What’s the point of school? Why are children sent to school? What do we hope they’ll get from it?

I think a good school should show children what’s available to learn and encourage them to discover as much as they can. It should make them excited about all the possibilities and hungry for knowledge.

My school did the opposite for me. Looking back now, I can recognise that some of the teaching was less than inspiring. But I think the main problem was that I was made to learn things I wasn’t ready for.

I received a mark of 29% for my first History exam. Although I worked at it and revised before the exam, that was all I managed, and later on I came to the conclusion that history before the 17th century  is just too boring to remember. But my poor grade was also the result of not being used to thinking and writing fast, because that’s what you have to do in a History exam.

And then, in English, we had to read a book called Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff. This historical adventure novel is set in Roman Britain in the 2nd century and I hated it. Looking back, that could be because I didn’t understand it, because I wasn’t ready for it. Maybe if I read it now I’d enjoy it. All it told me then was that ancient history was boring. I was happy to be able to leave ancient history and move on to times that made more sense to me. Whether that was because those times were closer to modern times or because I’d matured in the meantime and was more able to follow, I don’t know, but I haven’t returned to ancient history since then.

The Beltane ChoiceUntil now. I won an ecopy of Nancy Jardine’s novel, The Beltane Choice, which is set in Celtic/Roman Britain in the year 71. I started reading it with some apprehension and I did find it a little slow at the beginning. But the writing was good enough for me to keep going and soon I became involved in the story of the two main characters, really hoping they would be able to overcome all the odds.

This is such a beautifully told story that even I could put my preconceived notions aside and immerse myself in the lives of the Celtic warriors. Even the sex scenes, as I mentioned in a previous post, are described with passion and sensitivity and just the right amount of detail.

Maybe, one day, I’ll have another go at art – another subject I hated at school. But I can’t see myself ever playing hockey again!

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