10 December 2007

School rants, and remembering a year ago

Yesterday was our Christingle service and it was gorgeous. One more reason I actually like to be in the old building with so much history and distilled tradition around me. Oh the candles, Morgan was in baby heaven (little eyes lit up) up on my back in the sling while I held her candle for her. It was so perfectly reassuringly warm, being together and sharing something from my own childhood. Celebrating something together on whatever level we understand it. Holding hands, one big family.

Jenna is astonishing me at the moment with the things she knows without me ever having told her. She told me that the cheese she had was "garlic cheese" even though she has never been explicitly told the ingredients that I'm adding or in what order or been asked to taste some raw or anything! She just knew. She has used the words "surface" and "ignorant" to me this week in conversation, and she said to my mother that something was "versetile - really useful!" It's incredible what she can absorb, and what she chooses to absorb too. Certainly not exactly what I'd have chosen for her. Hedgehogs, what they eat and where they live. Stones, what gems are called and how they are made. Bonnie Prince Charlie. Ancient Egypt. Anything to do with babies and giving birth. Amazing.

Yet she still feels helpless and not in control of her own learning. She tells me that she needs to go to school because otherwise she won't know anything. She says that she needs a teacher to tell her things. Why is the view of school so ingrained that even she feels like this in the home that she has grown up in? It's ridiculous, this idea that we can't know anything without being told it.

All of these programs about the current fad for phonics are symptomatic. Given time, of COURSE the human brain isn't capable of assimilating those groupings without explicit teaching! If it was, then all children might dare to learn at different rates though... Micheal Rosen said it for me - they may learn to read, remarkable. But who will then give them back the love of books for their own sake?

This time last year, I felt my waters break with a tiny faint pop. And I took myself off up to bed.

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