Do you remember when school holidays meant time off for our kids….

Hawklad and I received emails from school this morning. The emails set out the times of the upcoming year exams. Straight after the half term week holiday. The emails listed all the areas which each pupil are expected to cover in revision. The revision also includes mandatory online tasks that won’t be marked but will be monitored by teachers. All tasks are expected to be completed. The email stressed that they are expecting pupils to undertake significant work levels over the week off…..

To be fair to school they are only following Government guidelines and instructions. The Government has repeatedly spoken of its desire to increase the length of the school day and reduce the number of school holidays. It believes children have too much time off. They have it too easy…..

Parents will have differing views on this. I think you might be able to guess my take on this. I think it’s all BS…… Making pupils work harder and longer is just a smokescreen for covering up the failings of our current school system. Too many trumped up experts getting jobs as politicians, thinking they know best. It shouldn’t be about the quantity of teaching, it should be about the QUALITY of the education.

Ban politicians from education. Let teachers teach… Let Headmaster run the school. Involve the pupils and parents fully. Reverse the trend to test at every level just to populate government performance league tables. We are even testing 5 year olds for pity sake. If the politicians want to do something useful then they should concentrate on finding the resources to help specialists deal with the growing mental health crisis amongst our children.

And above all. Let children enjoy their childhood.

48 thoughts on “Childhood

    1. Our lovely handed over old note books to recycle from last years school, with such things as Of Mice and Men / Pythagoras’ Theoram… Well, what can you use it for in the real world? To me it makes more sense to learn how to deal with the bank, first aid in a crisis, how to service a car, what plants do well on a chalk soil… Anyways, just my thoughts wandering as per usual on the subject of education and what that means.

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      1. I do recall to mind those evenings as a teen, left alone in the old pile, dogs howling a sorrowful tune, thus feeling the need to “Borrowed” my sisters mark 10 Jag, but maybe I best not do that here (oops that’s me already shared it “Poop poop!”).

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  1. I cannot judge the system in the UK but school was so much more demanding on my kids than when I went to school. I had long school days too (7.30 am – 5 pm up to twice a week or at least until 3 pm) but they asked so much more of the kids. I often saw that the pressure was really tough on them. Then again, when they started their apprenticeships it did not get lighter but only tougher. I have to say that although I often thought this is not right, they are all more than well prepared for the work world and are extremely competitive. However, I agree that I would have wished more time for them for being just kids…

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    1. I agree with your overall point. But, I would like to point out something you might not have considered. As someone who graduated from college only a few years ago, I can tell you that all that work didn’t actually prepare me for the working world. Because of the way school is structured, I struggled to learn what really mattered and what could be put off until another day. And, because I felt that I never had a childhood, I felt the need to make up for that as an adult. The end result was that, towards the end of college, I crammed as much socializing and fun into my schedule as I could while also reading 250 pages of text a night on top of research for various semester-long projects. I didn’t sleep. I barely ate. I lived off of caffeine. I dropped out of several classes because my health couldn’t keep up. I burned out. That wasn’t preparing me for the real world – it was just teaching me that my health and happiness should come last. Competition and over-work rarely are truly productive, especially long-term. “Competitive” people aren’t those who say “yes, sir” every time someone asks something of them. “Competitive” people are those who know when to say stop.

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      1. That is definitely a very important lesson you learned. I am glad you found your way out early enough. As I said, I don’t know the UK system only the Swiss system which I already thought was pretty demanding and challenging. When I look at the business world, everything is happening and developing faster and faster. I am not surprised that burn-out has become a common social disease (been there last year too). At least, it shows us that there is more than striving for a big career, money and possession. What’s the use when you are unhappy and ill, right?

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  2. I would send a letter to my child’s school telling them that my child will not be using his vacation time to study. He’ll be using it as an enrichment time: to grow and expand parts of himself that school doesn’t allow for. And I’d send copies to the head of the school district, post a copy on social media of the school and district and on up the chain. The whole thing is asinine. There’s no reason to put adult expectations on children. Even when I was at a University break time was for taking a break, not studying.

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  3. Can’t have idle minds, you know. Gotta keep them working, working, working. If you let them off a little they will be shirking, shirking, shirking.

    I wonder what those politicians got up to on their school vacations that they don’t want to let kids get up to now?

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  4. I totally agree with you on everything you’ve said in this post! I deliberately chose a very liberal private primary school for my daughter, where there were no exams and barely any homework. They wanted the kids to enjoy their childhood. Sadly when my marriage ended, the ex refused to pay for the school any more. He said that kids need discipline. You can see why we split up.

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  5. Oh, I know! I didn’t know that the state tests started today and sent poor D off unawares. Thankfully he came home and said they weren’t that bad and that he got TWO recesses today and what a good day that is! So, I hate the tests, but if he comes home like this then okay. I could care less what his grades are on them too. Who cares.

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  6. Such lunacy. Youth are experiencing a mental wellbeing crisis on top of this pandemic. The thing we need more of now is less stress and more empathy. Very shameful.

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  7. I 100% agree. I’m just in my mid-20s and, growing up, my school work was so difficult that my parents couldn’t even help me with my homework past junior high school. And, during breaks, my teachers would assign MORE work than usual. To this day, I don’t like Thanksgiving (I’m American) because it was always associated with stress. There was the extra work, plus the expectation I would spend most of my time with family, and a decent amount of time eaten up by air travel. I dreaded and still dread the holiday. I can’t even imagine how much worse it is now. Also, I highly recommend the song “Don’t Stay in School” by the Youtuber Boyinaband. It’s a few years old now, but its popularity did inspire a school to modify its daily schedule and curriculum to better accommodate the students’ needs.

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  8. Things change, of course, and on has to adapt but I thought the old (ancient now) school system worked well. Now, because society has got itself into such a cocked up mess, politicians want to be able to blame someone, or something and what do you know, it must b the education system that is lacking. Ballocks. They should be looking elsewhere and allowing teachers to teach, not fill quotas.

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