My kids answer some questions about school

Carlow IT, Wexford campus

My kids answer some questions about school

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My four kids go to three different schools which inevitably means I miss out on some important piece of information or the due date for payment on a school trip because I can’t remember who sent me what and when. I’m one of those annoying parents who don’t seem to be paying attention in class.

I’ve gone back to school myself actually (pictured above)! Our local third level institution is offering night classes in a higher diploma in digital media and design. This is my second week and so far it’s the best fun ever! It has been about 25 years since I climbed wide wooden staircases and hung out in the student cafeteria during coffee break so I’m feeling a bit nostalgic.

I’m learning stuff that I’m surprised I wasn’t taught the first time round in my degree that would have been really good to know at the time, but then maybe I was and I just wasn’t paying attention in class back then!

Anyway I did like learning, and I obviously still do, but I didn’t like everything about school, or university. I didn’t always agree with my lecturers and at times felt adrift or lonely. I think everybody goes through those patches so I was curious to find out what my kids think about school and whether they ever feel left out or different.

Once again I sat down with each child individually so they couldn’t listen to or influence one another’s replies and asked them a set of questions. My children are 16, 14 (birthday was yesterday!), 11 and 9 years old, their answers are noted by age order, from oldest to youngest.

What is the purpose of school?

  • To teach us all to learn in a certain way
  • To learn
  • To learn
  • To learn

What has been the best year of school so far and why?

  • 4th year (current year in secondary school)
  • 6th class (final year in primary school, two years ago) because it was stress free and fun
  • 6th Class (current year) because it’s really fun and your class has all the jobs in the school
  • Junior infants (first year of primary) because it was simple

What is the best part of your day? (apart from break)

  • PE because I feel good afterwards
  • English because it’s more relaxed and I like the things we learn
  • Two o’clock because then we do all the fun things like computers, art and Sing Out Loud
  • Art because it’s just so fun

What is the worst? (apart from homework)

  • Maths – it’s so confusing
  • Maths – it’s very boring
  • 8 o’clock, because I have to wake up
  • English because we get to do loads of writing

If you could change one thing about school, what would it be?

  • Make it a shorter day
  • No homework
  • Make it later in the day
  • Make art the only subject

What school rules would you change?

  • You would be allowed to leave school in your PE gear, you wouldn’t have to wear brown socks, no homework on the weekends, be allowed on the secret stairs, not get detention if you forget your student card and there are definitely more.
  • I wish you could download things onto your ipad besides school work
  • I would like to be allowed into the ditches at the bottom of the field because it’s really fun
  • Be allowed in the ditches because there are things there I’d like to play with like a sword, a hurl, a shovel and an empty coke bottle

What would differences do you imagine the schools in the future will have?

  • They probably won’t have any books and will have escalators instead of stairs
  • Doubt there will still be teachers and you can do it all from home
  • More technology
  • There will be a pool in the school and museums and zoos and aquariums so that you have more looking lessons and less learning lessons

How are schools different now that in the past?

  • You can buy lunch and there’s central heating
  • The curriculum has changed
  • Girls can go to school
  • There used to be one bike and the first person to run and get the bike at the end of the day could ride it home. People brought milk to drink and eggs to eat.

What is your favourite subject?

  • Photograpy
  • English – I get to take a break from speaking Irish (he goes to an all Irish/Gaeilge speaking school)
  • Art or PE
  • Art

Design a school

  • There would be a lot more practical subjects, more theatre like drama, art and dance, one day a week you don’t have to wear a uniform, you can have lunch cards.
  • There would be no homework, no mock exams or Junior certificate, classes would be more physical and you would have more subject choices. If you are not good at one you’d be allowed to drop it so that you can focus more on your strengths.
  • I would make sure there is a hall for PE. The tables would have storage for books like in the old fashioned desks.
  • It would be lavender coloured with black stripes going down it, big circular windows. The inside would be dark blue with light-up stars. the carpet would be black and white chequered. The roof would be orange!

Have you ever felt lonely of left out?

  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • No, except for one time

What happened?

  • In first year of secondary school one of my friends was writing the names of all the girls in her friend group up on the board and another girl rubbed my name out
  • At the start of the year in secondary school I didn’t know anyone except for one person
  • My friends walked off without me
  • Everybody picked to go with another girl and not me

What did you do about it?

  • Nothing at first, if they are going to be nasty it’s their problem. Eventually I told her she was doing things that were unkind and she left me alone after that.
  • I considered leaving school but after a while I got to know others.
  • I went and sat on my own and other people joined me after a while.
  • I tried not to cry and then one of my friends came over and said sorry.

What about you, do you have fond memories of school or are they best relegated to the dusty recesses of your banana-beslimed school bag? Did you absolutely hate PE (like me) because your mum wouldn’t let you shave your legs? Or maybe you never even left school, you loved it so much you went back and became a teacher? What school rules would you change?

This is the next post in a series of interviews with my kids, you can read my previous interviews here:

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31 thoughts on “My kids answer some questions about school”

  1. This is really insightful Liberty. I also love learning and it’s great to hear that things are going so well in night school for you. I am so intrigued by the ‘secret stairs’ this sounds like something straight out of Harry Potter!! Thanks so much for sharing with us at #TweensTeensBeyond

  2. I adore these Liberty. Such truth here and much of it resonates. I giggled at the ‘not wanting to do PE because your mum wouldn’t let you shave your legs’! I used to write my own notes for PE and those of my peers. How did we get away with it? Periods every week!! Not that I’d let on to my daughter. Keep these coming. We all love them. Thanks for joining us at #TTB

  3. What great answers (and questions). Some very considered. I hate the idea of anyone feeling left out. I’m glad they all got past that one. The first rule I’d have changed was our uniform. It even included a cape with stupidly place hand holes. #TweensTeensBeyond

  4. I love this series Liberty – it is always enlightening to read what our children really think. I expect that you are pleased that they know the purpose of school! Not so great to hear about them feeling left out but lovely that they have been honest about the circumstances and there was a positive outcome. #TweensTeensBeyond

      1. I’m sure they might not have been in favour of the teachers and our least favourite subjects anyway. Extended play, shorter classes, longer holidays, no humiliating pupils .. that sort of thing!😀

  5. So interesting to read all the different answers that your children gave to questions about school. I love the idea of schools of the future having museums and aquariums – that sounds like fun and the lavender and black striped school sounds very interesting! It did make me a little sad though to read about the times when your children felt left out although it does sound like they handled it well. #coolmumclub

  6. Oh my word, they said so many great things here! I don’t think homework on weekends is a good thing at all, they should be allowed to not think of school for a couple of days. I’m not that keen on homework full-stop actually, although I generally didn’t mind it when I was at school myself. I liked the learning aspects of school, but I didn’t like the constant battles of who was cool or not, and all the rumours etc. I had several very good friends, but there were always conflicts going on in one way or other. And for one year we had a head teacher who was fresh out of training and realised that he’d chosen the wrong job… after that year with us, he left his teaching career and became a prison guard instead!! 😅xx #BlogCrush

  7. Some of these answers made me laugh, but the ones about being left out made me sad. I remember feeling that way a lot at school! It seems like they handled each situation well, though. Also, I’m with them on not liking Maths – it’s my least favourite, too!

  8. Oh gosh I choked up reading those last couple of questions about feeling lonely. Kids really can be so cruel sometimes. But I’m glad they all managed to sort out their issues. And I hope you have a fab time on your new course! #blogcrush

    1. Yes, they are and as adults we have forgotten what it was like, but then kids are so much more resillient than we are at times! They shrug it off and carry on. This interview highlighted these situations and I am grateful for the opportunity to talk about them so they are better equipped to deal with future incidences.

  9. Year 6 does seem to be the best year, mine would agree with that (well, all but one who hasn’t reached it yet!) And what kids actually likes homework! (well, I did, I used to ask for more, no wonder I was so unpopular, lol)

  10. This was such an interesting read – I love hearing things direct from their mouths – they can be so insightful. But this bit really made me sad – “In first year of secondary school one of my friends was writing the names of all the girls in her friend group up on the board and another girl rubbed my name out” – kids can be so cruel! Thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub with this x

  11. Oh, goodness me, these are wise (yes to no homework, being allowed to play in the ditches, and more art and such), hilarious (the design of that pink, light up stars, orange, stripes stuff would make me dizzy… but evidently would make others deliriously happy), and absolutely fun to read. Thank you! 🙂

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