Stop ‘sheepwalking’ – start thinking!

Will you take your work on holiday with you so you don’t suffer the ‘Summer Slide’?

Course you won’t. It’s a ridiculous idea. You want a break. You need a break.

Your kids do too.

Will you lose your work skills whilst you’re on holiday? Course you won’t, they may get a bit rusty but you’ll soon polish them up again.

Same with kids.

That is why this idea in the news that kids need teaching all holiday is so ridiculous.

It’s about parent panic mongering and class one-up-man-ship, not what kids really need.

Children will need to crank up a bit to get back to where they were pre-holiday but this doesn’t matter in the broader perspective of their education. And it’s the broader education that kids need not silly little tests to see if they’re still the same.

Tests ARE NOT educational, so we need to stop testing our children and pretending that they are. They are for the political gain of the school and the parents. They are of NO benefit to a child’s education what so ever. You never got any better at anything by being tested on it and as for keeping them for records; the results are inaccurate and teachers hardly have time to use them.

Holidays educate far more than testable exercises do (see previous post) so let your kids get out and about and on with real lives and most of all play and spend some time with them.

This is what will give them the most essential part of education:


No amount of stuff on paper will make our kids good at anything other than stuff on paper.

Fine if you want your kid to be good at stuff on paper but that doesn’t help them lead a life, it doesn’t help them develop a rounded intelligence, it doesn’t help them overcome all the challenges life confronts us with, it doesn’t help them transfer skills to the workplace.

I reckon this whole misguided practice is more about parents wanting their kids to be best for their own parental status than looking at their own individuals and deciding what’s best for them.

It keeps the kids busy too of course. But actually, that’s the parents’ job.

Holidays are an opportunity for parents to really engage with, inspire, and show their kids all the wonders of the world they never get to see whilst they’re stuck inside a school. And to teach them about real life, rather than an academic life.

We are a nation of sheepwalkers. We’d rather follow the other sheep than think for ourselves. If we did we’d know education needs to be different.

Thousands of home educators have been thinking deeply about their child’s education and proving that this hothouse approach to a child’s life is unnecessary. Home educated children are going onto Uni and into work – but they won’t have had lessons every summer to achieve it.

They will have had life – and learnt from it.

It’s a shame these school kids can’t have the same!


12 thoughts on “Stop ‘sheepwalking’ – start thinking!

  1. My youngest always struggled a lot with the changes the school holidays bring, especially the long summer holidays due to having autism and preferring routine and structure. He’d just about settle at home and then it would be time to go back to school and everyone would change again.
    This summer we have been trialling home educating as I felt I wanted to do that before deregistering him so I was sure it would work for us as a family. I work from home and also study myself and I was worried I would not be able to fit it all in along with all my generally day to day task and caring for three children. But it has been great and having some structure in our days and a timetable has really helped my son and we are both really enjoying home ed. Like Cheri said above, I feel that the best approach for us will be to work all year but either take it easy all year round or ease off a bit through the holidays as I have two other children still in school/college.

  2. I’ve enjoyed reading your blog Ross. My daughter is due to begin school in Sept 2014 – I don’t think HE is on the cards for us (at the moment) but it is good to know that it is an option. I think it is so important for children to enjoy learning, and parents have a vital role in that wherever and however their children receive their formal education. I look forward to following your posts.

    • Hi Mary, thank you for your comment. Glad you enjoy the blog. The thing with school is that it’s great if it works well for the child – each being so different. All the best of happiness for your little family whatever your choices. x

  3. My kids do work all Summer, but that’s because we take it a little easy all year. 🙂
    A week or two won’t hurt our brains much and gives us a fresh perspective, but when kids go for months without using their thinking skills, especially in math, they suffer for it. I’ve read stats saying a regular teacher spends months getting kids back on track after a long break.
    I’ve never experienced this myself since we always had to catch up from procrastinating, but have seen how hard it is for my kids to get back to math skills after taking even a short time off. It’s a whole different way of looking at problems and you need a lot of WD40 to get all that rust off. 🙂
    Almost all the brain freeze they get comes right after a break or even when getting back to a more complex task after a series of easy ones.

    • Thanks so much for your comment Cheri. I get what you’re saying and the thing about home educating as you do is that the children are actually exercising those thinking skills all the time through the education/life you’re providing. Great to hear from you. x

      • We are carrying on with ‘work ‘ over the summer but it is led by my son who has been asking to carry on especially with maths. The six week break maybe doesn’t apply to us in the same way as it does to school children as we will take an actual holiday when they are all back in school in late September.
        When I say ‘work’ we are talking about an hour in the morning with the rest of our time being spent mainly running about in the park in the sunshine. I think a balanced approach is fine as a little mental excercise to keep things ticking over is beneficial to some children. I do agree that intensive tutoring sessions are unnecessary and only stifle creativity and importantly quash the love for learning that we should be encouraging.
        I completely agree that some parents seem to use their children’s achievements as status symbols which is terribly sad. I witnessed it all too often when my son was still at school and I certainly believe that the summer tutoring craze is going to be used by many parents as a tool for telling all their contemporaries what fantastic parents they are. These in my experience have often been the parents who appear panic stricken when their children get their clothes dirty or have a hair out of place. I vote for crinkled clothes, for unkempt hair, for slightly feral , for life loving, for creative thinking and for individual children any day of the year.

        As an aside, I met another HE mum today who in conversation referred to some advice that you give in one of your books about taking time for yourself. I thought you might like to know that has helped her a great deal and she tells me that she gets your book out in moments of exhaustion ,reads that paragraph and enjoys a little alone time so that she can return to her family feeling refreshed. Isn’t that lovely?

        Thanks for you wonderful blog.

      • I almost always read your posts; it just takes an extra effort (and time) to comment. Usually, when I just “like” them, you’ve said it so well, I can’t think of anything to add. 😀

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s