“But its the summer holidays!”
“You can still learn when you’re not at school, I don’t go to school so I am learning all the time.”
“That sounds boring!”
Just a small snippet from a conversation that I have overheard. It reiterates to me how learning is viewed as boring, an activity reserved for the classroom and a six week break from learning is something that is looked forward to and enjoyed. The idea that someone might actually enjoy learning is incomprehensible.
J had his first go at fishing last Sunday, he thoroughly enjoyed it and was proud of himself for managing to catch a fish. It was a free taster session while we attended the BBC Country file live show at Blenheim Palace. Alongside fishing he also did some kayaking and got chatting to a member of staff from the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife trust (correctly identifying 9/11 skulls). Small had a go at pond dipping and A was able to admire some sculptures and paintings and watch the artists at work. All three were learning new things, but it was far from boring!
We built our picnic benches in the garden and assembled smalls sand table, added sand and a pot of water for play. He spent a lot time, and continues to do so every day, out in the garden filling various containers with sand and emptying them out again. He discovered a a game at his nannys which consisted of pushing a pot of small items down his slide and then sitting and gathering them together again to do it all over again. It has been interesting watching his hand eye coordination and his fine motor skills progress and develop during these games. He is learning to recognise colours and to count. He knows that if he picks up a small pebble to throw in the river it will make a small splash and if he picks up a big stone it will make a bigger splash. What part of this learning is really able to be considered boring?
The boys will spend all day with wildlife / animal documentaries on the tv in the back ground while they play. Sometimes J will hear or notice something that he doesnt already know, it will grab his attention for as long as it does, he will soak up the information like a sponge and it will be something else that he has learnt. A will want to do something different with her hair, or achive a new effect on while doing her nails or her makeup, she will watch youtube tutorials and will practise and achieve it and that will be a new skill learned. Where is it boring?
The problem is, that what they are doing is nothing “Special”, nothing different to anything that their friends are doing during the school holidays. There are places that their school friends are visiting, experiences that they are having and they will be learning things without realising it. For them, “learning” is sitting in a classroom reading something, being told about it while a teacher writes on a board at the front of the classroom. Everyone in the classroom listening to the same information learning it by rote. Perhaps that is what they are referring to as boring. Maybe they imagine my children sat at a table having a lesson while they are outside playing football?
In reality, my children are enjoying their summer, but are open to absorbing knowledge from the world around them and their experiences. My children will be continuing to enjoy the world when their friends return to formal education in September, their learning adventures do not stop, or end, or pause. Learning is a constant. Education is a journey not a destination.