Radical Unschooling

#100 Days of Home Ed…Day 12

 

So yesterday, I left you with George Carlin’s quote on education, critical thinking and THE Man, as we call it in this house. Truth is that system works pretty damn well.

But I am not bitter or angry with it. It is what it is…and exists for a reason.

Here is another hard truth…some parents CAN’T home educate.

Not necessarily for the reason you think either. In these days of internet connectivity, children really can teach themselves. If you don’t believe me, believe the life’s work of this TED Prize winner, Sugata Mitra. So a parent’s lack of educational qualifications or even their own learning challenges is no longer the barrier that it once was.

No, the real barrier to home ed for some parents is much simpler…

They don’t LIKE their kids enough!

Note: I did not say…love. I believe that most parents ‘love’ their children. But it is much more rare to find ones who genuinely LIKE their children. Who want to spend this kind of time with them. Who truly sees the immense potential in them. And who views them not as tabula rasa…blank slates for them to fill as they see fit. But who recognize them as HUMAN BEINGS with minds and feelings of their own. Who places their child’s wants and needs on par with their own.

That is the one key ingredient for a home educator. Liking your child…and children in general.

Otherwise, 24/7/365 will drive you both insane…and do more harm than good to your child.

So as much as I may not want PanKwake or any child to be the victim of the education system, I realize that it serves a valuable purpose. Giving to some children what their parents cannot…not teachers nor education…but space. What I talked about yesterday…free childcare. It still serves those purposes admirably.

But it is important to recognize something else too…

Education is a SYSTEM.

And the greatest purpose of ANY system is to self-perpetuate…to survive. You see this in the ultimate ‘system’…the human body. When one cell begins to grow oddly, it is killed off by the others…otherwise it becomes cancer.

My child and I were cancers upon the school and education system…once upon a time. We had more needs, took more from the whole, than we could give back. Keeping her there strained the system…and harmed her.

Yes, maybe you think that is wrong. That the system OUGHT to provide for ALL children what they need. Do you realize how IMPOSSIBLE that would be? One adult with twenty-five to thirty diverse human beings with individual needs, aptitudes, gifts, challenges, interests and aspirations. Just how would you do that? With what money?

If you look back to our natural roots…the village, those few indigenous peoples that remain, you would see a vastly different approach to ‘educating’ and raising children. Thirty to fifty adults with shared ethos raising five to ten children at any one time. Children like everything else in those cultures are not possessions…not MY kids…but communal property…the continuation of life for the whole village. They are treated as precious (as are the women who bore them…but that is another blog for another time).

In the end, it all comes down to this seen from this Mister Spock logic…

But as pop culture as that quote is, its roots lie thousands of years ago in the works of ancient Greek philosophers…Plato and Socrates… In fact, one of the largest debates in philosophy is society versus the individual.

For me, there has never been a question. I am a Transcendentalist. I believe in the basic good of man (singular…not plural) and nature. I believe in self-reliance and rugged individualism. And my greatest difficulties are always with society and systems…be they education, medical or political.

So for me…home education is always a first choice. And the best.

But I recognize my paradigm…and I realize that this path is not for everyone. And as much as I sometimes want to scream at others…just home educate why don’t you? I know that may not be what is best in their situation…for them or the child.

I suppose in some ways like Spock I made the choice to protect the MANY by removing me and my child…the ONE. Oh, and as with this one…the next movie turns out pretty darn happy. The story ain’t over yet, folks!

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