Thursday, 13 October 2016

Eight Things I don't get about School

Eight Things I Don't Get as a Home Educator...about school

1) Pen Licenses.

Say what?I truly had not heard of this until it was mentioned by a parent asking about it in a Home Education group. Apparently you have to "earn" a pen license and it can be revoked and you go back to a pencil. Not only is this shame culture at it highest but some kids are never taught how to use a pen properly. I also do not understand why the pressure to write is more important than having something interesting to say. In the world where everyone types, cursive and writing is a pleasure for journals and notebooks but it isn't something most kids will ever need when they leave school.
Learning is about mistakes. I learned how to write cursive and I wrote with pens at a young age. The big leap when I was in school was from ball-points to fountain pens (that always leaked). How we write cursive is a direct result of how ink pens work. I got ink all over my fingers, on my shirt sometimes but it was part of "school". Unless you write with ink many parts of cursive just seem odd.

2) Behaviour Charts- Punishments for not sitting still.

Kids fidget. Good kids, difficult kids, young and older. Stillness is something that children and even some adults are not designed for. Of course mindfulness and meditation help kids enormously, but we are not talking about that. We are talking about punishing kids, sometimes very young ones, for not being able to sit still. When a child gets restless, they as displaying their hard-wired physical NEED to play. This need is shamed and punished publicly which then leads to the shame defence called disengagement. You are send the message that THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG WITH YOU to kids all day every day, for their biological need to play.
Gillian Lynne also struggled at school with fidgeting and was taken to see a doctor. He and her mother left the room leaving the radio on. On seeing her dancing, the doctor told her mother to send her to a dance school. That there was nothing wrong with her, she was a dancer. She went on to have a long and amazing career in even being awarded a DBE (Dame Commander of the British Empire).
Imagine how Gillian would fare today? 

3) Uniforms

There is a running joke about the unofficial uniform of Home Educator is pj's. There is some truth in that. The dress codes for school seem to get weirder and weirder and are seemingly used to make small teachers feel very important. Uniforms are often expensive and even change over the time a kid is at school. (I think my mum had to buy three different sets of uniforms).Uniform is "supposed" to be an equaliser, but often it isn't. The colour of someone's socks is not an indicator of their ability to learn. Let's talk about P.E kit here also. Girls and boys PE uniforms are often completely inappropriate for the sports they are doing and the weather they are doing it in. This is not okay! Uniform over the well-being of children is idiotic. Tiny skirts and thin t-shirts while running around in the cold and wet is not fortifying it's awful.

4) Sitting for hours

If someone asked me to sit in a chair for two hours now without moving or fidgeting I think I would struggle. Especially in uncomfortable and often sweaty plastic chairs. I think most adults would. We'd want to get a drink, stretch our legs and shuffle to get circulation back into our backsides. It is not a normal situation even if you are used to sitting all day to do so without break or movement.
There are loads of studies that show sitting for protracted amounts of time is pretty awful for your health. Yet siting for hours is still standard school practice.

5) Not being allowed to pee

When I was at school I would deliberately drink less so I wouldn't have to use the toilets. The toilets were terrifying places that stank. Many toilets were locked and while girls tended to have less of a hard time leaving in classtime we still got quizzed and scolded. As someone with a kidney disease I look back in horror. The damage this does to your body is horrific. You need to pee between six and ten times a day. NEED. Breaks get smaller and smaller, you can't be late for classes, and get punished for your biology. In this regard it is more like prison than somewhere you learn.

6) Bans on strange foods/toys/slang

From sweets and crisps, to outside food at all; to toys, and slang and even noises schools ban some weird things. Prohibition doesn't work.

7) Electronic tagging

I'm not sure I even need to comment on this. I was a model student but had someone monitored me they would have seen I used the visitors loos (which were out of bounds) and sat in a "locked" drama hall to meditate most lunch times. I wasn't naughty I just like a clean safe loo and a quiet place to be. Prisons tag and monitor. The ONLY way this would be cool to me is they went off ONLY when someone left the school during the school time. (That said I often went to a my best friends house for lunch during our exams).

8) Touching (physical contact with other kids at all).

Touch is important. It helps us find our boundaries, bond and connect. It can also be used to harm, but in general physical contact is good and necessary. 
Threatening or aggressive behaviour is threatening and aggressive with or without touch. Sexual behaviour, is sexual with or without touch.
This is monstrously de-humanising and stops kids finding their own boundaries and learning where other people's are. It makes no sense to me.

I am sure there are many more things that I "don't get" and you probably have some of your own. Feel free to add your own!

Home education is too important to take seriously.

No comments:

Post a Comment