All during my son Colin’s childhood, I was concerned that school would dampen his intense natural curiosity. Unfortunately, since he and his brother lived with his Dad during the school year, he found himself locked in his room at his desk for the entire weekend “to study” if his grades weren’t up to snuff. This was the worst way to treat a child of such huge energy and natural ambition. His father also insisted he go to college, but he stayed only one semester, said that he was learning more in the dorms than in the classroom.
Luckily, Colin’s energy overwhelmed his conditioning.
Now Colin has invented the revolutionary, self-composting Garden Tower, recently featured on PBS.
Following a parallel path as the “unschooled” student below whose intense curiosity drove him to read, Colin’s intense curiosity drove him to youtube videos. See the story of how he invented the Garden Tower.
It is clearly absurd to limit the term ‘education’ to a person’s formal schooling. – Murray Rothbard
It took a while for my brain to slow down the first year of not going to public school. My head was still swimming from the horrors of the earth and the burden to deal with them and “save the world.” Environmentalism, disease, slavery, holocaust, cancer, anti-drug/violence campaigns, presidential campaigns, eating disorders and maniacal cops coming in to scare us straight. This was just before school shootings were highly publicized.
Here are a few core books I read. The valuable information got me through college as well:
Word Power Made Easy by Norman Lewis
The Well Educated Mind (which leads through classical texts)
Math Smart Junior II (advanced levels available)
Writing Smart Junior (advanced levels available)
A book about an unschool family that let their children’s interests guide them demonstrated the point of non-force, non-pressure education. The parents did not force reading or math at any point, believing as I believe, that math doesn’t really click until about age 12 anyway. Reading, too, was unforced. One of the boys was into dinosaurs – the obstacle for him became getting through the desire to learn more. This propelled him into reading until he was reading college level materials as a pre-teen to get his dinosaur fix. Their children became Harvard graduates.
Public school did nothing to help with life or social skills. It did drill to follow orders, and all students sensed the constant insecurity and fear of a authority. This fear – of authority, even parents – could be the biggest inhibitor toward real lasting education.
I still had and do have a lot to learn about life, communications, where I stand in this world and what my purpose is here. Unschooling catapulted me into a huge leap in that direction. There are some things I would go back and do differently if I could but I didn’t know any better. I would have taken even more structure out and stopped going by the “standards.” If I could do it, with relatively little guidance and support, I believe anyone can if this is their desire. Either way, no one should have to justify their chosen form of education.
Some resources from Activist Post:
A Journey to Unschooling
4 Reasons to Change the Way We View Education
5 Ways to Improve the Public School Experience with Unschooling Techniques
10 Freest States For Homeschooling
8 Reasons to Say NO to CollegeHeather Callaghan is a natural health blogger and food freedom activist. You can see her work at NaturalBlaze.com and ActivistPost.com. Like at Facebook.