Radical Unschooling

#100 Days of Home Ed…Day 30

And it only took her 30 days to finally get around to home ed?!?!

Yes, today after ALL that background about PanKwake, autism and Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA) I begin to explain WHY home ed is not just the BEST choice for PanKwake and others like her…but perhaps the ONLY choice…if it can even be called that.

To do that though, we need to understand a bit of the history of schools…

The truth is that public (US) or state (UK) schools are relatively new…less than two hundreds years.

But in that brief a time they have become a virtually unassailable institution. The ‘ultimate’ authority on what is best for OUR children.

It was not always so.

Just a couple hundred years ago, home education was the norm. Children were taught at home with their siblings, cousins and perhaps some of the servants. Priests were the most common tutors. And it was not until university…then very rarely…were they congregated in buildings called…schools.

Or if you were not wealthy, then you taught your child the basics that he needed to know. Usually math first so that no one could cheat him or her in the market. For boys, you arranged an apprenticeship where he could learn a skill such as blacksmith or cobbler. Girls, of course, needed only to know how to cook, clean, sew and carry for babies.

Then along came the Industrial Revolution…and machines replaced man for many jobs like weaving. This also meant that new skills were needed for factory workers. Yes, they perhaps needed to be able to read safety signs. But they most definitely needed to tell time…with something more accurate than the sun and seasons. They needed to learn to obey their masters too.

Oh and there was another complication…their children. What to do with their kids while they worked? All those poor, unwashed, and uneducated foundlings that ‘those’ people kept having to populate the world.

They were a commodity in a way that not even serfs had once been. At least during the feudal system there was some sort of obligation on the land owner for the care of his people…not so with factories where one person was as replaceable as the next.

The Protestant churches had the answer…SCHOOLS.

The children could be herded together just as the parents were in factories. They could be taught the basics of reading, writing and maths to make them more valuable workers. But mroe importantly they could be taught the most important skills of all…to sit there and shut up, do what the teacher (authority) told them and to do it on time.

Oh and they could be indoctrinated into religion in the process…given a pie in the sky in the sweet by-and-by as a heavenly reward for a lifetime of meaningless work that made others rich and kept them locked in poverty.

Not much has changed in two hundred years, folks.

Schools are still more about training up workers than educating human beings…why do you think that there are no classes in critical thinking and little emphasis as there once was (and still is in private/paid schools) for art, music and deep thought provoking exploration of history, philosophy, languages and literature.

This video of comedian George Carlin…says it all… (WARNING: Strong language)

But being a rebel…this girl don’t buy it…

And I sure AIN’T selling it…cramming it…forcing it down…my children’s throats. Or allowing anyone else to either.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. I do NOT think that teachers are bad people. I have two children who have been teachers. The truth is…the system is just as demeaning and controlling of these well-meaning and idealistic adults as it is of the children. Schools are one of the worst places to work too.

And as Carlin said…

It will NEVER change!

In fact, it only keeps getting worse with ‘standardized’, one size fits all and ‘no child left behind’ methods. Because as I have repeatedly pointed out…our children are unique and different. Whether they be special needs or not. All of them are SPECIAL.

It was not always this way though. Even after those ‘apprenticeship’ days were over, there was a recognition that not all students were ‘equal’.

Even in my lifetime. When I started school, each class had groups…red, white and blue. Not special or gifted…just colors or sometimes animals or flowers. But what the teachers were doing was segregating the students by learning abilities so each could get what he or she needed.

The ‘whites’ (yes, all kinds of hidden messages there, folks) were the gifted and talented. The early readers. They were given extra work to keep them engaged.

The ‘blues’ (maybe for blue-collar?) were average…normal if you will.

Then there were the reds. Slow. Needed a bit more help. No labels like autistic or dyslexia were necessary then. Just a bit more time on the basics.

Part of each day…things like science, history, art and music we all did together. And things like reading and math we were taught in our groups. That way we were not really comparing ourselves to the whites or even the blues…just other reds.

I know because I spent the first four years of my school life as a red. Yes, the blogger and writer with two degrees and loads of certifications…the life-long learner…has mild dyslexia. I could not read until I was ten.

But when I did…nothing could stop me.

And that system allowed the teacher to recognize it too. In the space of fourth grade, I went from a red to a white.

Unfortunately, schools today cannot even manage the complex needs of the brightest on the autistic spectrum. Instead they are forced into…one size fits all. When in fact, one size fits no one.

But that’s enough about schools for today…tomorrow we can lay more of that foundation for home ed…and look at how a ‘system’ failed my child. Why I ‘choose’ to home educate PanKwake.

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