(I meant to only write about how it’s awesome that our life as a homeschooling/unschooling family feels like summer vacation everyday. Instead, I end up writing this.)
How do I know?
The kids are out of
prison school and can now be found where they belong: the playgrounds, the parks, in the communities and gasp, at home.
I don’t want to be harsh. I don’t want to judge anyone. I know that every situation is different, that everyone feels differently about school and education, that every child has different learning styles and needs.
Also, I’m not anti-school. (Or maybe I am. I just don’t want to be known for what I’m against but what I’m for.)
I went to school for 20 + years. And my experience wasn’t “bad” at all. I made friends. I grew up. I learned a lot. I have a degree. I know how to write. I can get around China and speak Putonghua.
But I still don’t think school is necessary to learning (or in the bigger picture, a happy and healthy life which is what we all want in the end). At all.
In fact, the more I read and research about education and learning, and the more I pay attention to how my daughter learns, and the more I learn about the creative potential inherent in every human being (especially my own) – the more I am convinced that school harms more than it helps.
(And I will have to write a post on how I think schooling harmed me personally.)
So many of us are still so attached to the idea of school. We can’t imagine life without it, much less our children’s lives without it. What the hell are we going to do without school?
And it’s really a practical question as much as a philosophical one.
Who will teach our children? Where will they go?
No parent is available to be with them most of the day, let alone teach them what they need to know.
I’m not the first one to talk about this. There are so many who have gone before me and have shared their best thoughts and insights on the subject matter. Why isn’t this an established fact already – that school kills creativity, that school is meant to chug out cookie-cutter employees who will work for the Man, that school is a sorry mess of administrators and teachers and parents desperately trying to make a sure-to-fail system work? I don’t know.
But I’m wondering…why are people still sending kids to school? Why am I still in the minority?
Because we can’t afford to keep them at home.
Because we don’t know how to live our lives with children alongside us.
Because we don’t WANT to live our lives with our children alongside us.
(And I want to insert here that I’m not advocating we be around our children 24/7. Goodness no! But more on that for another post.)
No judgment if that’s your reason. But let’s be honest.
Are we really sending our children to school because we believe the system works? (Maybe that is your case, and if so, I’d like to hear.) Are we really willing to gamble our children’s lives for 18 years and send them to institutions that rob them of the opportunity to live their best life now? Are we really willing to let school steal away our children’s dreams?
We know so much more now than our parents or our great grand-parents. We’ll chalk it up to their ignorance that they didn’t keep us from school. But it’s time to really think about our choices here. And what they mean for us and most especially for our children.
If I know then what I know now, and if my parents were receptive to the idea, and if children were heard and not just seen and can actually make choices that affect their whole life — back in the day, I WOULD CHOOSE TO NOT GO TO SCHOOL.
I would choose to trust my innate curiosity and ability to learn.
I would choose Play.
I would choose my friends.
I would choose my passions.
I would choose my Freedom.
But I was a kid in a culture where I didn’t have a right to choose. It was my parent’s job to do that.
Times are changing. We live in a new economy. We are discovering and learning so much. The world is both shrinking and expanding. Academic excellence is NOT a predictor of how happy, healthy and successful one will be later in life.
So let’s quit shoving it down our children’s throats. Let’s give our children the chance to be children. This kid suggests to make sure our children have ample time to DO NOTHING. And live everyday like it’s summer vacation.
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