I find that we look at education in this way. And it is a pity. Education should be driven by the love of learning. It should attempt to quench the thirst to satisfy curiosity. Often, our approach to schooling is to pass exams or fail in society (the danger of dying). I see this in the fixation often shown by parents to keep the same pace of schooling in summer. Many mothers and fathers are afraid of the risk that their children simply lose touch with the system during summer recess, and become concerned that they will not be able to return on track in September. What happens is that many parents respond with anxiety, and emphasise – if not impose – on their children school related work during the period of the year which is intended to relax and recharge.
It is my view that this is inherently problematic. For starters, what drives this is fear. Families seem to be caught up in a loop of anxiety, where the parents driven by their anxiety, create anxiety in their kids to do work. Secondly, summer holidays are intended to allow the children to take a break. Unless children recharge, the opportunity for them to organise the information in their brain becomes more difficult. Imagine how hard it is for adults to go through years without a break. You may say that we do. Usual employment feels that way, because it often does not offer the luxury of long breaks. However, usual employment hardly resembles study work where you are constantly engaged in the act of absorbing as much information as you can and remembering it. Let’s face it, there is a lot of school work which relies mainly on memory work.
Steve Libreri is a social worker and parent coach within Willingness. He offers parent coaching and social work sessions. He can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org.