Monday, 18 October 2010

What's learning and what's not?

My husband is a school teacher and broke up for his fortnight's half-term holiday on Friday. He came home at the end of his week to a very grumpy, tired and resentful wife. It's all right for you being on holiday, but I'm not. Because it is not the state-school holiday week, many of the activities that my children are involved in are still happening, plus puppy classes and opticians appointments and play dates. In planning the week out, I have a all-too-familiar thought: "If I hurry, it will just all fit in." But if I hurry, I am a shouting and stressed mother with harrassed children. It all feels so important, so educational, golden opportunities that if missed may never come back to the eternal detriment of my children's education.
It takes a major effort of will to drag my thoughts from this rut, to see that there is a world of opportunity out there and there always will be, there are more activities, exhibitions and organised trips than we could possibly go on and that free hours at home, unstructured and undirected, time to be and reflect and imagine and play cultivates thoughts and growth that can not otherwise occur. Isaac Newton formulated his theory of gravitation sitting in the garden whilst home from university on a plague-enforced break. It takes some stern self-talk to make myself step back and stop organising every spare minute of their time, and mine, with something 'worthwhile' and to trust them to learn and grow without my constant supervision. Who knows what they might come up with?

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