Should we ever express any negativity towards education in front of our kids?
1 expert and 2 parents have answered
We openly discuss topics surrounding education and schooling at home, allowing the children an independent voice and a sense of efficacy. It is not possible to sugar coat the fact that we currently live in a country which according to the World Economic Forum has the worst education system in the world - the children are keen observers and regularly express the need to discuss the difference between this country's education vs the international arena. They hear about classroom antics and teaching scandals from friends (children and adults alike) all the time and we have to acknowledge the shambles of the system or else they would lose confidence in what they personally experienced, is reported by the media, discussed by friends etc. We emphasize the difference between schooling and education and always make sure that they handle the challenges here with respect. We discuss facts rather than dwell on negative emotions and try and analyse situations with courtesy and consideration.
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Of course we should express negativity towards education - if it warrants it. And we certainly shouldn't be trying to stifle our children's experiences and views for the sake of some kind of utopian view of schools, or dangerous obesience towards authority.
Many on here choose to home school or alternatively educate their children. Why? Because mainstream education comes with all sorts of problems. To pretend otherwise, and to tell your kids ⋆never⋆ to question authority or societal structures, is not only to present your kids with a "do as I say, not as I do" way of looking at the world (we all break rules from time to time!), it's also to allow the entrenched issues in society to flourish (sexism, racism, environmental neglect, violence etc.), and to teach your kids never to question authority or break rules - what kind of kids do you want to bring up? Worker bee drones?!
Schools obviously can do lots wrong - most do a lot right too - so the key is to explain clearly to children of all ages why they're attending, why it's good to conform to a certain level (if you make the choice to mainstream educate), why you have made the choice to send them to the school you did etc. And to talk to them about their school experiences, to help them through the negatives and to perceive the positives. And then to give them what school doesn't manage to in their home life, to round out their education and their appreciation of what "education" even is.
Of course this message has to be tailored to the level of your child's age and understanding. But you'd be amazed at the kind of heavy subjects a three year old will happily chat about and understand (on their level). Those conversations happen over and over and over as kids grow - and they become more nuanced. Talking to my kids about real life - death, sex, families, stress, work, school etc. - is one of the joys of parenting. It's imparting your experiences and hearing theirs.