Monday 12 April 2010

Holiday homework

On last day of holiday in Ilfracombe Arthur decided he wanted to map out the next one, incorporating Brazilian rainforest, New York, Sidney, Antartica and New Zealand.

We are planning an Xmas visit to my sister in New Zealand this year, following a holiday of a lifetime three years ago when we first went out there. Our school threatened us with loosing Arthur's school place if we take Arthur out of school for any time in the next five years, which makes a trip to NZ very tricky.

Odd, when research clearly identifies 80% of learning happens outside the classroom, and that schools want to involve parents more in learning, that such a fantastic opportunity is not just ignored, but actively discouraged.

In the last year the schoolwork that have most excited Arthur (and us parents) was 'The Great Fire of London' and 'Brazilian rainforest'. We visited London, went down Pudding Lane, climbed monument, walked around Thames, visited 'The Museum of London', had a great day out that contextualised 'The Great Fire' for Arthur and Jago (3 years old). Shame not to have picked a Birmingham based topic, and admittedly, not everyone gets the chance to visit London, nevermind the Brazilian rainforest, but at least we got to find out about the topic with Arthur.

Schools should actively involve and encourage parents to take part in learning, and support parents and children bringing their learning back to the classroom. To only value learning in the classroom reinforces an insular view of school disconnected with our reality and unimportant to our lives.

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