School vs Education

I’m beginning to wonder if what is happening at schools nowadays is education, or ‘just passing the time’. My 7yr old charge is in Grade 2. Yet again, their theme is ‘My Family’. It’s been ‘My Family’ since her first day at school as a teeny tiny toddler. Surely she would know her family by now? Yes I know that you can add on to it, but come on, there are SO many more interesting themes out there to choose from! But I suppose given the meager budgets and salaries, it makes sense to recycle old material from the year before even if it is outdated and boring.

And then I start to wonder about the teachers and management themselves. Having been a teacher in several different schools, I know that you get good and not-so-good and some downright awful teachers and management staff. T management can really make or break a school. For example by totally outlawing technology in an Intermediate Phase class by saying it’s ‘bad’ doesn’t bode too well when you’re trying to teach children who are growing up with technology changing before their very eyes.

This made me think about what I want my child (and hopefully in the future, children) learn. By all means their ABC’s and numbers and what a neuron and a molecule are and the history of our country and how it has become what it is today, but also a LOT more.

I want them to be able to grow their own food; to make a stock and a soup and be able to read and understand a recipe to make pretty much whatever they want from scratch; to treat illnesses themselves from locally and easily available herbs and spices and household things; to be able to sew even if it is only a hem and button; to use their imaginations; to design and make something that they need; to catch a scale a fish; to take good photographs; to care for others; to manage money; to appreciate the little things in life…I could go on and on. Most of this you cannot do in traditional schools anymore. No longer do they teach woodworking and home-economics in primary schools. No longer do children get to be a part of daily life.

there’s the early morning rush trying to get children fed and off to school with everything they need, then most parents go to work, then it’s the after school rush of activities and appointments and homework before rushing through a dinner meal and evening ritual of bath and into bed. How often do your children cook WITH you? And by with you I mean actually being a part of the process,not watching? How often do your children just get to let loose and explore and experiment?

I’m not so sure that what we’re getting in our schools at the moment is an education, or at least, not an education that will stand up to everything the real world throws at us.

I love watching what my daughter gets up to during the day. I think my next few posts will be about what she gets up to, what she’s learning and why I think it’s so important. And of course to brag 🙂