Is Education missing the point, its not what you learn, but the fact you can…

Published On May 8, 2012 » 912 Views» Politics
Let the child explore and learn

Let the child explore and learn (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When people learn we are a home educating family, there are normally a barrage of questions, many of them are common and occasionally we get a new perspective.  What can be quite common is the misconception that it is against the law (it’s not) also that Home Ed kids suffer in their Social Skills (they don’t).  But what got me re-evaluating today was a lunchtime conversation with colleagues and reading an article in Forbes about dangerous things you were taught in school.

The lunch conversation was around learning to love learning, which is something I fully subscribe to.  I am the first to admit I’m not a natural academic, all the learning I have done I have had to work hard at, rather than be naturally gifted at ingesting text books.  But it is easy to put it down to not being a natural academic, but rather than a “Nature” trait, could it be more of a “nurture” trait?  Having been able to critically look at my own experiences, I am really keen that my kids learn to learn, rather than just to regurgitate facts like a performing dog.  Lets face it, if you know how to pick up new information, then it should not really matter what the subject is, the basic skills will be the same.

A big thing at the moment is the Government trying to hammer down on parents taking their kids out of class for two weeks to get a holiday.  Many people seem to think that everything the child learns in class is sacred and you can not miss a single session.  Well I think its time to wake up, it’s not what you learn, but how you learn.  You are not going to miss anything important in a  single break (or nothing you can;t catch up).  There are obvious exceptions to this, GCSE Exam Periods and A Level Exam Periods, but taking a sensible approach, I think there is probably a lot of benefit to having a good family holiday as there is in going to school.  No doubt this will be taken out of all proportion and I will be quoted as advocating truancy at every turn.  This is not the case, real truancy is wrong, mainly because neither the parent or the school are in control or know what is happening.  That is different to parents taking control of their children in a family environment.

The Forbes article lists 9 things we learn at school and one really strikes me as really poignant right now.  We are taught that the person standing at the front knows the answers.  And for me this really chimes with the economic crisis – we all believe that someone knows the right answer in how to get the country to recover, and that is because they have stood up and said so.  However as the latest slip into recession has shown, just because an authority stands up and says something is right, there is nothing to say that they are right at all!

You know when things have gone badly wrong when the Government spout tripe about learning the basics, the 3 R’s.  All children must learn the 3 R’s to get on in life.  Yet the 3 R’s are Reading, Writing and Arithmetic. What hope do your kids have when we can’t even spell our own fundamental principles.  Now I know its supposed to be a clever in-house joke, but seriously, how can it be right at the bottom when

it’s so wrong at the top.  If it were me, I would be selling it more as “Going Back to Basics – RAW education” ( RAW = Reading Arithmetic and Writing).  See that, new slogan and I didn’t charge thousands of pounds and I didn’t need millions of consultants.  In fact, Id let them use it for free!

I love the fact that our kids don’t just take things at face value, and are willing to question everything (Holly does incessantly).  It’s great that they are getting the love of learning rather than just ingesting things verbatim and not understanding what they mean.  I appreciate the fact that they learn through topics that interest them rather than boring crap that is foisted upon them.  I’m not saying that our way is the best way, it works for us, but I do believe that the school system, as it stands, works for the good of the school and the state, our children come a poor third!

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