Holiday rebellion!

...a walk by a river...

…a walk by a river…

Start a rebellion. Take your kids on holiday in term time.

After my little holiday without them, I’m put in mind of all the times we took the kids away – usually only for little inexpensive jaunts – and how educational it was. And it makes me think parents should rebel because it’s as educational being on holiday as it is sitting doing stuff in a classroom.

Not that the schools or politicians would want you to know this. They’d rather keep your kids in schools with heads down taking tests so that they can collate results and put them in statistics and con us that the results show that kids are being well educated so we should vote for them!

They’re not being well educated. They’re just being well tested which doesn’t do a lot for the kids’ education at all.

Of course, it depends on your definition of education.

If your definition of education is to develop in your child the knowledge and skills needed to live a life out in the world beyond school then nothing could be more educative than getting them out and showing them that world.

If your definition of education is one that’s only measured by scores then I guess you won’t get what I’m on about.

Let’s face facts; scores are only scores on paper. Skills and understanding are what’s needed to lead life, not scores.

Going places, seeing different cultures, experiencing a diversity of lives, places, people, ideas, foods, dwellings, projects, conversations, languages, habitats, terrain, environments … these are the experiences that show kids the real world, that develops intellect and gives them a broader view of the world and how they might work within it, more than that just getting scores.

But they have to get scores – or pass exams, I hear you say in panic.

But do they? How many? And how much do they need to be in school to do that?

Most home educated kids spend most of their time engaged in the kinds of experiences described above and a much smaller proportion of their time doing stuff for GCSEs yet still pass them. Some don’t do GCSEs at all and still go on to Uni or work and productive and fulfilled lives.

And what’s even better they seem to understand what they want to do, how to fit what they want within the working world, and are therefore motivated to go for it.

And they find this from simply being out in the world rather than shut away from it. They’ve seen lives and have been educated to lead lives. That’s how it works.

So far from stopping parents taking kids away on holiday – whatever time of year – schools should be actively encouraging it. And stop paying lip service to this ridiculous obsession the government has with scores. And parents need to look beyond scores when they consider schools to whether the kids are happy there – if they’re happy, they’ll be learning.

Take them away as much as you can, there’s so much to see and do and it doesn’t have to cost a lot. A day in a wood, on a beach, on a farm, in a city museum, by a river – most are free – and they learn from the experience.

So I should start a holiday rebellion!

9 thoughts on “Holiday rebellion!

  1. When Will was 4 and a bit (in reception) I told the teacher we were taking him to Venice for the weekend to study the art there so he would need the Monday off. Her eyes bulged as if I had asked her to manicure a fungus toe! Her neck got a rash on it and her face went red as she squeakily told me that I would have to get a form from the office. That was 10 years ago and I still can remember the pained expression that he was missing a day of sitting still and filling in worksheets for the joys of Venice – on her face, not mine.

  2. My views on taking kids out of school for a holiday have certainly changed. When I starting teaching in school I was very much of the opinion that kids would miss too much and would be forever catching up. But the more I think about it the more convinced I am that life-experience is what is missing from school and holidays can be a positive source of that.

    When I was in primary school my parents spent 3 months in Sudan and took my sister and me with them. When my mum asked permission from my headteacher he was very supportive. He encouraged her to take work from our teachers to do while we were away. But he said that the experience of living in a different culture would be more of an education. It was, in so many ways. I think he was very forward-thinking. It seems a shame to me that this sort of thinking has been abandoned by the establishment these days.

  3. Couldn’t agree more! I see how much the children have learnt from spending time in other cultures and how much more useful and real that learning is than simply memorising facts and figures. Maybe in future on of my kids will meet the love of their life in a country we visited. How much sweeter and easier their union will be with a bit of cultural and linguistic knowledge to smooth their path! Living life to the full and not just training/preparing for some future imagined generic admin/academic job gives better life skills and is lots more fun. Travel opens your mind. We’re off again soon in our 30ft Winnebago to France and Italy. Can’t wait!

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