The Problem with Schools these days

Schools…and Indoctrination

Ok. This is actually a bit of fun on my part. However, there is a serious side to it as you will see. So; first the serious bit…

We live in an age where schools are becoming increasingly politicised. They are trying to teach kids certain things from a very early age that would never have been discussed when I was in school. Even at a school leaving age.

One recent example in the news concerned parents protesting and getting some of these so called “lessons” stopped. In this particular case it concerned “lessons” aimed at telling kids about trans-sexuality. Even I don’t know too much about that and neither do I want to really. It turns out that the parents were all of one particular religion and basically stuck to their principles. So far they appear to have won. I admire them for that.

Anyway, all that is a bit heavy for these pages so I will just finish the explanation by saying what teachers were allowed to tell us all them years ago when I was in school. The answer? Nothing. Nothing at all. If you ever asked them, they would not even tell you which party they voted for in the elections. They weren’t allowed to. Politics and anything politicised was out of bounds in those days. And I believe it still should be.

Collecting helps you learn.

Dani is as close to being interested in collecting something as he can be at his age. Collecting things like coins or stamps is great for kids.

He now has a fair collection of coins. I found a load of old money I had accumulated from years of visiting different countries and that was a good starting point for his collection. Occasionally he gets the coins out and we look at them and – obviously – he asks me about them. On this particular occasion he was separating them by country.

A Little bit of fun with old coins

Collecting coins and stamps is a great way for young kids to learn about the countries and geography in general. I actively encourage this. But after several coins had already been separated I decided to have some fun…

“Where is this one from dad?”

“Brazil.”

“This one?”

“That one is Belgium. You can put it in any pile you like because Belgium is not a real country.”

“What? It’s not a real country?”

“No. It is basically a made-up country really.”

“Where is this one from?”

“Portugal. Escudos. Before the Euro.”

“And this one?”

“Portugal again. Before Germany stole their money.”

“Germany stole their money?”

“Yes. Well, sort of. They made everyone use the Euro so the countries didn’t have their own money any more. Spain too. Spain used to have its own money, the Peseta.”

Enough… For now.

Counter-Indoctrination

Clearly I was having a little fun; for my own benefit. But there are two points to make here. Firstly some kind of balance is needed to counteract the continuous crap people get thrown at them. Even if it is half said in jest. Let’s call it counter-indoctrination.

Secondly; I would never tell him complete lies. There is a lot of truth in what I told him -albeit peppered with a little mischief.

There is another thing. And this is a combination of mischief and curiosity. I just wonder what they would tell him in school if he repeated any of these things. That could prove interesting. I may find out soon…If he ever tells me.

Chess, Judo and Oz

Games of Kings

Dani wanted to have a game of draughts with me yesterday. This was the first time I had played the game in years and the first time ever against Dani. Amazingly Dani did not know how to play properly. I thought he had played in school. I knew he was interested in chess. I knew that he knows how to play that more advanced game as I had helped him.

For some reason, and totally under my radar, he has skipped the draughts phase. Jumping straight up to the trickier, real game of kings. It was quite odd trying to play draughts while also teaching him. Knowing all the time he was just waiting to beat his mum at chess. Smart-arse kid….

Not only is he playing chess: Apparently he is the best in his class now. That honour used to belong to his best friend Jaime who goes to after-school chess classes. Now Dani has been told that he is the best chess player in the class. Or so he tells us

After school Judo

When Jaime goes to chess classes Dani goes to Judo – after school, on Tuesdays and Thursdays. He had been moaning a little in recent weeks about not progressing. Meaning he knows that he still has the beginner’s white belt. Then out of the blue – for me at least – he announced that they had done their first grading. From white to a yellow and white (striped) belt. Next step (full) yellow belt. Then yellow and orange. Then… Well let’s see how it goes for the rest of this school year.

Either it crept up on him too or he kept it quiet. He has been doing it now for over 6 months; so that is slow but steady progress. I think it gives them the time to really learn the techniques to the point where they become second nature. I also think this half belt grading step is a better way for the young kids. Going for a full yellow belt would take too long and they might lose interest. It’s a great way of doing it.

When did they bring that in? Does anyone know?

Dani doing his belt grading. About to throw his much bigger classmate Jacobo.

From what little Dani tells me about his judo classes I get the impression that he does listen carefully to his ‘sensei’, who just happens to be a 7th Dan. That’s a lot of Dans! I think if he told me to do something, I might just do it.

Down Under a Step Closer?

Meanwhile… Dani’s mum returned from another trip to Australia and he was a very excited little boy.

This next week could determine whether or not the Australian adventure becomes reality. I get the impression that Dani wants to go. It certainly seems that he is not against the idea. The thing is, what of his parents? Will the deal be right? Does it even need to be? When will it begin? So many questions still to answer…

And finally…

I have written about these little parrot like birds some time ago (see here). But this weekend I got closer than ever to them. The monk parrakeets were too busy to bother about me although they are usually quite shy.