Cars and Cram Schools.

Cars first, we got the call, it’ll be here on Friday, I now have five working days to find new homes for all the crap that lives in the incumbent vehicle. I also don’t want to put any petrol in it, just eek out whats left, so won’t be straying far this week.

Crams Schools! Obviously each to his own. What other people choose to do with their kids isn’t any of my business, but The Man and I are really against juku for OUR kids, especially the younger ones. There was a time when all kids went to juku from JHS age, but now they go younger and younger, lots of my kids’ classmates go to juku now and have been going since 1st or 2nd grade.

Come 8th/9th grade, if the chicklet has his/her precious, little heart set on a certain PUBLIC/STATE High school, that their JHS is not preparing them for, then we’d let them go. Sunshine went from halfway through 8th grade, after her JHS teacher told me they are not even pretending to prepare these kids for the public school exam.
Private school not being an option financially, they need to get into a decent public school otherwise they’ll end up at the bottom of the heap with all the glue sniffers.

Thing is, and here’s the thing, we are not huge fans of the current public education system, kids are required to remember lots of info that they can then spew forth for tests. Not a lot of thinking for themselves going on, not really an atmosphere that encourages curiosity and wonder, questioning or experiential learning, not a situation unique to Japan I know, but as we’re not enamoured with this any way, it doesn’t make much sense to pay out good money for more of the same.
If we could find something different we would throw all the cash we had it, as we tried to do with the Steiner school, which unfortunately just didn’t work out for us.

I think there are maybe some great jukus out there. My friend’s daughter had some difficulty in some school subjects and she found a very small juku that really helped her with a lot of moreorless one on one tuition, but this is not usually the case.

I have heard about some places where the seats are ranked according to test scores, the child who gets the highest marks goes into seat A, right at the front, first chair, front row, no prizes for guessing where the kid with the lowest score goes, so the kids are constantly made aware of their ranking within the class.
Now, were these students University students, hoping for outstanding results to help them secure shit hot jobs and a life of plenty, fine, knock yourselves out, but these tactics are used on kids from age 7. ( I have heard about places where they do this with pre-schoolers too but I don’t know anyone who has done that so cannot confirm).

Then maybe the juku has a ‘skiing’ trip. So the parents pay for all this fun and frolick, why would they not, it’ll be a blast right?
Well first,before the blasting can begin, when they get to the ski place, they have lessons.
At the end of the lesson is a test, you don’t ski until you get a perfect score on the test and if that takes until midnight so be it.
I kid you not, I KNOW, personally ,know people who have sent their kids to these things.

A friend of Kev’s goes, she’ll sit an entrance exam to private school next March. she goes to juku after school until 9pm five nights a week and all day Saturday, and can be called in for extra on Sunday if scores are not up to snuff. In the summer hols, she will get 5 days off for the national ‘Bon’ holiday and that’s it, that’s how she’ll spend her final summer of grade school.

These days so many families have just one child to spend their income on, they want the best for their kids, who doesn’t? But I think the kids are losing out, the parents are gambling their kid’s childhood against an unknown future. Let ’em go outside and catch bugs says I.
There’ll be time a plenty for exam pressure and cramming later.

So, that’s my arugument against juku. Kevin, though you have now asked me 597 times, the answer is still ‘NO’.
Go catch bugs!

There is more but it’ll put me in a bad mood for the day and I want to stay upbeat cos the cats are going for the snip this morning and they need me to stay positive.

2 thoughts on “Cars and Cram Schools.

  1. Oh. My. God. That whole system sounds grotesque. Utterly soul destroying and stultifying. One day, your kids are so going to thank you for your stance now. Good for you.

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