Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Kate Fridkis: Growing Up Weird

Kate Fridkis works as a lay clergy member at a synagogue and writes a blog called Eat the Damn Cake, which is syndicated on The Huffington Post and Psychology Today. She also writes a column for Home Education Magazine. Her work has appeared in Cosmopolitan, Slate, Salon, and others. Kate has published her first book, Growing Eden (2013)––a memoir about being pregnant in New York City and making the kind of choices that sometimes result in growing up, or at least growing.

 In Natural Born Learners: Unschooling and Autonomy in Education, Kate talks about her experience growing up unschooled. Here is an excerpt from her chapter:

I have a problem with the idea of a balanced curriculum. I’ve never liked the notion that well-rounded education is the ideal education, because I think that when people pursue that model of educational success they end up with a lot of people who maybe know a little about a lot of subjects, but who aren’t experts at anything, and who also haven’t learned how to pursue their interests.

The idea of balance, maybe in its ideal form is awesome, but when it’s applied broadly it prevents people from learning what they love to do. When you learn to love learning, and do things that interest you, whatever it is that interests you ends up connecting you to a whole huge network of other stuff, other subjects, in really surprising ways. Maybe you end up being more balanced than people expect, in exciting ways, but it’s never through pursuing well-roundedness.

The truth is that you learn something new in absolutely every environment. It’s not like there is an environment that you can go to where you get access to all the important information. You learn everywhere! The idea that I love, and always find true about unschooling, is that you are always learning, because you are living. Of course, when I went to college, I learned from interesting people who I wouldn’t have otherwise met, but to be perfectly honest I would have learned somewhere else, too.

As an unschooler, I felt like an adult. By being around adults, and being in the community rather than in school, I had a lot of contact with grownups who didn’t expect to end up being my friend because here I am, a kid. It is kind of expected that kids are going to be with other kids, and adults with other adults. Everyone is going to be slotted into their particular age bracket, and that is where they are going to stay—which is kind of a strange idea really, because it is so useful for children to learn from people who are older.

My experience as an unschooler consisted of being around adults who told me, “You seem so grown up!” It wasn’t that I was grown up, it was just that I was interacting with them as I would with a friend. Through these relationships, I was able to talk about things that were relevant to adults. I was able to have a lot of educational and relational experiences that other children didn’t have access to. There is a lack of fear of adults, in unschooled kids; they are not afraid of speaking with adults, and are not wary of adults. The schooled peers I met in college, who were still afraid of interacting with adults when they were twenty, surprised me.

Another thing about unschoolers being grown up is that they just have a lot of responsibility, which is something people don’t expect from kids in school. I have to qualify that, and add that kids in school have tons of responsibility. Not the same kind of responsibility, not the kind where you get to decide what you do with your time, and what you learn, and what you pursue. For them, it’s the kind that I shrink from, like having to do hours of homework, or getting straight-A’s in every subject. That sounds so stressful to me, I can’t imagine how anybody does it.

Buy the book and read more from grown unschoolers!

8 comments:

Sunita Gandhi said...

Its very informative and i am sure it will help many other people like the way it helps me. Thanks for the information.
Alternative Education, Personalized Learning

Purva Brown - The Classical Unschooler said...

Oh, I'll have to get it! I have often thought the idea of a well-rounded education made no sense. I like how she says it stops you from pursuing what you would really like to learn. Makes sense - we only have so many hours in a day.

Thietke Nhadep said...

hope you pray the peace for the world

teechip
fabrily
sunfrog shirts
teezily
snorgtees
redbubbles
bustedtees
funny dog tshirts
dog night shirts
dog sport shirts
bonfirefunds
tfund
skreened
shirtmagic
merchify
design4t
viralstyle
sellmytees

T Sunfrog said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nguyễn Thắng said...

Great article. I read this article properly. This is one of the best posts. Thanks sharing this article
teefury|teefury coupon

T Sunfrog said...

I have often thought the idea of a well-rounded education made no sense. I like how she says it stops you from pursuing what you would really like to learn. Makes sense - we only have so many hours in a day.

sua nha dep | tam chong am khoi | da hoa cuong | unionshirts | gearlaunch | teespring | teechip | sunfrogshirts | snorgtees | bonfire funds | promopays | shirt elephant | diversethreads | viralstyle | teezily

kold_kadavr_ flatliner said...

Hey, dont knock it. Im weeerd, too. Yay4weeerdness. I've been always a weeerd-o, dear, from the moment I came outta the womb TO my going-up and literally seeing Seventh-Heaven in my coma. Follow us... and you, too, can be the weeerd ones:

Jesus saith, FEW SHALL MAKE THE GREAT BEYOND.

trustNjesus, dear.
Meet me Upstairs.
Let's getta Big-Ol beer...
gotta lotta tok about.

kold_kadavr_ flatliner said...

Hey, dont knock it. Im weeerd, too. Yay4weeerdness. I've been always a weeerd-o, dear, from the moment I came outta the womb TO my going-up and literally seeing Seventh-Heaven in my coma. Follow us... and you, too, can be the weeerd ones:

Jesus saith, FEW SHALL MAKE THE GREAT BEYOND.

trustNjesus, dear.
Meet me Upstairs.
Let's getta Big-Ol beer...
gotta lotta tok about.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...