I matriculated in 1994 - nearly 20 years ago (I still mentally have to check that because I can't believe it!). Cellphones were barely known. If I wanted to speak to my friends I picked up the good old telephone. Internet was in its infancy. If I needed to research for a History essay that was due I resorted to visiting the library and actually reading and making notes... no printing off at random.
Todays kids simply tap their phones and they are instantly connected around the world via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Whatsapp, Viber, Flickr, sms... want to know who sang that song or lyrics, Google. Arguing over last nights score in the soccer, tap up the info. Need help on a project - there's Wikipedia (even I resorted to that now in writing this post!).
Is this good or bad? Seriously I don't have the answer to that. These days we really do live in a small world. How often do we get a friend request on Facebook and see that John Smith knows Jane Jones and hey we went to school with Jane Jones and work with John Smith - small world! It is scary.
Sadly though it has meant that there is little left for the kids of today to discover. They have it all at the fingertips constantly and are often by the ages of 14-15-16 "worldly wise". They think they know it all because they can just tap it into their little mini computers. I think that their true experience of life is lost that way. The world has become contained in the little phone you carry around in your pocket.
More importantly, and the reason for this blog post, is the way we educate them is changing - rapidly. I went to school for 12 years. From Grade 1 to Matric. I did the work, wrote the exams and passed. Slogged it out over homework. Fought with my dad that bloody apples and oranges are not the same so how is it that x is supposed to equal y in algebra!!! (I think my dad is still amazed that I managed a C in Matric Finals - hell I'm surprised I managed a pass full stop!!!).
All moms have photos like the above scattered around their homes. I have kept all the reports, drawings, Valentines cards and various other milestones from when the boys started creche. I have the School Bus album to put each years photo into as they progress from grade to grade... hmmm.. again this is going to teach me not to plan to far ahead as life is what happens while you are busy planning. Both my boys have now managed to skip the conventional educational route.
It is hard to accept. As a parent you have certain expectations, hopes and dreams for your kids. And it starts with those first 12 years from Grade 1 to Grade 12. That isn't going to happen for Nathan and Kyle. Rather they are going to have an education that works best for them as individuals. Is it the right decision? I don't know. I have to follow my instincts and simply try and hope that instead of clipping them short it helps them spread their wings and fly to the futures that wait for them.
Time will tell. As it always does