.  Now, instead of encouraging our children to think creatively on their own accord, we have computer programs that do the suggestions and keep them inactive.  What happened to the "Get Your Kid ASS Off the Couch Campaign"?
My second bitch about all this is – the “club” gets out at 4:30 PM.  So I pick my kids up who would typically be home an hour earlier than that, get them home, settled, after school snack which is now cutting close into supper time, settled and start on homework – Ooops.. wait boys – move your books – it’s time to eat now – then they do their homework and guess what – it’s dark out now.. no time left for anything outside to keep them mobile..Go take your showers and take your booties to bed.  And who gets the backlash because there was no time left in their day to play?  Why it would be me of course.
And my third bitch about this club is it is not something ALL kids could join.  The kids have to buy the game to be a part of the club (but of course they have in there that they can play other video games if they can’t afford Minecraft but that automatically singles those kids out from the rest of the kids that do have the game).  It is bad enough that there are already cliques in the school, so sure – why not create yet another gap.  This area has a large population of low income households - even though our town as a whole is populated by enough wealthy households to definitely see the great divide in the schools.  However, the wealthy are wealthy and the poor are pay check to paycheck and the middle class - well not too many of those around here.  So when it comes to after school clubs that require a monetary expense and then a child being picked up (hard, for families that are already working two jobs just to make ends meet) it is just one more thing they know they will not be able to do.
My fourth and final bitch and my BIGGEST BITCH of them all is - of all the types of after school clubs the that a bunch of educated educators could think up to keep kids interested in learning is a video game club?  Really?  That's the best they could come up with?  If so, that is scary on its own!  Why not a cooking club, a book club, a craft club, I could come up with hundreds that would benefit our youth far more than a freaking video game club!  Needless to say my boys will not be attending.  I am thankful I have two who do have some common sense.  When we sat to discuss why I did not feel the club was a good idea they agreed with me.  Mind you, both my boys love themselves some video games, but they also know there is more to life than video games, know how to use their imagination, and are not afraid to go outside and play.

I am not saying that this game is bad by any means... I am sure it has some good qualities to it - I am just saying I feel our school system is sending mixed messages and doing a disservice to our youth.  I guess the bottom line is that it is the parent's choice in the end, this parent says "No can do boys.  Sorry!"
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