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7 things we take for granted about schools...

Wow!!! That last post worked - 500 page views in a day! Oh well, back to normality...

I have been working a lot this week out of home. Yanno - Paid Work! Which is cool financially (each day brings me closer to my new bathroom/new cruise), but I miss my kids. Lucky I have a great hubby who steps up and becomes Homeschool Dad. And the kids mostly play along (although I suspect they miss me. A lot. Or so I tell myself).

As part of my work as a Ranger, we sometimes go to schools or schools come to us. I've spent the last six days working in primary schools. It is a very strange thing for me to go back to school, after having been a teacher for nearly five years and after pulling my kids out of school to homeschool them.

We were, like so many other families, so firmly part of the school "system". We didn't even really stop to question our options, until we finally felt we really "had no choice".

But now, having said to ourselves "this doesn't work for us, for our family" and having deliberately chosen something else, it is quite a bizzare experience to find myself back in a school. You look through new eyes! You question the "status quo". I know - I'm a rebel (better late than never)!

Here are some things, that you take for granted or don't notice when you are part of the system, but seem very strange if you have opted out and homeschool:

1) Lining up - watching those little Kindy kids standing in two lines, put the arms up front and side to space, turn around and then sit down in two even rows was a bit terrifying, strangely reminiscent of the military, but yet I remember doing this at school.

2) Uniforms - in Australia our schools have uniforms (even the public schools). So that everyone looks the same. Just looks weird.

3) Bells ringing - time to stop playing and start school. Time to stop working (even if you find it interesting) and go play. Sit down for 10 minutes to eat your recess and then another bell goes to say it is time to stop eating and go run around. They sound harsh and "clangy" to my ears - worse than the alarm going off.

4) Putting your hand up - to answer a question or to ask a question. This helps keep the chaos of having 30 kids in a group with one teacher to a minimum, but it also means that the same kids ask or answer the questions. Some questions never get asked (or answered).


5) Keep within the lines - this school had red lines to show where "out of bounds" were. We were playing a ball game and one of our balls went over the red line. You had to ask for permission to go get that ball. So you can never not be supervised.

6) Sit still - watching a lot of little bodies that are born to move, that need to wriggle being made to sit "still" so they can listen to group instructions is not easy for a lot of our kids.

7) Ask to go to the toilet - if you gotta go, you gotta go. But ask first. 

So much of this is designed for crowd control of energetic little beings, in a place where "learning" is happening. But ask yourself - as an adult in a workplace (that is not a school), do I have to do any of these things (except during a fire drill)?

I'm not the only one questioning our schools - here is a great article on how schools are physically organised by an architect. His suggestions remind me a lot of homeschool. I realise that not everyone can homeschool, but a lot of these ideas would make those who go to school feel more at home!

If you had your kids in school or remember your own school days, what do you recall that now you find a bit questionable?


  1. Getting in trouble for reading ahead in 2nd grade. I had my hands rapped. In fact, I started waking up "sick" and wouldn't go. Dad finally figured out what was going on and chewed the teacher out.

    Seriously, punishing a child for being bright?

    1. Those are the injustices you remember forever. Not logical.

  2. I was thinking this one over and read a good post at Pioneer Woman that brought my answer to mind.

    The sleep deprivation I suffered during school was horrific. At the bus stop at 7am, off the bus at 4:15 pm, homework, band practice, other activities...I generally slept about 6 hours a night. I often dozed off in Algebra class (right after lunch). I regularly carried Mountain Dew and sometimes took caffeine pills to keep me going.

    I am so thankful my boys can sleep until they are rested. I worry about all those kids in public school running on empty.


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