Thursday, June 16, 2011

My Toddler Is Failing Driver's Ed

Yes, this is over-the-top satire:

Armed with the DVD's, flash cards and workbooks from Your Baby Can Drive, I begin the daily lessons.  Brenna fails at first, placing the laminated cards in her mouth and saying "vroom, vroom" with the model cars.  I scold her for not listening and tell her that her next "step" will be an hour of detention.

Christy thinks this is a bad idea.  She says that Brenna isn't developmentally ready to learn how to drive. I think she's making excuses.  Low standards.  Do tiger moms allow excuses?  Does Harvard take notes about being developmentally appropriate?  Not so much.  I want a child who will be competitive in a global economy.  I read recently that in parts of southeast Asia, children not only drive cars, but work in the industrial sector. Some of them are even getting married in their early teens.  How can we possibly win a race to the top when their children have such a head start?

I'm concerned about Brenna.  According to the curriculum map, she should have a firm grasp of red, yellow and green.  However, when we gave her the keys to the car, she ran through three red lights, stopped on a green and played with the turn signal stick.  How will she ever learn if she spends her time laughing and playing with the dashboard gadgets?

Maybe she needs Ritalin.

Feeling a little dejected, I park the dented up Scion and sit down with the flashcards.  Apparently she still thinks they're edible.  So, I move back to direct instruction.  Halfway through the lecture on limited liability insurance, she interrupts me with, "I poop."  I tell her, kindly, that bowel movements are no excuse for abandoning her education.  She then says, "Daddy love you," and I remind her that no amount of flattery will change my mind.

Maybe she needs more accountability.

Christy tells me again that I need to let Brenna mature.  She says that the point of education isn't simply preparing children for the future, but also meeting them in the now.  My wife is clueless.  She doesn't even have a degree in education.  So, I bust out the projector and share the PowerPoint slides with the graphs comparing Brenna's driver's ed progress to the national norm.  I remind Christy that we will do "whatever it takes" (including, perhaps, mild shock therapy) and that we will not allow our child to be left behind (I place heavy emphasis on this Apocalyptic language).

But, alas, my wife takes our daughter to the living room and lets her play with blocks.  I try to rationalize this by thinking that perhaps it's some sort of experimental STEM program, but Christy refuses to let me create a rubric for her design projects.

Bottom line: Don't blame me if my daughter grows up to be a failure.