This is the Hospitium a 14th century listed building in York’s Museum Gardens. These days it’s a venue for conferences, weddings and special events. Many years ago it was a support building for the Abbey.

St Mary’s Abbey was founded in 1088. The surviving ruins date back from about 1270. York is such a good place for kids to actually touch history.

Over Christmas our son spent a few hours here trying to imagine what life was like before it fell into ruin. Recreating the sounds, the people, the buildings, the life. Big scale creative play. I must admit I was lost in the world of dreams to. Mine was a world of ghosts, ghouls and vampires. I had almost forgotten how much fun you can have when you release your imagination.

This was the visit when the first seeds of home schooling started to be scattered. Last term had been grisly. No real sign of development. No evidence of school making any effort to provide an effective and supportive teaching environment. Most importantly a really unhappy and anxious child.

Our son loves subjects like history but not the way school deliver it. He likes the History Teacher, she is really nice. But being in the bottom set and given his encyclopaedic knowledge – he’s not learning anything. Plus regardless of which class you are in the teaching is so traditional. Text book after text book. Very dry and not very dyslexic friendly. Unfortunately it’s the set teaching approach dictated by the government.

Between my thoughts of ghosts and ghouls I also pondered with so much real life history so close to hand, why not bring the classroom here. Bring the lessons alive. That’s when the thought pinged, if school won’t teach here, why don’t I.

We will see.

The trip was completed with the required extra portions of ice cream. That night my imagination had clearly not been put back in its box yet. A dream about Dracula. But not the bloodthirsty vampire. This one was about a reformed Prince of Darkness. He had sold his Transylvanian castle and bought York’s Museum Gardens. He wanted to turn the gardens into the finest history school in the world. All the teachers were ghosts and ghouls. And Dracula was selling the ice creams and he didn’t skimp on the portions. Now that’s a school.

76 thoughts on “School Dracula

  1. Nice! Declan has never been into toys – he has always loved to role play scenes he imagines, and I have always been his playmate. It really is fun to go into their world! I really like your history lesson idea as well! Great job!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes, same – rarely does he “play” anything besides his device while he is jumping or bouncing. He will want to play when we go to his brother or sister’s sporting event and he is bystander. He gets interactions so easily messed up with the kids his age that are there for the same reason and I will still be the one playing dinosaur or nerf gun battles with him.

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  2. Sounds wonderful! In Thailand we met an Australian who was getting together with some ex pats to make a school for the ex pat kids, but a bit different to traditional school with outdoor/forest ed, lots of creativity etc.
    As they say in India Sab kuch milega (everything possible)

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      1. It is what I hope to call my book! In Pushkar in India they have it on t shirts, the hippies like it! The school man said it was a balance, some want the kids to be able to get GCSEs etc, some are hippies or have come to escape the West and want something totally different, and together they are trying to develop something that will please, because if the kids can’t speak Thai they can’t go to the Thai schools. So it’s similar to you in that the provision available didn’t suit and they had to make their own. Have you talked to Education Otherwise, if that still is what they are called, about what there is already in your area home schooling wise? Like you could teach History, someone else teach English, etc. And you then get time to work.
        Good luck, you sound really inspired.
        And have I mentioned crowd funding? There’s people asking for much less worthy causes…..

        Liked by 2 people

  3. You must be an excellent history teacher for your son. You make a very important point about the state regimentation of teaching when you say your son’s history teacher is good with him, but has to teach as she is told to teach. Home schooling is the only way to change the teaching system in his life.

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    1. Probably not. I wrote to our Education Authority but they just responded with how well the county and itโ€™s schools are doing against national targets. As one of his doctors said – in terms of education the government, council, school and teachers clearly donโ€™t care about kids like your son, it stinks…..

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      1. It really stinks. Where I am from they push a focus on differentiated teaching – allowing students to demonstrate learning according to their skill sets – not text book learning. Sadly, many struggle to realize this goal.

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  4. Many people around me are doing home school. The plus side is that they have their kids go on ‘field trips’ together and play like it’s recess. A friend of mine in California also got some funding from the government to pay for supplies for hers.

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  5. Like Scooby Doo and the Ghoul School! Oh wait…that was kinda something different. ๐Ÿ™‚

    But I like the idea of ghosts as teachers. I believe that was even the case in Harry Potter, where the History of Magic teacher was the ghost of the original teacher who died mid-lecture. Something like that. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

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