By education I don't mean what happens in institutions of learning. So often when people think of education they think of school and other formal education. This is so limited - but those who know me will not be surprised to hear me say this. Our children never went to school (apart from a couple of years technicraft at intermediate). My personal view of school, as with all institutions, is that the prime objectives are too buried amidst a mire of other activities.

What is the prime obective of "education"? Education is much broader than simply academics. I was bemused recently to see "socialisation' should be added to the curriculum. Given how much criticism has been aimed at home educators on this topic, those of us with experiece couldn't laugh.

I suggest it is simply to prepare us for all that's ahead in life - both in terms of the future and in terms of other activities in the present. On this basis it never ends - and that's good - even exciting. Personally I had expected to slow down as I got older - but new vistas are being opened up at a greater speed than ever before in my life. I still need to learn to understand and adapt to new fields and ideas in all sorts of areas.

My experience with formal education wasn't brilliant - probably part of why we considered home educating our children. I did well at school - but school results are misleading. I was rated above average intelligence – but life has shown there are many forms of “intelligence” not measured by IQ but just as meaningful and valuable. Perhaps one of the most important lessons in my life came in the two and a half years after my stroke. I was struggling to cope with something quite normal to many - probably the majority: sequential thinking. It was so hard for me,and that was key to opening up my appreciation of other ways of thinking.
George Santyana said: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it". We must learn from the past – but not stick with the past to the exclusion of new ideas. Young people often think ideas are new when you've been through them (or similar) before, so it takes more than just a good idea to excite you. But even when we "know" something, here are often more layers to the subject. Education is not just learning new ideas - it's also learning new aspects and layers to existing ones.


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Last modified: 28 November 2020.