Animal School

I have seen this story in many variations and wanted to capture it here. I think that it really captures the potential problems with treating all kids “equally” rather then individually.

This version is by R.H. Reeves, as quoted in the book The Art of Education by Linda Dobson (page 186).

Animal School 

Once upon a time, the animals decided they must do something heroic to meet the problems of a “New World,” so they organized a school.  They adopted an activity curriculum consisting of running, climbing, swimming, and flying.  To make it easier to administer, all animals took all subjects.

The duck was excellent in swimming, better in fact than his instructor, and made excellent grades in flying, but he was very poor in running.  Since he was low in running he had to stay after school and also drop swimming to practice running.  This was kept up until his webbed feet were badly worn, and he was only average in swimming.  But average was acceptable in school, so nobody worried about that except the duck.

The rabbit started at the top of the class in running but had a nervous breakdown because of so much makeup in swimming.

The squirrel was excellent in climbing until he developed frustrations in the flying class where his teacher made him start from the ground up instead of from the tree-top down.  He also developed charley horses from over-exertion, and he got a “C” in climbing and a “D” in running.

The eagle was a problem child and had to be disciplined severely.  In climbing class he beat all the others to the top of the tree but insisted on using his own way of getting there.

At the end of the year, an abnormal eel that could swim exceedingly well and could also run, climb and fly a little had the highest average and was valedictorian.

The prairie dogs stayed out of school and fought the tax levy, because the administration would not add digging and burrowing to the curriculum.  They apprenticed their children to the badger and later joined the groundhogs and gophers to start a successful private school.


About throwingmarshmallows

I am a homeschooling mom to two sweet, energetic boys although I am probably not exactly what you would expect (definitely NOT your stereotypical homeschooler, if there is really such a thing). I support progressive political causes (yes, liberals can and do homeschool!) and I have found a spiritual home in the Unitarian Universalist Church. I have no real idea of how I want to use this blog, but will probably focus on homeschooling, things that I am learning from my boys, personal thoughts and opinions and maybe some liberal politics thrown in, who knows!
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3 Responses to Animal School

  1. Cindy says:

    Hhmmm. I recognize this version . . . LOL! I’ve seen other versions here and there, and I still prefer this one :-)

  2. Kim c says:

    This reminds me of this story, set to a moving soundtrack just to make you cry


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