This week, government schools started term 2 after a brief (and, to me, pointless) 5 day break.Now, we don’t usually take holidays per se. We prefer to take down time as and when we need it throughout the year, maintaining a very flexible schedule. So we didn’t “go back” to school this week because a) we don’t exactly “school, and b) we didn’t take a break.
That’s by way of preamble.
Yesterday I had a text message from someone checking how our “first day back” was, and how the girls are “performing” at “school”.
That’s when it really clicked for me.
They’re not performing. They’re not circus monkeys. They have nothing to prove. If anyone ought to be “performing”, ir should be me. It’s up to me to do an incredible job, and engage and inspire them so much, that they learn. That’s their job. Learning. Not proving what they know. Not meeting some arbitrary, predefined standard, Simply: acquiring the joy of discovery.
A lot of my friends’ kids had great report cards last term. It’s not that difficult to do, nowadays, with the very low standards by which the children are measured in public schools. Social media channels were full, all week, with proclamations of how well people’s children are doing at school. Now, I’m all for achievement, I like measurable, achievable goals, and I think incentives that drive ambition and performance are excellent.
But I wonder if learning is the right place for these things. I would like to offer the view that it really, really is not the right place. Learning should be about the joy of discovery, not the fear of failure.
Let me say that again, because it’s the key underpinning factor of my philosophy of home education:
Learning should be about the joy of discovery, not the fear of failure.