Grapple, fondle and finding fun in education!

It’s become such a sombre business; schooling our children. It’s as fierce and competitive as a commercial machine and as hungry for output as industry. Full of targets and politics and big business practises that have as little to do with individuals as some business have to do with quality these days. Mass production has overtaken the personal touch. Bit of a similar scenario in schools I’d say!

Yet, isn’t ‘personal’ the only way education could be?

It’s about personal development surely. And when did it become so miserable? It should instead be glorious. It can definitely be funny and is no less effective for being so. In fact children learn far more, with far more retention, if their learning is fun and happy.

Take an example when mine were doing some English. We didn’t actually ‘do’ English as an isolated subject much. We normally just extended their language and English skills by using it. The opportunity to do so is around us all day whatever you’re doing.

But this particular day the ‘le’ sound on the end of words came up when one of them was trying to spell table. So we spent a minute trying to think of lots more words that ended in ‘le’ as an example.

“Dad. Think of words that end in l e,” called my eldest as he came into the kitchen where we were busy round the table.

“Tickle,” he said knowing how much they love it. But then his mind clearly strayed as he caught my eye.

“Fondle,” he added with a smirk. “And grapple.” He winked at me and I started to giggle with him.

The girls looked at each other suspiciously.

“And cuddle and ogle and nipple,” he continued. That was it. We were all in hysterics by now, the girls guessing we were up to something a bit naughty they didn’t understand.

But the youngest wasn’t going to be left out.

“Piddle!” She said cheekily. More hysterics!

Now this might not be your idea of an English lesson, but I’ll tell you something – they never forgot how to spell those words with the ‘le’ sound on the end!

But the real lesson learned is that education hasn’t got to be serious.

Nowhere is it written that children have to suffer for their education to be effective. Or that they won’t be learning if they’re happy and having fun. Or that just because there’s laughter there’s unlikely to be anything valuable taking place. In fact the opposite is nearer the truth.

The happier, more comfortable, more engaged – and laughter engages more than anything, the more fun learning is; the more likely it is to be remembered, the more likely kids are to want to go on learning.

People say education is a serious business. But it is no more serious than any other parts of life. There may be serious challenges to confront but the lighter approach we take to them the more easily they are accomplished.

So my advice to anyone reading this is to get as much laughter and fun and happiness in your child’s education. Making education light and enjoyable is the best thing you can do for them because it will keep their love of learning alive. And that will set them up for life.

You can read some of the other funny events in our learning lives in ‘A Funny Kind Of Education’.

And if you felt like leaving a comment telling of your laughter filled learning activities that would be lovely and help others too!


11 thoughts on “Grapple, fondle and finding fun in education!

  1. Lovely post! My girls have me in fits of laughter often, I particularly like my D2’s rhyme to help her remember 6×12=72 Be careful not to walk in poo!..Prob worth a telling off at school…. Also I love that when D1 grows up wants to be like Kate Humble not half naked pop star.
    Your posts have definitely helped me gain confidence with home ed. Whenever I question if I’ve done the right thing. i take a look on your site. Keep writing!! 🙂 x

  2. Great post Ross. You really can’t estimate the power of laughter and fun can you!

    We tackle difficult to spell words, especially those with silent letters, by pronouncing them in a phonetically literal way – so Wed-Nes-Day, or K-Nife. We often refer to Monty Python and the Holy Grail’s ‘K-Nig-Hts’ and the children swear they learned to spell beautiful from Jim Carrey in Bruce Almighty’s ‘Bee-Ee-Ay-Utiful’!

    Now they’re older we watch a lot of stand up comedians which has proved a great way to be introduced to different ways of looking at things, along with ideas such as freedom of speech and controversy!

  3. I agree completely; learning can, and should, be fun. We have been learning about why we have the seasons and night and day. After spending a lot of time spinning the globe in a dark room with a torch above, we decided that we’d pretend to be the Sun and Earth ourselves. Cue much spinning around the house, bouncing off furniture whilst screaming “night” and “day” as we bounced around. He is now able to explain the weather and change of day but he had a great time learning about. So much more fun and meaningful than just copying out of a book.

  4. Thanks for that giggle to start the day off 🙂 reminds me of mine making up word games where they change everyone’s name so they all start with the same letter (so for Bs, Peter and Jane would be Beter and Bane) – and for some giggle-inducing reason ‘mummy’ lends itself to some hilarious variations: Dummy, scummy, gummy, crummy, tummy and their favourite – bummy!

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