Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Unschoolers go to school:The easier way?

I remember when one of my daughters wanted to go to school. She said, "I don't like homeschooling. It's weird. I want to go to school." That was in grade 6. She is now in grade 11 at high school. She has long since been disillusioned with public school. She tires of the day to day routine, the lack of stimulating material. She is bored by the tediousness of homework, quizzes, tests, more tests.  She now appreciates the unschooling mindset and is amused by the dogged insistence of her peers that without a high school diploma, you can't get anywhere in life ("How else will you get a job?"). Where before, she wanted nothing to do with homeschoolers and unschoolers–trying her best to distance herself from that embarrassing part of her history–now she celebrates the open-mindedness that unschooling fostered in her.

However, she stays on in school.
Why does she stay on? She knows she could drop-out or 'rise-up' if you like, at a moment's notice. But no, she languishes on.

It is because of the ease of schooling; the sheer convenience of it.
You go in. Someone else fills your day for you.  Everything is set up so that you don't need to think to deeply about it. If it is not to your liking, well then, you can complain and point fingers and accuse someone else for why that is so–let someone else take the blame for why things aren't working for you.  It's not your fault after all, it's the system's fault. You don't have to take responsibility. In fact, you are discouraged to do so!

At school, the path is direct. Do A and then B and you should get C. It's a formula that many people buy into and those who know better still delude themselves with.
My daughter says she would quit school IF she had something solid (by this she means if she had acting gigs lined up at the ready) so that she wouldn't distract herself by hanging out online all day and wasting her time. IF there was a structure to the day. IF there was a plan.

I don't knock it: having structure is important. Setting goals is necessary. But why does someone have to stand over you to ensure that you actually do it? Why does some outside authority have to monitor you, prod you, 'make you do it?' To me, that sounds awfully a lot like slave mentality. Do it yourself!
But free will seems lacking. Again, I'm not knocking it. People have to do what they have to do in order to get motivated.
Most people don't believe that they can propel themselves without being forced to. But is that due to a lack of self trust? I don't know.  Do you?

1 comment:

Karen said...

Beatrice, after my experience with my younger son Nathan entering school last year (grade 8 at Dalewood, completely unschooled prior to that) it's really driven home for me that people get their needs met in different ways.

Nathan has really seemed to respond well to the structure of school days - and as much as we did everything we could to help him keep his days fun and interesting while he was still at home, it was clear he felt something was missing in his life. He's not an "academically oriented" kid at all, but really seems to do better with the structure of the school day. Plus he's extremely extroverted and enjoys being around a lot of other kids all day. He never wants to do his homework but I suppose that's typical of most 14 yr old boys :) He was also, like your daughter, one of those kids who felt "weird" for being homeschooled. As much as I would have preferred he not go into the system, he has been much more content since he did.

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