Thursday, July 12, 2007
C, eh? N, eh? D, eh?
People say "How will the kids be part of the culture if they don't go to school?" "How will they be good citizens if they don't have a civic education from school?"
First of all, "are you talking about pop culture?" is what I'll ask. Because if you are, I can tell you, you can't avoid it (Unless you live in a basement and never see the light of day).
Believe me, I've tried. My kids don't go to school and we don't even watch tv. Yet.... they know everything about the latest fashions in clothing styles, they know Brat dolls, My scene dolls, Barbies, Sponge Bob. They know Hello Kitty and Hilary Duff. They know Disney world, Polly dolls, Build a bear, Canada Wonderland. Crocs, 'My story is makeover. I'm revealing my ignorance here- because I don't know the half of it. But you get the point.
My daughters get all the pop I can take courtesy of our neighbour. This little girl knows more about what is in then most 16 year olds. And she is 9!
So maybe you're talking Canadian culture? Maple syrup. Hockey. Cottage country in the summer. Soccer in the summer. Tobogganing in the winter? CBC radio? Canoing? But you obviously don't need to go to school to be exposed to these.
As to civic education, my response is that civics is active. It is current. Sitting in a classroom is not- that's passive and is not very empowering.
Frankly, parents who have their kids out of school are actually more likely to follow current events and expose their children to what is happening in the world. The very decision to home educate doesn't come easily. A great deal of thought is put into it. It's a responsibility that home education parents don't take lightly. If they've made that decision you can pretty much guarantee they are enlightened enough to allow their children to question everything- including authority.
More likely us not, unschooled kids are encouraged to consider how the world around them operates, how it affects them personally, what could be different about it. How can they impact it in turn.
The bigger questions are asked- the environment, freedom of speech, freedom to pursue your own education...These are not light ideas. They are powerful and empowering.
I think that's what a civic education at school might lack. It's just not dynamic enough in the sense that kids feel they can make a difference in their community - which is where it all begins right?
This is from my 11 year old daughter (E.K.) who likes to get her history and Geography lessons from reading fiction books. Right now she is reading Dear Canada Diaries ( all written by Canadian authors) such as Not a nickel to spare, If I die before I wake. A prairie as wide as the sea. No safe harbour. Winter of Peril. with nothing but Our Courage. Brothers far from home. Orphan at my door.
She says about this series "Awesome! So many facts. Especially No safe harbour and If I die before I wake. Both are tragic and about huge loses. If I die about the flu pandemic caused more death than the Great War. (WW1) No safe harbour tells the story of the Halifax explosion. Better than My Canadian Girl- which reaches out to young readers. The Dear Canada Diaries are more for my age."