Saturday, 4 October 2014

wasting childhood...

My son and I were talking about school today...
He feels so frustrated with it... "Why do I have to go to school?"
I answer so that he can learn many things so that he can choose easier what he wants to be later in his life... he gets to experience many different things...

He looks at me... "but what is the point of wasting my childhood - its another 10 years before I am an adult"
My teenager daughters (excelling in school) aslo felt the same...

He carries on moaning about what is the point of having to sit all day and watch the teachers tell them what to know... what is the point of learning with others when they tell you all the time "you are doing it wrong" ... and it turns out that "I am not doing it wrong, I am just doing it another way"...

"Why do I have to do homework... I don't want to do school in my home... I want to relax then, I want to play"

As a parent these are hard things to swallow... partly because I see that this way of schooling is not a way that helps him thrive...
and also because it is not a way I agree with either...  I chose NOT to work in schools because I don't like the rigid way (even though there are many creative teachers) you have to stick to a curriculum that is one size fits all.

Here in Sweden it is illegal to home-school. I HAVE to send my son to school... to a system that does not teach the way he learns... to a system that expects you to behave in a certain way for the learning to be transmitted...
not a place for learning to be learned/explored/discovered... but one where the children are filled... read these pages from this history book, do your math this way (a completely different way from my childhood... which means there IS more than one way to do math!!!!!), follow the weekly schedule, eat lunch at this time (thankfully no longer 10:30 like it was last year), have a break at this time, and for this length of time...

I understand for a large school that all of this is necessary, at least in the way the schoolsystem works now... I also know that my son has wonderful teachers that are doing their very best for him and his classmates (who he naturally disturbs in his attempt of school/learning revolution). But I also realise that in their attempts to create the learning peace others need, they are also lowering my son's self-esteem... so how can the needs of all these children be met?
Because it is not working right now.... and my heart aches. He does his best everyday... and it is not enough... it will probably never be enough... BUT the peoblem is he is probably not seen as doing his best... I mean attempting to not call out and take space in the class is hard if that is exactly what you need for learning. The larger the class the less space others have then...

I see this with my preschoolers.... on the days when about half of the group is away there is a different kind of harmony... the children are seen more individually... which is not strange... no matter how great a teacher you are - giving individual attention to 3 children is much easier than to six children... and in a group of 12, even though we have a 1:6 ratio (excluding the support teacher) it does not mean that exactly six children will be vying for the attention of an adult... all 12 could be trying to do that at certain points of the day...
So, smaller groups means that the children have less peers to compete with to get the adult attention they need...
And yes, we strive for the children to be independant, to not need us... but it is very clear that we are important to them... I remember vividly as a child how incredibly special I felt when I got one to one attention from my teacher... or when parents joined in our games/play... I could see as a child how adults hold a power and if they talk to us then they are sharing that power with us... I felt empowered by being with adults... validated that they were interested in what I had to say and do...




As usual, my thoughts have roamed from one things to another...

Enough ramblings for the day... time to popthe cinnamon buns in the oven - its Cinnamon Bun Day here in Sweden, and my children and I have had a day baking together... a different kind of learning...

1 comment:

  1. I didn't know that homeschooling is illegal in Sweden. Having the freedom to give my daughter the freedom to learn at home and in the world at ages 10-12 was crucial. I'm glad that people in my state worked to make this a choice for parents. I wonder how the thinkers in Reggio Emilia could help us balance this idea of government forcing schooling versus choice in how families can provide the education and life they want for their children.

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