Saturday, March 24, 2007


We've joined the Irish Home Education Network, and I was sitting on the sofa today reading an article in the newsletter that was making me unexpectedly rageous about the idiocies of mainstream schooling.1 I came to the end of the article, and N. caught my eye and raised an eyebrow, and I said, "So, school, yeah? It's all bad."

Whereupon the Oyster, who is two and seven months, exclaimed, "School is not all bad!"

Radzer: OK, no, it's not all bad, all the time, but I don't like school.
Oyster: Mama doesn't like school. N. likes school.
Radzer: No, N. doesn't like school either.
Oyster: He does.
Radzer: N., do you like school?
N. (who happens to be the most equivocal person in the history of humankind; expecting him to make a definitive statement - much less a condemnation - is a non-starter): Hmmm. Well, I'd have to say that, on the whole, I find myself unable to enjoy a positive relationship with it in all its aspects.
Radzer: That means he doesn't like school.
Oyster: Tell a story about O. was on the school bus with all the other children, and Eddie was driving it!

So I did.

I wouldn't mind,2 only this is a boy who watches next to no TV, and whose pro-school book collection is (as far as I know - there have been a few grandmother imports recently) limited to I Am Too Absolutely Small for School (featuring Charlie and Lola), which makes me gnash somewhat because it's about the older male teaching the younger female that she's All Wrong, so I don't read it much.

And yet somehow, the propaganda has found a way in. Already. Sigh.

1 It was about a trip by a group of home-educated children to an exhibition called "Planet Aqua", where the staff spiel was clearly designed to disguise the educational material so that the children would learn something in spite of themselves, and about how this view - that you need to trick children if you want them to learn - is endemic and unquestioned in our society. Full of anecdotes about people saying "X is great - they don't even realise it's educational". Nothing startling or new, but it pushed my buttons in a big way.
2 Lie.


ms bias said...

Does this mean that you're 100% committed to home-schooling then, with no possibility that O will go to school? Because otherwise, it seems like that's kind of a dangerous conversation to be having, just in case he does end up going to a school and understands that he's being sent to a Very Bad Place.

That's kind of what I meant when I asked you the other week about how much he understands when adults talk in front of him, and whether you're trying to be careful about how you talk about school with him.

ms bias said...

Aargh - did that sound mega-critical? I didn't mean it to be, sorry! I'm just interested in how you're handling that.

Barry said...

Are you sure it's propaganda? Maybe he's excited about the adventure that school entails? That's what I was like at his age. Thrilled beyond belief at the thought of all the new people and activities. It had its downsides, in the end, but since I was a sociable child, it was also very fulfilling. Which seems like a weird word to use about a 5 year old. But it was.

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