“Spoon feeding in the long run teaches us nothing but the shape of the spoon.” EM Forster. (The Passage to India bloke)
To be honest I am finding home/campervan schooling quite hard. The responsibility of getting the right balance between the freedom of travelling and getting an “acceptable” education is not easy. By acceptable education I mean one where our kids can choose to opt back into the “system”, be up to speed with the curriculum, and get some sort of certificate if they need one. My view for what it’s worth is that there’s a lot more to life than passing exams. But that I suppose depends upon what you want to do and it just is how it is in the world. Says she who was a (very happy) legally qualified goat milker.
We are holding open the door, back into the “system”, but trying also to open the door to the kids finding out about what is useful and interesting for them.
Adam and I had a bit of a clash yesterday – there was a thunder and lightening storm on the island, and the question came up “does lightening hit the sea and if it does what happens to the fish or a boat or a person near the strike?”
When I “made” the boys go away and find out rather than brushing away the question without an answer, Adam’s response was “I did my geography today, [from the school course book] that’s my work, not lightning bolts”. Is that laziness which needs addressing, a crazy thing to ask them to do, or the product of the school learning system for 10 years? Or maybe it was just Matt who asked.
The geography was how the sea affects commerce (80% of the world’s population live within 100km of the sea). Nothing wrong with learning about that, learning about anything really, although maybe a bit less useful if you are paddling in the sea in a storm?
There is undoubtedly the added “challenge” of teaching your own offspring. And the challenge of teenage hormones. And on the other side the giddying freedom and adjustment to jumping from one way of learning to another. You will learn if you want to learn, and I have no doubt that much is being sucked into these young brains without us even noticing.
Katie is far more eager to learn about the things she comes across on the road, today about sharks and how close they might live to Ko Samui. Handy.
I do appreciate that there are many more things that travelling has given us, not least the extra time together. Maybe I am worrying too much. Tomorrow is another day.
Here’s another travel blog which was quite reassuring.
Adam’s take on this:
I think that homeschooling is good, it’s not too difficult and I’m in contact with my school friends to see at what stage they are, and I try to follow them. If I’m stuck I either ask them or have a look on the internet.
So if I stay at the same stage as the people at school then I think I’ll have no problem joining the class next year.
We learn a lot of things on the trip that we wouldn’t learn at school but we have to learn certain things for school that could be of no interest to us but we have to learn.
I think that since I’m at the same stage as everybody else I think that I’m doing enough.
And finally, Katie’s got some information about sharks:
KINDS OF SHARKS
There are about 20,000 kinds of sharks eg Cookie cutter shark, great white shark, bull shark, whale shark, the zebra shark… My favourite is the Cookie cutter shark because of the name, it makes me hungry. They are called cookie cutter sharks because of the round nasty bite they can give. They live 2 miles under the sea and come up to the surface at night to nibble other sea creatures. Here is a picture of one.
KO SAMUI SHARKS
There are a few sharks in the water around Ko Samui but they are not dangerous to humans eg the whale shark and the bull shark. Bull sharks only attack if you annoy them. Whale sharks only eat plankton so do not be afraid.
The mother shark goes away from all the other sharks before she gives birth then once the baby or babies are born they can swim away from their mum. The babies look after themselves. Some sharks like the whale shark lay eggs and other sharks don’t – they have live babies. Sharks can live from 20 to 30 years. Some baby sharks are not so lucky because they can be eaten by other adult sharks.
Sharks can survive without food for 6 weeks and they eat fish, other sharks, plankton and squid. Tiger sharks and white sharks eat everything but very rarely humans.
Sharks have up to 50,000 teeth in their life. They have 5 to 15 rows of teeth. Some teeth only last a week because they have no roots holding them in. When their tooth falls out another replacement tooth pops up. It is a bit like a vending machine because it springs forward.