Sorry, No Japanese Allowed Here

August 27, 2007

by Tammy Drennan 

I field about 400 calls a year from new homeschoolers in my state. Lately, those calls have been overwhelmingly from parents pulling teens out of school to homeschool for a year or two before returning them to the system. They have a concern that I never entertained in all my years of homeschooling – what the state wants from their children in the way of education.

One mom told me her daughter really wanted to study Japanese, but the school doesn’t offer it, so she wouldn’t be able to get credit for it when she returned. I hear this a lot: “My child really wants to study this or that, but he/she won’t be able to get credit for it.”

This is one of the gifts of state schooling – children are forced to ignore their passions in order to conform to the piddling little definition of education the state finds itself capable of supporting.

Time Magazine recently published an article about how schools fail “genius” children, how they focus so much of their attention on average and low achievers that the geniuses waste away. The fact of the matter is that public schools fail the genius in almost all children. They always have and always will, and we need to stop propping up a destructive, hopeless system just because we don’t want to put the effort into something better or because we can’t imagine an alternative.

We must recognize and overcome the harm public schools have done to most of us – the creativity and imagination and fierce independence they’ve robbed us of – if we’re going to create a better future for our own children.