Sunday, October 01, 2006

Spectator Letter

The letter in the Spectator this week doesn't, at first glance, look like an argument in favour of home education, but actually, it isn't far removed:

"From Amanda Craig

Sir: I was interested in Rod Liddle's article 'Who is right about home schooling?' (23 September) because I too have children at top private schools and have noticed large gaps in their general knowledge thanks to the detestable National Curriculm. However, the solution is quite simple and does not necessitate removing them from their friends.

Stick a map of the world and a map of Britain up where they have meals, and they will learn geography. Make a time-line with them, and they will learn history. Listen to Radio Three in the car if you do a school run, and they will learn more about classical music than in a hundred music lessons. Teach them, formally, how to draw. Watch famiiar DVDs in foreign langauages. Walk with them for a least half an hour every day and talk to them about anything under the sun, including politics. Above all, keep reading to them every night, until they can read Jane Austen. It will only take an hour out of each day at most, is a total pleasure and makes a huge difference to a child's knowledge and self-confidence.

I went to a progressive boarding school where, as an academic pupil, I learnt almost nothing worth knowing. However, I got into Cambridge because I had a mother who followed these principles. All half-decent parents home educate their children, in effect, until children learn to educate themselves. "

So the point of school? The provision of friends apparently, and we have that one sorted in the HE community.


Anonymous said...

She makes good points - and successfully suggests that school is irrelevant (very subtle argument as superficially in agreement with Liddle!).

However, her suggestions are a bit narrow and regimented nevertheless - a sort of curriculum of what a nice child ought to know. The children may not, of course, have any of those interests.


Jax said...

I didn't take that as an exclusive prescriptive list, but a set of working suggestions. Frightfully middleclass ;) (classical music? Jane Austen???) but the hints and tips are there for all concerned.

Terrifying to think that ppl with children "at top private schools" also think that is mainly about getting them the right sort of friends, and nothing to do with what information they might manage to gather to themselves :(

Carlotta said...

Ironic that AC mentions Jane Austen, given that the novelist was almost entirely educated at home - (I think she went to school for one year.)