A Good Education is NOT FOUND in Schools

testsMore and more people are coming to the realization that conventional, compulsory public school is a travesty of “education” and ideas like unschooling are taking off.

Modern public schooling closely resembles the mechanized system of an industrial factory setup. It’s not even remotely in line with the current gold standards of research into human learning and cognitive function.

Most systems of education treat the human mind as a commodity–to be controlled and molded. Predictable responses to common inputs are valued over thinking outside the box–but why?

Because our economy is built to thrive on the export of a steady stream of minds trained to placidly obey the advertising messages they’re served with.

Former New York Schoolteacher of the Year John Taylor Gatto famously said that modern schooling “doesn’t work, because its fundamental premises are mechanical, anti-human, and hostile to family life.”

So really, it’s not surprising that the average American is not particularly talented at thinking for oneself, or coming up with new and useful ideas.

We know the US ranks embarrassingly low in international measures of education, and American culture seems more and more to be glorifying stupidity. 

Many families who are serious about changing this narrative are keeping their kids out of the compulsory education system.

taxes mitochondriaOutside of the logistical trappings and top-down control of school, kids have access to the tools and freedom to learn anything they want, unfettered by the limitations and absurdities of so-called public “education”.

An unschooled child’s educational path will not look too similar to what we’ve been trained to recognize as a “good education”.

However, they’ll be much better prepared for living in the fast-paced and ever-changing world the last few generations have created.

Thanks to technology and the miracle of the internet (as we know it), we live in an era of unprecedented information, knowledge, awareness, and access to learning.

Even 30 years ago, if we wanted to learn about anything beyond the reach of traditional school, we were woefully limited in our access to free information.

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Physical copies of books might have been pricey to order, or unavailable–and these were printed by elite publishers who controlled the flow of what they considered “worthy” (i.e. profitable) information.

With the rise of YouTube alone, we can now learn more in a month than our parents had access to in a lifetime. Even better, so much of it is realistic, useful information that can positively impact our lives–like this mom who built herself and her kids a HOUSE by watching YouTube tutorials.

Calculus and Latin might be traditional hallmarks of a “good education”, but they simply don’t pack that sort of punch.

People are noticing that while the under-30 crowd might be able to pass tests with ease, they are missing out on all sorts of practical knowledge that’s still relevant and important.

If you spend too much time accumulating knowledge and theories without actually applying that knowledge in the real world, you’re wasting everyone’s time.

Who cares what grade you got in Latin, if you’re unlikely to ever be faced with a problem which requires speaking Latin as the solution?

parallelogram seasonIt’s high time for us to reevaluate what “being educated” really means. Let’s start prioritizing actual life skills over theoretical concepts and rote memorization of dead facts.

We need to make sure our children are learning things that actually matter, like where our food comes from, how to stay healthy, how to build and repair things, and how government and society operates (for a start).

Unschooling allows families to redefine “a good education” as something relevant and practical in our unpredictable world.

For more on the background of schooling in America, please check out this compelling book. It might make you mad.

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To learn about how to “do unschooling” with your family, just stop “doing school” and see what happens (yes, it’s legal in all 50 states).

It’s a process, and it’s not quick or easy to understand. In the words of unschooling advocate Sandra Dodd, “read a little, try a little, wait a while, and watch.”

3 Comments

  1. Greg
    • Cat Bleish
  2. Joe Polach

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