Sitting at a desk is a skill?

I was blog-hopping this morning, and read somewhere – it doesn’t matter where, as we’ve all heard this one eventually – how a person asked, “Won’t she learn how to sit still at a desk?”

I thought about this – actually, I had a few quick thoughts which are rather unlady-like. Then I thought about my kids, who have not spent a lot of time at a desk, at least not conventionally speaking. I’m going to skip over using Addison as an example for a change, as he is leaving for college in two weeks and will be spending plenty of time at a desk in the next two years, and will manage nicely thanks.

Sarah is the oldest of our children to reach near-adulthood without ever attending school. We did visit a few times, though. Aside from a couple of years of school-in-box, Sarah has never had to sit at a desk for anything. I fail to see how this is a needed skill in her life as well, considering she is also in the workforce. At her place of employment, there are no desks.

I can’t say there are no desks at home either. We did have an overabundance of them, as they were handy for individual craft work when they were not holding stacks of books and papers. Now we just have Emma’s desk (more a small table really, constantly full of items), this computer desk, oh, and the girl’s computer desk. Addison has two desks in his room, one for the computer, one for other things, I think storage.

Mostly, the people in our house sit at a desk when they want to use a computer. They did not receive any instructions on this, each one merely sat down, or crawled up on the chair, as the case may be.

I noted with careful observation the rest of my children, who have also never been to school, and their learning habits.

Emma spent quite a bit of time sitting on her bed drawing three detailed pictures, with text. She sprawled on the floor, lego everywhere and built various constructions. The floor was also good for exploring Cuisinaire rods. The couch and the bed were good for looking at books and sharing stories (and cuddles). (Oh, and jumping.) The dining room table was used to practise table-setting, drawing various pictures to express emotions, and looking at sales flyers.

Meaghan sat in the comfy oversized living room chair for literally hours and read a book. She also sat at the small kitchen table we have, quite still, while she concentrated on recipes in various cookbooks. Then she made fruit muffins. She also used the dining room table for craft work, reading, writing and using the laptop.

I concluded that learning to sit at a desk is much like learning to sit at the dining room table: you just do.

Author: andrea

Older, possibly wiser, still forgetful.

2 thoughts on “Sitting at a desk is a skill?”

  1. I agree with you. Learning to sit at a desk doesn’t need several hours, five days a week, for 13 years in order to be skillful at it.

    But I think what people are referring to when they ask this question, are the “how to behave at school” skills. How to be quiet, sit still, listen to the teacher and do what you’re told.

    I believe this skill is not learned. It’s inherent. Kids either have an easy time doing this, or they don’t. Years and years of practice don’t increase this skill. Maturity and a good relationship with the teacher can indeed affect this. But the only way for someone who is not naturally akin to sitting still at a desk to learn how to do that, is by something breaking them. And that is NOT how I want my kids to learn how to sit at a desk and be quiet.

    If and when my kids need to be in a job or a class that requires this kind of “school” behavior, they will do it because it will be necessary in order to acheive their goals. Not because they are being told that if they don’t, they’ll be sent to the principle’s office, or given a check on the board. They will sit still and be quiet because they will want to learn what the teacher has to teach. If they don’t want to learn that, they won’t be there in the first place.

    Learning to sit at a desk = learning to stand in line = learning to raise your hand to get permission to go to the bathroom.

  2. I agree wholeheartedly. We went desk shopping this weekend for the boy and found that all desk nowadays are basically computer desks. So, I think the lure of the blue interactive screen will teach kids how to sit there soon enough.

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