Wow. I just reading this article (thanks to COD for the link), and I am floored by how true it is, whether it was meant to be or not. Funny? Not to me. In my opinion, send a child off to school is like sentencing him to 13 year jail sentence, complete with brainwashing.
I was just talking to my mother last night about reading, and why many school children seem to loath it. I related to my mother exactly how many of the books that I was assigned to read in high school that I actually enjoyed reading. The answer is zero. And no, I didn’t have trouble reading. I read extremely well. I just didn’t like the books assigned, or the process of being constantly judged, graded, and basically put through the inquisition during the process. Now, some supporters of the traditional school might jump to accuse my ex-teachers of not inspiring me enough. Of not motivating me. I think that is a totally irrelevant point. Why would a young human being need some outside person to motivate them or instill the love of learning? Humans survived and excelled for millions of years without needed a teacher to constantly shower them with, “Good job!” The problem is not that teachers failed to provide me with adequate motivation. The problem is that I was attending a school altogether. A place where I was assigned a list of books compiled by a stranger, who supposedly knew what would motivate someone of my age group. A place where I was directed to read a certain thing at a time that was convenient and pleasing for a teacher, not me. A place where I would be constantly judged for my ability to live up to the expectations of others – teachers, parents, boards of regents, principal, test makers. A place where I had no or little choices, and where my job would be mostly sitting at a desk every day. Who enjoys reading in a situation like that?
The article I linked to above mentions a whole slew of assumed aspects of life that are like jail sentences for people, both young and old. I refuse to accept the sentence any longer. No more institutions (unless we choose to accept them by choice, with open eyes). No more working from sun-up to sunset for meager pay while spending little time with our children. And no more reading books that we have no interest in reading! This world is filled with literally millions of exciting books. If one of them doesn’t interest myself or my children, why would we read it?! For the convenience of a teacher, who finds it easy to teach the same book to 30 kids at a time? Heck no! What a shame that so many children are forced every single day to read books that are of no interest to them when our world is filled with libraries full of books and an internet full of information. Don’t like this book? I say – Don’t bother finishing it. There are always more books out there. When we expect young children to put aside their own wishes in favor of teacher convenience, that is when we get a child that hates reading.
Next week a trillion kids are going back to school. They will mostly be spending their days sitting at a desk. For the first few days they will be sitting quietly. Their teacher will be testing them and “getting to know them” so that he/she can classify them. Then they will start learning what some adult out there thinks they should know. Sound positively exciting and motivating, eh?
What will my five year old be doing in September? He will be attending an archaeological dig where he works with a real archaeologist to dig up Mayan artifacts (replicas, I believe). Then, he will most likely be setting up a museum display from his work. I say most likely because M will have the choice to stop the activity at any point, if he so chooses, just as he had the complete freedom to choose this activity to begin with. He will be outside in the fresh air all day, working with people from all different age groups, from age 5 to adult. And since Arp and I are totally excited to have the opportunity to work with an archaeologist, one of us will mostly likely be learning alongside M much of the time. We also can’t wait to watch M as he goes through this experience, as we are pretty sure he is going to love it! If not? There is a whole world out there filled with exciting things to do. I’m pretty sure that each of us will come up with something that inspires us – no assignments or testing necessary.