Tuesday, 17 September 2013

When is a holiday not a holiday?When it's a lesson.

The British  government in their wisdom have decided that head teachers have little discretion regarding holidays during term time. Instead they have a duty to tell the local authority when a child takes ten working days off during term time On top of that parents may be fined.

Once again the government are showing how very little they understand about the process of education and how little trust they have in a parent's ability to know what is best for their children. It may surprise them to know that it's not just about getting a cheaper holiday (although that in itself is a valuable budgeting lesson!). For some parents it's about getting time to spend time together as a family, or for people like us, being able to take an autistic child on holiday when it's quiet or educating your children about other  people and cultures.

You learn so much on holiday. This year we  went for a family holiday to Portugal and, as usual ,I kept notes of the things we saw and learned during our stay.

The first thing I noticed when I woke up on our first morning was the smell of pine through the veranda window and the squeaky chirp of some colourful green, red and yellow birds with beaks like a buderigar. These, I was reliably informed by our hostess, were Love birds roaming free in the wild.

We saw storks too with their great matted nests of sticks on the top of wooden posts

and Cattle Egrets on the backs of horses as they grazed in the fields.

Lemon trees and black grapes grew in abundance and hibiscus and bourganvillia grew everywhere.

We discussed how the fruit and flowers had waxy leaves to  help them  retain moisture in countries where the soil was barren and dry in summer.

Portugal is also the worlds leading producer of cork and the bark of the cork trees was cut horizontally round the trunk and the bark removed and piled up in timber yards.

As usual the  holidays enabled us to read books of interest rather than 'prescribed books. Whilst my son read about pirates I enjoyed Driving over Lemons a story about living on a small holding in Andulucia and Remembrance, a fictional story about the first world war..

We experimented with the local food too, visiting local food markets

and trying the local produce we saw (although we didn't try sardines!)

Sport and P.E were covered by daily swimming sessions in the pool and frequent trips to the beach to jump the breakers! We even invested in a body board!

And art involved my autistic son experimenting with his bridge camera.

So you see, we actually learned such a lot and got to spend precious time as a family together so that we could recharge our batteries and return refreshed and ready to learn even more!

No comments:

Post a Comment