Do schools matter (video)?
This blog post is by Nicola Baird sharing ideas about thrifty, creative and eco-friendly ways to raise children. This post asks if we are giving our kids the right education (rather than asking what school they are going to). For more info about my book Homemade Kids, with lots of ideas about parenting, click here. Read on, or just click the cartoon video link above (it’s 11 minutes).
Do schools matter? Well, yes, yes, yes they do and not just for your child. You need good tracking of every child’s progress, good teaching, good staff management – and good results. Or do you? That’s what the astute (and funny) 11 minute film attached by clever Sir Ken (see link above) looks at via words and cartoon.
Students are meant to be safe at school (and when they are young it really is childcare).
They are also meant to make progress in every single lesson, an impressive challenge for anyone with a large class of students, especially on a Friday afternoon. Oh yes, and get certificates and higher grades each year, and go to uni and get a job. Hang on, is that possible? Is it 21st century reality?
I’ve been constantly surprised by the ways people react to knowing that I took my girls out of school last summer so we could homeschool as we travelled. People are shocked. But the girls (then 12 and 10) learnt so much – a new language, and the size of the world. They stayed on a volcano, swum in a sea full of things that were quite interested in eating them (a new twist to the food chain), they met loads of people and learnt to talk and listen to a range of views. Instead of music practice they learnt to cook fish, build stone ovens and keep the right end of a kangaroo. I’m convinced they could have had a similarly challenging and creative time had we just stayed home but not used school bells for eductation… But they’re back in school now, and they like it.
I guess the problem is that lots of adults still think education is done at desks. Robinson in the video above is far blunter: he says we’re using an old style of education and treating our growing children as if they were in a factory, batched up in birth year groups.
Given that most of us are either not blessed with teaching skills (find out more about how to facilitate good learning at education otherwise which helps people homeschooling), or patience, or the time to home educate, the answer has been to give our children the best education we can find. It is just such a shame that so many families still think it’s worth buying education at Britain’s fiendishly expensive private schools. Surely every child deserves the best education, which is why what the state offers has to be fabulous.
Read all about it
If you are interested in some of the UK top tales about education there are some fascinating books that help parents understand more about the big picture – rather than just what school will suit Pollyanna (or Lola or Nell for that matter). Try:
Melissa Benn’s School Wars: the battle for Britain’s education (Verso, £10.99). She’s so committed to comprehensive education that she set up Local Schools Network to support local schools and counter media misinformation.
The funniest novel has to be May Contain Nuts by John O’Farrell where a pushy south London mum takes her family on a rollercoaster educational journey. Consider yourself gently mocked by O’Farrell!
Now blog readers, get on with that reading list, the test is next week… And no peaking at the answer(s) in the back of the book.
Over to you
Is there anything that made you think differently about what you want your children to get out of school? If so, please share.