Come on, you've got to get up. Did you have any homework? No I don't know where your blazer is. I promise we'll buy some shoes that fit tonight. Can you eat some breakfast & clean your teeth - now. No you haven't got melon in your packed lunch. Yes you do have to clean off that tattoo. No, you can't wear a loom band round your ankle. GET UP NOW! Shouldn't you have left by now?
We managed 3 out of 4 this morning. Year 5 √Year 8 √Year 11 √Year 14 X (still hanging out on the beach in Portugal) 75%! I'll take that!
Same old story? Facing a bit of a struggle to get them out the door this week? Is that because school itself is the same old story? Do we have an outdated curriculum robbing you, your children and the world, of a generation of rounded, sociable, caring, intelligent, grown-ups?
We have four children, from 8-18 years old. I've been a governor of their school. I feel the pain - every single day! It's depressing to have 8 year olds having all their summer enthusiasm knocked out of them, even before they've got to the cynical teenage stage. But maybe that isn't cynicism? Consider it could be frustration; frustration and boredom at facing an outdated curriculum that isn't preparing them so that they can leave school...and then go on to have the best days of their life?
I think the kids know it. Us parents know it! But yet no one is doing anything about it?
How many of the following questions about your children's schooling can you actually answer positively to? How many marks does your school get for engaging your children, and you, in them growing up to make a great and positive contribution to this world - while having a laugh at the same time!
1 Are your children demotivated by the topics?
Are they being taught 'stuff' they consider relevant and interesting? How often have you needed long division or algebra since you left school? Apart from looking it up so you can try and help your own kids learn something they will never use again.
2 Are your kids being taught unless they achieve more than they naturally can, every single time, they are failing?
Our children's natural working level is to achieve 'B' grades but, they are being taught that they must achieve an 'A' in every single piece of work, every single day, of every single week. If they don't, they must recognise they have failed.
3 Is school turning your children into perfectionists?
Never being able to complete their work on time because they can't ever believe it is 'good enough' to call 'finished' to achieve the 'higher' level that is expected of them, every single time?
4 Modern Studies
Are your kids learning about today's news and so are able to converse to anyone at any time? What is happening in Syria, and why? What should the conclusion be? Even, where actually is Syria in the world?
What about the celebrities on the front pages this summer? Why do many appear to be unfulfilled or clinically depressed? (Gazza, Robin Williams etc.) What causes that? Why do so many young people want to be 'famous'? what is it that fame doesn't provide? How can we help stop this happening to todays young kids who do go on to become famous?
What did you want to be when you were growing up? Are you doing that?
Are your kids being equipped and motivated to try and be what they want to be when they grow up? Kids are leaving school with no hope of achieving their dreams. It is better to have hope, than none at all. It is better to have tried and failed, than to have never tried. Why do we talk about them as 'dreams' and not aims or targets?
6 Are your kids being taught that employers are looking less at qualifications? They want to see passion, self-motivation and common sense.
A pass mark in any subject together with self-motivated work experience is often far better than a high pass in a difficult subject.
7 Are your kids being taught that office jobs are 90% boring unless you are doing something you love?
8 Are your kids taught to pursue the trappings of success?
Big house, fancy car, nice clothes, private gym membership etc? The very things that will trap them in an office 60 hours a week. Who's teaching them they could aim to earn less so they can do more?
9 Do your kids know what 'work' actually is?
What is an office? Who goes there? Who does what role? What happens in meetings and brainstorms? How do you succeed? How do you fail? How do you start a business and learn to fail and then start again?
10 Do your kids go to the same place every day and are schooled for an academic career that is meant to last until they are 65?
When they wont do the same job for longer than 10 years, wont work in the same place for 40 hours a week and will reach the peak of their career at 45. Are they being prepared for their entrepreneurial future?
Are your kids learning just one skill that they can always rely on?
My son goes to a school with a music specialism. What music has he done at school? Almost none. What has he done in his own time? Passed level 5 drums. I've told him if he left school with level 8 drums as his main achievement I would be happy. It gives him a chance to live his dreams AND a skill that he can always fall back on to earn an income.
12 Design & Technology
Are your kids learning to code?
The biggest employment opportunity we have - and will have for years. Any 16 year old who can code half decently could earn themselves £200 a day in London - tomorrow.
13 Private Education
Are your kids joining you on the treadmill?
Some of the unhappiest parents are those that were privately educated. They had an expectation placed on them to achieve well in a traditional career and now find themselves middle aged, unhappy, stressed, depressed and trapped in a job they dislike. Why? So they can afford to pay the fees for..guess what!?
14 Business studies
Are your kids taught about marketing?
So that they know the cool 'stuff' they want (NOW!), has actually been very deliberately created by a pony-tailed, balding agency 'creative', 'old person' with a multi-million pound budget, just to make them feel better about themselves?
Are your kids motivated to eat well and do sport?
Versus the onslaught of multi-million ad campaigns, to get them to eat sugar filled 'stuff' like the newly launched, Kellogg's chocolate cornflakes. What next? Chocolate-chip porridge?
Who is giving your kids the feeling of self worth that means they don't need to find it in the number of 'likes' they get on Instagram or Snapchat?
Do you even know what Snapchat is?
17 Are your kids being taught that success is having fun & creating memories with friends and family?
Not reading about other people doing it online.
How many did you answer positively to? If it's less than all of them, send an email to your school head (maybe even copy this) and ask to discuss changing it - before it's too late.
Lets get a contemporary curriculum in place that motivates children, teachers and us parents - before its too late...
Molly, Rose, Bob & Audrey. 3 out of 4 in school this week, on time, wearing clothes that fit - I'll take that!