If school didn’t exist

School.

It’s something we just do.

Where I come from, when you are around 4 to 6 years old, you leave your home to start attending school.  Most parents do not have specialized training in teaching so we do what everyone else is doing.  We send our kids to qualified teachers who have degrees and certifications and who know best what our children need to learn and how they need to learn it.

When the majority of people are doing something a certain way, sometimes we forget to stop and ask if this is really the best way and  if there is a better alternative.

I’ve been thinking about education a lot lately.  I strongly feel that while there are some basic things that we all need to know, as individuals, we all have different interests and goals for ourselves and our children.  Our children also have their own interests and goals.

We don’t always think about it, but when we go to school, we are allowing someone else to decide what our interests and goals should be.  We allow someone else to decide for us what is important to learn.  We let someone else tell us how to spend our days.

Is there a better alternative to public schooling?

What would happen if there were no such thing as public schools?  

I imagine some of the big  questions would include; 

  • How would my kids learn how to read, write, and spell?
  • How would they learn social skills?
  • How would they learn anything?

Let’s have some fun and pretend for a minute that there was no such thing as public school.  This means that there is no provision for someone else to teach your children and there is no required curriculum.

  • Would your child be doomed to be uneducated?
  • What would be required on your part to make sure your child was educated?
  • Do you really need to be certified to teach your child what they need to learn to be successful in life?
  • What would you personally consider to be important to teach your child so they could be properly educated?
  • What are all the ways your child could learn the things you both felt were important?

I know a lot of people who are homeschooling and not sure if they are doing it right and I know others who are thinking about homeschooling and they are scared or overwhelmed about where to begin.  I think considering what life would be like if public school was not even an option is a really good way to begin to figure out what’s really important to you personally.  

I know this is a new blog but I would really like to hear some feedback on this way of thinking.  You can either comment or write about this on your own blog and let me know so I can link to it.  

In my next homeschooling post, I will answer the question I keep getting asked when I tell my friends I am pulling my kids out of public schooling and that is, “What is your plan?”

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7 comments

  1. We have eight children, as exactly as you said, we did what everybody does without thinking. But the more children that went through and the more time I had to think about what is going on, the less interested in sending them there I became. We homeschool the last two, now 11 and 12. Started with thematic units, My Fathers World, and eventually supplementing with other programs we agreed upon. Eventually though we began to wonder why we mimic something we object too. We are now relaxed unschoolers. Our formality is the Bible. I have many curriculum and other books laying around, but mostly we live, love and hang out together. they know so much more than you can imagine. No they cant write essays on Lord of the Flies, but they know a lot about things that interest them. Our plan now is to grow as a family. And to go to Heaven. Anything else is icing

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    1. Thanks for your comment. I used to think I was the only person who would say things like “Why do my kids have to learn Shakespeare, especially if they hate it?!?” Nobody ever seemed to have a good answer but plenty looked at me as if I was ignorant for asking.

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  2. I think once you make sure your kids are learning the basics (reading, writing and arithmetic) you can just wing it. Let their passion and curiosity lead you. And parenting is teaching anyway. Your kids inevitably ask you why the sky is blue, why dogs don’t talk, why are you and daddy married etc. And you explain it. As long as you set aside time for learning and practice, encourage them to explore new things, and embrace the adage “There’s no such thing as a stupid question” your children are bound to end up well educated adults.

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  3. I read somewhere that the institution of school has been around less than 5% of all of history. 5%. And look at the progress that was made in all those school-less years. I think the idea of school had good intentions, but present-day schools are nothing like that. Kids are being trained almost as drones- forget creativity because those who think outside of the box are usually criticized. I think of math homework my kids used to bring home. Getting the answers right was not enough; they had to explain HOW they got those answers. Really? So if they figured it out a different way than they were taught, would it be marked wrong? And how much learning is actually happening there? It’s hard to ignore the stories of kids texting, listening to their ipods, and doing their nails in the middle of class. Are THEY learning? It’s also so important to remember those great minds who were homeschooled. There are actually too many to write here, but here is a link to a great list- http://thepioneerwoman.com/homeschooling/2010/08/famous-homeschoolers/
    So is the brick and mortar school actually necessary? I’d have to say no, and in most cases it actually drowns out a child’s natural love of learning.

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