The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

We Are All The Same Even If We Are Different …

I have written a lot about how we are bringing up Otis.

What we want for him, what we want him to value.

I have also written about the education we want for him.

A none-religious, state school that celebrates creativity as much as the more traditional academic pursuits.

Sadly I know there are many people out there who think we are mad for the choices we make, but as I have also written, my advice to them is to look after their own kids upbringing and leave ours to us.

That said, following these ideals is not easy.

Apart from the simple issue of access, the reality is most schools and kids companies focus on structure, stereotypes and grades because that is what most parents – and Governments – seem to value most of all, so for us to go outside of that takes effort and commitment.

None of this means we don’t want Otis to have a quality education – of course we do – it’s just that when it comes to what we think ‘education’ means, we see it going beyond the importance of reading, writing and maths.

We want his school to help him develop a love of learning.

Give him the ability to practice critical thinking.

An openness and comfort to express himself openly and creatively.

But there’s something more – something we feel very strongly about – which in part is one of the reasons we’re against religious and private schools.

You see we want him to learn that stereotypes limit, control and create prejudice.

That just because you’re a different gender or come from a different heritage or have a different sexual preference doesn’t mean you can’t aspire to – or achieve the same level as – anyone else.

And while it’s a small thing in the big scheme of things, it is the reason why I love that Otis’ school had a black Santa visit them last Christmas.

Of course Otis didn’t care, comment or even probably notice … but for the other little kids who come from different backgrounds, they saw a face that could give them comfort, confidence and courage about who they are, where they come from and what they can achieve and who wouldn’t want a school that teaches kids – all kids – that.

Education is so much more than just grades and while this is not all of the schools responsibility, it is part of their responsibility.

15 Comments so far
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Brilliant post Robert. Yes, yes, yes.

Comment by George

That you want these things and value these things is a wonderful thing to witness. You are not alone in your beliefs but the options for liberal education tend to be limited to home schooling or premium private schools. I find that outrageous which is why it is so pleasing to learn there are still exceptions to the rule. Go Otis.

Comment by Mary Bryant

Have you seen this Mary? It would be good if it didn’t cost $36,000 per year. Education seems more about profit than learning.

Comment by Pete

I’d been told about this school Pete – but I was told she was doing it for free because she had the same issues as Jill and I do. I should have known better that they would be jumping on the education for profit bandwagon.

Comment by Rob

billionaires only care about making more fucking billions.

Comment by andy@cynic

Nice one Otis school.

I don’t have kids but even I know education isn’t a guarantee of a job anymore. Doesn’t mean it is any less important but it should mean schools open up what they teach beyond grades for the 3 Rs.

Comment by Bazza

And as the 3 Rs mean they are spelling arithmetic rithmetic, their standards aren’t so good in the first place.

Comment by Bazza


Comment by Pete

In America, they also call it math instead of maths. Fools.

Comment by Rob

I agree with everything you said, and there is one thing you left out: as important as education is, school-wise, the part you play in his education is far more. You can see things that a teacher might miss: what does he prefer, for toys? how does he utilize them? Does he prefer to follow the directions and the diagrams, or head off in his own way?
I remember reading abouit Andrew Wyeth, and how when he was maybe in the third grade his father took him out of school and let him loose with the paints. He was afraid, and rightly so, that the schools would ignore and tamp down the creativity in his son and it would be too late.

Creative, independent thinkers are not necessarily the star pupils in the class.

Comment by judyt54

As Peter Ustinov said, “people who reach the top of the tree are those who haven’t got the qualifications to detain them at the bottom”.

Comment by Rob

i hate it when i fucking agree with you campbell.

Comment by andy@cynic

I ❤️❤️❤️ this photo.

Jemma xoxox

Comment by Jemma King

The fact that Otis didn’t care/notice that Santa is black or white shows that you’re doing a lot of great things. You can’t tell someone to be open-minded and expect them to change – they need to practice acceptance every day. Rarely can you find a better place to practice acceptance than public school, at least from my experience.

Comment by Brent

Good post Brother Rob…..Check out The School Of Life
I think you’d dig. They’re beautiful human beings.

Comment by Paul Macfarlane

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