Hmm. When I saw this blog post about the role of parents in learning, I didn’t know how to approach it. My parents have had no input in my learning, but they definitely had an impact on it. I don’t want to say they were unsupportive, as they did what they thought was best for me, but education was not respected in my household growing up. I’m sure that if going to school was not a legal requirement, I would not have been there.
That’s not to say that they would have been pleased if I dropped out. On the contrary, they wanted me to go and get decent grades but they didn’t want me to pursue post-compulsory education. They wanted me to do well enough to be employable. They didn’t believe that I was capable of more than minimum wage work, but they thought I’d have a job for life and possibly I’d get promoted over time (for context, they had a 1970s mentality in the 2000s – times had changed, but they hadn’t).
I often wonder what my life would like like if my parents supported my education. But the idea is so alien that I cannot begin to imagine it. Even now, they don’t talk about my time in university – my Mum occasionally asks How’s college? I know it’s just small talk because my answer has been the same for years.
I’m not sure education is something they really understand. It’s not surprising. It sounds like my parents had a bad time in school; it’s no wonder they left early. My Dad went out to work, my Mum went home to care for an ill Mother. Nobody checked up on them. I don’t know much about school during the 1950s, but I don’t think learning support was around and teachers seemed like another species. I haven’t met a teacher nowadays who doesn’t talk about student-centred learning, from my parents’ accounts of their schools it sounds like it was all about discipline. And it was the same for my grandparents and great-grandparents.
I look at my sister and my nephew and I’m happy to say that I think we have decades of supportive learning ahead.
Even though it’s early days, learning is something my sister and brother-in-law care deeply about. I do too. I’m saving up to get my nephew his first Schoenhut and I’m very excited about when I’ll be able to take him to museums (I don’t know whether he’ll be as excited though!) I understand baby development is complex and all methods have their share of criticism, but we are learning about ways to help him learn.
And I wonder if that’s the key with learning? It’s not whether you are doing it right or wrong, it’s whether you’re doing it and enjoying it.