Perhaps we can find a hidden blessing in the current pandemic crisis that we are all experiencing. Our schools have been shutting down for lengthy periods and have allowed many parents to consider alternate methods of education.
The problem with mainstream or traditional schooling is systemic: it is a system that, at best, is designed to dumb our children down; at worst, indoctrinate them. Dumbing down the population is, if you think about it, the main way you can control a population. You can control the cultural narrative because people who haven’t learned to practice the important art of questioning everything will be easily manipulated by the mainstream educational narratives.
A study of the history of traditional schools quickly reveals that this “dumbing down” was the intention from the start. Public schools in the West were modeled after the worst aspects of the factory style of education developed in 19th century Prussia.
“Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth learning can be taught.” — Oscar Wilde
Traditional education focuses on teaching, not learning. It incorrectly assumes that for every ounce of teaching there is an ounce of learning that happens by those who are taught. However, most of what we learn before, during, and after attending schools is learned without its being taught to us. A child learns fundamental things as how to walk, talk, eat, dress without being taught these things. Adults learn most of what they use at work or leisure while at work or leisure. Most of what is taught in classroom settings is forgotten, and much of what is remembered is irrelevant. In most schools, memorization is mistaken for learning, and most of what is remembered is remembered only for a short time. Young children today are increasingly aware of the fact that most of what is expected of them in school can better be done by computers, recording machines, cameras, and so on.
We should then ask ourselves a few questions. Do the schools that we have designed best suit the world we are entering into? Has the old industrial form of education that our current system is based upon become obsolete? How can schools be designed to prepare young people for a changing world with increasing needs for a future that will be very different from the industrial age of the past?
The central argument here is that the way the schooling system is designed and enacted stifles the possibility of many individuals while reinforcing a broader system of control and teaching young people skills for an era of the past.
In general, schools today have become places where we actively discourage thinking that is not predefined, approved, and stamped by the larger social system of the day.
In the educational process, students should be offered a wide variety of ways to learn, among which they could choose or with which they could experiment. They do not have to learn different things the same way. They should learn at a very early stage of “schooling” that learning how to learn is largely their responsibility — with the help they seek but that is not imposed on them.
Homeschooling provides for this offering to your child, as the responsibility to learn or not to learn, lies with the child. Homeschooling gives your child the opportunity to be their own teacher and it is in teaching themselves that they learn.
Subjects are not learned in isolation like they are forcibly taught in mainstream school, rather homeschooling is holistic in its approach, as so much is learned from applying one’s interest and skills to what is being learned. Entrepreneurial education like homeschooling or independent learning teaches the important skills of innovative and creative thinking, helping students develop a flexible “growth mindset” that can adapt to new problems. These kinds of skills are useful beyond the job market. They give students the tools to be active citizens in a complicated and fast-changing world
If we want our children to be able to think critically and thrive in the marketplace, it starts with taking back our children’s education any way we can.