It’s a little like the maxim “Give a man a fish and feed him for a day, but teach a man to fish and you feed him for life.” Teach a child to think, to research, to reason and pretty soon they’ll be teaching themselves!
I like to have fun as much as the rest, and have been known for some pretty zany antics (I rest my case on my affinity with teenagers and young people. Lol!) However, I find more and more a need to “draw the line” about some things. My latest being the encouragement to read/watch horror books/movies given to primary/secondary children by their teachers (and it seems UK national curriculums).
It began when I discovered a slip in my grandson’s bag saying, if his parents didn’t want him to watch the PG movie “A series of unfortunate events” please return the slip signed by tomorrow.
My hackles rose at that, because for sure it should be the other way round. Parents should be asked permission for them to watch, not given a last minute option to opt out – guaranteeing their child a very embarrassing time should they choose to do so.
Waving my “parental rights” banners I asked my younger daughter her opinion on the movie as I hadn’t seen it. She confirmed it was a bit weird and questionable.
My grandson said, “that one’s not so bad,” and proceeded to show me clips from the movie “Correlina” a book on his reading project that some of his friends had begun, then not wanted to read due to the gruesome text and pictures (I must add these two are the class “cool guys” not milksops).
I asked his mum about the book and she said she’d heard and told him not to read it. Seeing the content I was shocked. Why are schools promoting these things? No wonder so many kids turn out weird! My 17 year old granddaughter (who definitely comes under the “cool liberal” category) added that it’s worse in secondary school and 15/16 year olds are frequently shown 18+ horror and due to the curriculum have no choice to opt out.
When my kids were doing Eng. Lit. O levels I questioned why they chose such depressing books, (there’s so much good stuff!) but it seems it’s far worse now. Me, being me, a tactful letter went off to the head yesterday (tact works better than rant lol!) asking an explanation. (I noted she hastily phoned the parents before showing the movie – that point at least went home).
The book I suspect to be on a national reading list, but again, me being me, I’m considering doing some post-Christmas research as to what books are on these lists and maybe starting a few petitions that we choose more edifying material for our kids. Surely we want to give them the very best in put we can?
Not only this but I know from my daughter (who married a Dane and lives there) that social services there not only work, but are administered in a very practical, as well as compassionate way. An example she told me – if you are unemployed social services will give you basic income to live on, but (if you are not disabled etc.) only if you agree you to study a field where more people are needed. This further education is free and linked to your study (stop studying and the income stops). This is a win, win, idea for both parties. Eventually you graduate, get employed and begin to pay taxes. Denmark invests is her most important resource – her people!
Hot, controversial topic!
Having once more seen my mercurial grandson finally manage to fix his boisterous (note the “boy” part!) personality into his official school slot, (as happens every new school year), this caught my eye.
Perhaps I shouldn’t talk about it lest I rant. lol! Being an ex private tutor, homeschooler and even helping start a successful school, I tend to have a lot to say.
Like doctors and vaccines, I made sure my own kids never darkened the halls of a conventional school room. I believe in helping each child find and reach their true potential, that education is for the child not vice verse.
Anyone who feels it’s normal for an active 6-7 year old boy to sit still at a desk for hours evidently never had a 6-7 year old boy! Yet small children love to learn. A fussing baby will frequently stop crying to pay attention when you point and say the name of things. Toddlers will annoyingly ask to watch the same show again and again till they’ve assimilated every word and we all know all about the “why” syndrome. Learning is natural, and kids love it, but school is not (at least not the way it is generally organised).
Perhaps the basic problem stems from the fact that most schools are large institutions run by governments having an agenda to produce a large number of suitably qualified fodder that will fit nicely into the established status quo either as elite (private school fodder) or unknowing servant of the elite (the rest of us).
Of course some unique souls manage to survive the “one size fits all” school factory packaging, becoming artists, inventors, movie stars etc. but they are few and far between. In most, sadly, the flame dies and learning loses its joy.
I speak of course in generalities. My time today is limited by the need to pick up the aforementioned grandson, from the aforementioned institution, and hopefully inspire him to complete his homework so he can successfully jump his SAT hurdles lol! This is a huge subject though. Perhaps you’d like to add your “ten cents”.
(from August 2014
I remember writing laboriously with pen nibs and ink, their pattern of blotches decorating my spidery drawl and blue blotting paper limiting the damage. I remember evenings in the sitting room gathered around the piano before TVs usurped the family hearth, my mother playing as we tried to sing along.
I remember watching as my father guided their waltzing steps round the dance floor amidst a ruffle of organza petticoats, his getting up before us all to light the coal fire, and carving beautiful furniture from wooden egg boxes.
I remember helping my mother pluck chickens and shell peas, her superb baking, and how she made our clothes on the little Singer sewing machine. Life was simpler then still in touch with its roots.
Now food comes ready made in packages, entertainment is available at the touch of a button, and central heating means I can snuggle in bed while…
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“He was born in an obscure hill town in a small Mideastern country. In early childhood his family had to flee as refugees from political injustice and attempted infanticide.
The son of a manual laborer, he showed little promise of greatness. He had no opportunity for higher education as we know it, never learned anything about technology, never even possessed a TV, a computer, cell phone, or I pad. There is no record of him owning a home or even any form of transportation.
In his thirties he was living hand to mouth, wandering from town to town, never going more than 100 miles from where he grew up. Yet his deep and caring love for mankind inspired a small group of others to travel with him to learn more. He often spent his time around social outcasts and the seamier side of society.
For a period of three years he managed to gather some crowds through the use of what some called miracles. But false charges that he associated with suspected terrorist elements seeking to overthrow the government, and accusations that he was claiming to be the king of his own nation resulted in his arrest, torture, and subsequent execution at the behest of some influential enemies.
His friends and associates claimed that the charges were trumped up and that the whole incident had been a conspiracy by top religious and political elements to discredit what they saw as their competition, but none were ever brought to justice for what happened.
His life on this earth ended as it had been lived: focused on giving all that he had in order to rescue others. From a life of obscurity, poverty, and oppression, he showed that the simple truth was greater than the greatest intellect. Through his love and care for the weakest and neediest, he proved that power and wealth were truly weak and worthless unless used for God.
Instead of his death being the end of an obscure life, his subsequent resurrection triggered a kind of uprising in the hearts of men, a revolution of freedom and truth and mercy that the armies of the earth throughout history have been unable to crush, that the superpowers have been powerless to suppress, and that the deceits of greed, malice, and hatred have never been able to silence.
The attempt to stifle his voice by a torturous and brutal death was futile. It has burst out in the voices of those whose lives down through the ages have been transformed by the truth he gave and the spirit he provided and the love he instilled in their hearts. What he gave to those who chose to live the example he set has proven to be greater than all the forces that have tried to prevent it spreading throughout the earth.
The result: All the powers that have tried to sway this world throughout history, all the wealth of nations and influence of kings and queens, czars and emperors, presidents and dictators, and all the revolutions and wars combined have failed to have as great an impact on the lives and hearts of mankind as this one extraordinary life”.
(Adaption of the essay “One Solitary Life” by Dr. James Allan Francis, 1926.)
The wind blows the sails of hope towards the land of dreams.
Small fingers hold the tome aright and linger in its reams.
The story book of unknown realms, of lands beyond the seas,
Lies tilted now upon the lap and rests upon the knees.
The words a blur to untrained eyes, yet pictures show the tales,
Of prince and princess, dragons foe, and dreadful knights in mail.
And as the sleepy eyelids droop and book begins to fall,
A valiant hero dreams his way to enter into all.
(One of my favourite things- to instill in children a love of good literature)
Such simple things, a visit with old friends, warm and loving, old fashioned concern and manners breaching our three generations.
I get to eat delicious home made Indian food along with a lesson in how to make it. Children eager to show their newly learnt dancing skills enlist my help as the audience. I’m taken to see a splendid tent made of sheets and quilts strung precariously from bunk bed to wardrobe. A modeled clay train (with a failed request to put a real fire inside) and paper and felt craft projects delight my senses. Small hands dutifully take water to the pet rabbits and hamsters. The table is set, the dishes washed, by young fingers while mum sits down to talk.
Not an Ipad, phone or TV show disrupts them from their happy creativity. No boredom here, no winge or murmur, just projects and fun, piano and guitar playing, circus acrobatics, badminton in the garden and table tennis on the dining room table and all around smiles. Can they be this good all the time I wonder? I’ve never once seen them naughty, but their parents assure me they have their moments. What then is this wonder of creative harmony? Ah yes, of course – they are home schooled.