Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see – Neil Postman

Why school is like a colouring in book

Thanks Aunty Jenny for this book, it's well loved.

Thanks Aunty Jenny for this book, it’s well loved.

I’ve been playing with my daughter’s colouring books. We have crayons and we colour in together. I didn’t realise just how much it stifles creativity. The lines force you to colour in the shape that someone else has drawn. I’ve been thinking that school is a lot like that. You are forced to colour in what someone else, often a lot of someone elses, consider to be Math in Math. Even though literacy, history, science and a lot of other subjects are in there too, the Math you do in Math is the teacher’s, the curriculum writers’/the syllabus writers’, the school’s idea of Math coloured by history. There’s no space to reinterpret or challenge what counts as Math. Much like my daughter’s colouring in books.

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2 Responses to “Why school is like a colouring in book”

  1. Narelle Hetherington

    My little boy Oak would do his numbers backwards, especially 3 and 5.
    I got him a book so he could trace the outline of the numbers, to help him get them around the right way – although my intention was good – it upset him a great deal, because he couldn’t keep his hand steady enough to trace the numbers, exactly on the line : (
    In line with natural parenting – I dropped the writing of numbers and we did simple maths with dots (using dice a lot). This was more fun and a lot less stress for Oak
    A month later he does his numbers around the right way all on his own, without practice or prompting or any stress.

    • Rebecca English

      That’s awesome Narelle. Good on you for trusting your son enough to go with his needs. I think, as John Holt argues, that’s the hardest thing of all for all us natural mums!


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