Saturday 25 May 2013

All those questions children ask!

I mentioned to a couple of my friends yesterday that I question how much a primary school child actually learns from school itself.  I'm not saying they learn nothing but  I honestly believe that a lot of what a child learns at that age is from learning in their own time:  when they are walking around town, a farm, a supermarket, when they play with their toys, when they ask all those questions.  And on the subject of all those questions, how can a teacher answer 30+ children questions every moment of the school day?  They can't it's impossible, even the best, most inspiring teacher in the world would not be able to answer them all because there will be too many.  I don't think most children are as inclined to ask a teacher questions as they are their own parent, someone they trust completely.

Maybe if I hadn't home educated my girls I wouldn't have realised how many questions are even in a child's head - I can only go by my own experiences, perhaps every parent realises this, perhaps other parents get a condensed version after school hours, as I say I can only go by my own experiences.  I did read somewhere recently, here in the Telegraph in fact, that children ask their parents more questions than a teacher or even the Prime Minister himself!
Here is a extract from the Telegraph article:

It is during meal times when most questions are asked, young children rattling off 11.

This is closely followed by a routine trip to the shops, prompting 10, and the reading of a bed-time story, which typically results in nine.

Interestingly, a huge 82 per cent of infants apparently go to their mum first rather than their dad if they have a query.

A quarter of children, 24 per cent, said they go to their mother first if they have a question because their dad will just say 'ask your mum'.

The sorts of questions mums tend to get asked varies greatly, but the most difficult include 'why is water wet?' and 'what are shadows made of?'.

Other, more awkward, queries include 'why do we have to go to school?' and 'why are you so old?'.

In all, a mother's knowledge is in such demand they get asked around 105,120 questions a year by their children.

The research found the amount of questions asked by children differs with age and gender, four year old girls being the most inquisitive.

At the other end of the spectrum, nine-year-old boys are more content with their knowledge, asking 144 questions per day - one every five minutes 12 seconds.

And I have four very inquisitive girls and all four of them are chatting constantly mainly filling my head with questions they want answered - no wonder I am so very tired every night!  All I can say is thank you Google!  I keep it no secret that I use Google, it is a great tool but then I have a 10 year old with a head full of questions for me daily and the questions definitely get harder to answer the older they get. 

This all has lead me to think that surely a child's parent is undoubtedly, so long as they are willing to seek out those answers as best as they can, the best teacher a child could ever have?  When a child asks a question off their own back they listen more intently for the answer.  If you try to teach a child something that doesn't interest them then you often get the in through one ear out through the other happen.

This to me makes sense, as after all, people (adults and children) only ever really learn when they are interested in what they are learning about, when they seek the answers for themselves, when they discover for themselves things that are new to them. 

That is another sad thing about the school system; it is not an attack on teachers just the system when I say this - schools and the number of student per classes are so large these days, a teacher could never give a child what a parent could at home - I believe that it is not just the one on one experience that home educated children receive that makes the experience so rich but the trust a child has between them and their parent that allows them to ask all these questions.


  1. Like you I get asked a huge anount of questions each day. We use google so much that now my two eldest boys will google on tbeir phones and then come to me with the question and the answer. Our first two years of home-ed was done without a computer. Looking back I don't know how we did it !!

    1. I would be lost without Google, you must have done an awful lot of scanning through books for the answers in the past. Yay for Google! :)