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Amaryllis: Educated

In News by Lutyens RubinsteinLeave a Comment

The well-known adage is that education is wasted on the young. This saying has been around for years, but has remained just that – until now. Actually, I don’t think all education is wasted, the way that it is currently being imparted is a waste, and getting worse by the minute. Creativity and imagination are being blighted by an emphasis on SATs, exams and the desire for the highest possible marks, not to mention the threat of cuts to state education leading to an even more limited school experience. Although many children seem to come out of the system with a great understanding of stress and anxiety…
Anyway, dear Education Minister, my recommendation is that children should be encouraged to read whenever they feel ready and then they can make up their own minds about what sort of things they would like to know about. Surprisingly, not every child wants to read fiction, so I am sure we would still end up with mathematicians and scientists and medics, and the rest of us wouldn’t have spent much of our youths in frustrated tears, trying and failing to understand sines and cosines in the false understanding that they would be in constant use in adulthood… This may seem a rather radical solution but drastic measures are called for as teachers leave in droves and parents are funding basic school equipment and post traumatic stress therapy.
Personally, I thirst and yearn for knowledge that I never received at school and which would be both useful and life-enhancing now: how to identify birds from song, trees from leaves, wild-flowers from sight; how to read a painting as well as I can read a book; how to raise flowers and vegetables on a small balcony; how to work a potter’s wheel. So many histories and mythologies and cultures to explore and so little time. So much time spent uselessly drawing and re-drawing ox-bow lakes (never seen one) and burning bits of litmus paper hoping someone’s hair would catch on the bunsen burner.
If I am a little late with my latest missive, it is because chocolate got in the way; but happily I can eat and read at the same time so my books of the week are:
American War by Omar El Akkad which is a terrifyingly feasible dystopian novel set around 2070 in the devastating aftermath of a second American Civil War and a fifth war in the Middle East. A really gripping read.
My second choice is Ordinary People by Diana Evans which is set in London and covers the lives of two couples in the years following the election of Barack Obama as President.

About Amaryllis


Amaryllis is our bookshop blogger.


Her pen name is taken from Alice Thomas Ellis’ Other Side of the Fire, which is unfortunately and scandalously out of print. One of the funniest bits in the book is the bodice-ripper that one of the characters is writing and the female - who slays the men with one toss of her raven locks and one glance from her fiery green eyes as she strides among the glens, faithful wolfhound by her side - is Amaryllis! And the name just seemed to suit so here we are.

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