Calm down…I know what you’re thinking. To clarify myself, I am not against education, just society’s definition of it.
Just what exactly is considered to be educational by most people?
– Something that fits neatly into a school board-approved subject- i.e. English, Math, Science, etc.
– Something which is learned out of textbooks, then tested and graded
– Anything which is covered in standardized testing and the Common Core
Makes sense, right? It’s all very straightforward…
…or is it?
An important question here is who decides what is considered to be educational? That’s easy….school boards and the government. Oh, boy. That’s a problem for me. Our government can’t handle running the country- the job we hired them for. Why would we throw something else at them for them to control, particularly, our children’s futures? I don’t know about you, but that’s a problem for me.
This brings me to my next point…what about the interests of our children that don’t fit into a neat little box? For example, Arianna loves watching makeup tutorials. This has evolved into her using my other kids as canvases for her own theatrical makeup experiments. She’s also turned it into a business; she charges a quarter for face painting. More recently, she’s started recording her own makeup tutorials and uploading them onto YouTube. Would the school board or NEA consider this to be educational? I can’t speak for them, but I doubt it. Has she learned through this? Absolutely.
You see, my problem with the word ”educational” has nothing to do with learning. My concern is this: shouldn’t anything that our child immerses herself in and surrounds herself with be just as important as any mainstream educational objective?
Another issue is something I may have caused myself with my children. Since I was always so concerned with fulfilling state regulations, I was constantly focusing on those schoolish subjects that my children had no interest in and devaluing their true interests because I thought they weren’t educational. There’s that word again.
Being a product of the public school system, I had these same views so ingrained into me that I contributed to my children believing that the things they most wanted to do weren’t worth it.
Thankfully, I’ve come to my senses. If a child is learning while they’re doing something, anything, it is educational.
Last week, London and Caollin were playing ”restaurant” for hours- making menus, taking orders, setting tables- the whole shebang. They were having so much fun.
The last straw came when London, who’s eight, came up to me while playing and said,
”Mommy, is this educational?”
I was floored!
What have I done? My little girl was more concerned with that than with enjoying herself. That’s when I decided to never use the e-word in front of my kids again. (2016- I do use that word now, but less frequently!)
Are my kids learning? Every single day. But that’s not what I want to focus on anymore. I want to focus on living.
What are your thoughts on this subject? Join the conversation!