Can We Handle Freedom of Education?

by Tammy Drennan

 

One thing that must happen on the road to freedom from state schooling is a complete redefinition of education. There is no choice. What we have now is an artificial construct designed and evolved for the purpose of state institutionalization and bondage.

 

The big question is: Are we up to it? Are we smart enough, creative enough, courageous enough?

 

It will take all three of these characteristics in large doses to pull off the coup. Decades of state schooling have robbed us of big portions of our intelligence, creativity and courage.

 

We teach down to kids because we’ve been taught down to and have not found the means or will or need to make up for it. We fail to consider the plethora of possibilities because we’ve spent years having our brains dulled in drab classrooms full of boring textbooks. And we’ve been cowed by the authority of state schooling and laws until we’re scared to death to veer too far off the path they’ve pounded for us.

 

This, then, is the burden we must shed. If we do not shed it, we will simply recreate the public school system in the private sector. We will be freer in body but no freer in mind. We will fail to secure the true purposes of education: wisdom, independence, self-definition, progress, hope.

 

So, how do we do it? Here are some steps we can take as individuals and even as groups:

 

SMARTNESS. Read widely and deeply. Read about things that don’t usually interest you. Today we also have much video and audio available to us for furthering our education (just keep in mind that it’s often much more shallow than what you’ll learn from books). While all of this doesn’t seem directly related to taking back schooling from the state, it really is. We (at least a significant number of us) need to be better equipped intellectually than the people we’re divesting of our children’s schooling.

 

A helpful resource: The Teaching Company courses [link] on audio and video (note: they have tons of great courses, but I’ve found their religion courses disappointing. Only buy on sale: they run them all the time and you save caboodles of money).

 

CREATIVITY. Read about people who have educated themselves and their children. Read about all the ways education has happened throughout our history. Read books by people who have broken the education mold (i.e., John Gatto, John Holt). Think hard about all the ways people have gained the education important to their lives.

 

A helpful resource: Education Conversation’s What is Education? [link] page.

 

COURAGE. I think that courage takes a little righteous indignation to keep it lit. What right does the state have to tell a free people what they should know and what they need not know? What right does the state have to define your life by defining what goes into your mind for thirteen years? What right does the state have to your children? It should make you angry to think that we’ve strayed so far from the principles of liberty.

 

Some helpful resources: Read the Declaration of Independence [link] and Patrick Henry’s Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death [link] speech and Common Sense [link] by Thomas Paine.

 

I know we’re up to the task, but I also know we have serious improvements to make in ourselves in order to create not just independence but excellence.

 

The good news is that the process of improving is invigorating and full of hope – and we can do it even as we practice freedom.

 

How about some of your best resources for improving our minds, creativity and courage in an effort to fortify ourselves to take education back from the state, to make it meaningful again, and to keep it?

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2 Responses to Can We Handle Freedom of Education?

  1. wintertime says:

    I recommend:

    * “The Autobiography of Helen Keller” and anything about Helen, her teacher Anne Sullivan, and their philosophy of education and living life.

    * Anything about Dr. Shinichi Suzuki and his philosophy of education. Dr. Suzuki invented the popular method for teaching violin to young children.

    * Anything about the philosophy and life of Maria Montessori.

    Social scientists should carefully study exactly how and **where** children learn!

    It is my opinion that **ALL** academcially successful children learn 99.999% of what they know at **home**! If the child is institutionalized for his schooling the academically successful child and his parents are doing tons of **after schooling**!

    I would say that **ALL** academically successful children are homeschooled or afterschooled. The only thing an institutional school is doing is sending home a free curriculum for the parents and child to follow!

    How can we best understand how to educate children if we do not study the actual lives and habits of children who are academically successful and fully understand where and how these children are learning?

    It is my bet that there is likely very little difference in home life of the academically successful homeschooled or institutionalized child.

    *Both sets of parents read to their children from infancy.

    *Both sets of parents knowingly or unknowingly teach their children phonics.

    *Their homes are filled with books and magazines.

    * They take frequent trips to the library.

    * In the early elemenatary school years both homeschool and instituionalized children have parents who check homework for completeness, neatness, and comprehension.

    * Parnets of institutionalized or homeschooled parents make sure that their children know their basic math facts.

    * At the first sign of academic difficulty tutors are found ( professional or from friends of the family) to help these children.

    * TV and electronic games are controlled.

    * Friends of the children are monitored.

    * Trips are taken to museums and historical sites of interest.

    * There are private lessons in music, dance, karate, gymnastics, theater, etc.

    * The children have regular meal times and bedtimes.

    * As the children mature they take on more responsiblity for teaching themselves by studying at home.

    In other words, how much difference really is there between academically successful home schooled or institutionalized children?

    Answer: Very little! Nearly all the success is due to the hard work of the parents and children in the **home**! The school is merely sending home the curriculum. The parents and children are doing 9.999% of all the hard work.

    I am willing to bet that even academically successful children from immigrant families are experiencing what I outlined above. These immigrant parents are finding mentors for their children among friends, and family, and are creating a learning centered home. These immigrant families are doing 99.999% of the heavy lifting. They are essentially homeschooling! ( AKA: “afterschooling”)

    The Prussian model, military style, brick and mortar school should be abandoned. It is expensive, but worse it is cruel to treat children like factory widgets. It is cruel to march children around to the sounds of bells and confine them in pens like animals or prisoners. It stunts their spiritual and educational growth.

    Yes, many children do graduate from brick and mortar schools and do become life long autodictacts…but….if they do, it is in spite of their prison-like school experince not because of it.

    Also,… Thankfully humans are adaptable. Most unlearn the pathologic prison survival socialization needed to survive instituional schooling. Thankfully most young adults do move on to learn the social skills needed for success in business, marriage, and relationships with friends, family, and neighbors. It is sad, but some do not make the transition.

    There is one **major** difference between academically successful homeschooled and institutionalized children. The homeschooled child has much more time for PLAY! Unstructured, loosely supervised play is very important for children, and institutionalized children get far too little of it.

    By the way….Have you ever met a fat homeschooler who has been homeschooled from the beginning? I haven’t. It must be all that play coupled with the nutritious meals served in the home.

  2. edbooked says:

    Perhaps a measure of freedom can be achieved if public education is perceived as a privilege, rather than a governmental required “right”. The novel, The Twilight’s Last Gleaming On Public Education discusses the potential, challenges, and obstacles currently littering the public education landscape. This intriguing, socially relevant, and enlightening story possesses many of the elements commonly found in school systems throughout the United States. You may view a portion of this fascinating book online by contacting the publisher at http://www.Xlibris.com, clicking on their Bookstore link, then Searching by title. The plot contains more than a few strategiclaly places twists and should maintain your interest throughout. Check it out for youself. This is must reading for parents and grand-parents of school aged children, not to mention students enrolled in schools of education, as it deals with real world situations.

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