Anyone who knows us as a family, will know we work hard, and encourage our children to do the same at school.
The same as pretty much most families eh? Of course we want our kids to achieve, to do their best and find their path in life. After all, I want them to move out at some point, have their own lives, and enjoy whatever the hell it is they do end up doing to earn a crust.
Out of ours, the eldest is just finishing uni, full of debt and not entirely sure where her path will take her. Looking to the primary school aged kids, one wants to be a cooker/artist when she grows up and to live in Paris. The other wants to be a film director and live in LA (neither has ever been to either city, make of that what you will). So…we encourage them that if they do their best and learn as much as they can, their ambitions just might get realised.
But it’s a bit bloody exhausting this primary school lark. Gone are the days of mucking around in the book corner and learning a bit of maths. Hell no, this lot of tiddlers are now endlessly tested and under a whole barrage of pressure to achieve and tick boxes academically. I’m a full-on supporter of kids coming out of school able to spell and write properly and with a grasp of logic and life-useful maths.
But I also want them to climb trees, to be happy at weekends, spending time with their clubs, their friends and even more so, their families. I want them to discover things in our woodlands that don’t necessarily fit in to an academic category. To laugh, full on belly laughs that mean you can’t breath or are in danger of wetting yourself. To get some vitamin D from lolling about in the sun, to cycle til their legs hurt, to learn to play an instrument or bake a cake. Or to play. With dolls. With lego. To fall and start over again.
Not having circular arguments about getting homework done, spelling cards learned, online maths homework completed, and at least a few pages of their books read. I want them to have their chance to be kids. Just like we did.
Today, many parents are taking their kids out of school in protest against the changing national curriculum and increasingly hard SAT testing. I applaud the sentiment but have chosen not to follow the same path, as I’m not sure what a day off school will achieve really. But that’s about personal choice and I don’t condemn those who have decided to.
But I do wish, oh god I do…that this government would leave our (little) kids alone. (With thanks to Pink Floyd).