Five Reasons to Consider Homeschooling Your Child

Why are a majority of parents choosing to homeschool their children today? Research has shown that the number has doubled over the last ten years. In any case, if the trend continues, which it should, the number of students studying from home in 2018 will be more than 2 million.

With such impressive numbers, homeschooling should not be overlooked. Besides, although it’s different, it’s still growing in popularity. In this article, we will look at some of the reasons why we need to ‘welcome’ homeschooling!

1. It’s a Change from the Otherwise Negative School Environment

According to the National Household Education Survey, parents are just not comfortable with the negative learning environment in public schools. They are concerned about child bullying. Of course, it’s not something that is recorded in their student’s report cards, and it mostly goes unnoticed.

Teachers and bullying victims will not report cases like the stealing of food or money, physical harm or continuous use of abusive language. So, as a parent, once you know that your child has been beaten up, what should you do? Keeping in mind the physical and psychological torment that it brings.

In the end, homeschooling becomes your best option. You’ll even notice significant improvements not only in their academics but also in their happiness. Also, as you remove bullies from their lives, you improve their social experiences.

2. High Quality Education

According to most parents, learning in our public schools has declined. They say that this is because of factors like common core, state education budgets and increased student enrollments. “There’s dissatisfaction with academic instruction,” this is according to reports from the NHS report.

Homeschooling even gives parents good control of what their children are learning. A majority of parents feel that the current school curriculum is not offering students enough resources. Recently, a college and career readiness report showed some shocking findings. It found that almost half of high school students don’t feel ready for college, at least academically.

Other reports show that various college professors believe that the students joining college today are just not ready. Interestingly, the number has even increased from 14% to 28% within the last ten years. Of course, such loss in confidence is because of a few reasons.

For instance, the crowded classrooms have fewer resources making it hard for teachers to offer one-on-one teaching sessions. However, with homeschooling, you can approve the curriculum that your child is learning and offer self-directed instruction. You can even provide additional lessons to supplement your child’s learning.

Lastly, it’s also proven that most homeschooled students perform better on federal and state tests as compared to their schooled counterparts. It’s shocking to know that a good number of them score 15% to 30% points more than the public school students.

3. Perfect for Disabled Children

Are you raising a ‘special’ child? If you are, then you’re aware of the tough time that they go through while in school. Because of limited time and resources, it’s difficult for a number of these children to get the specific guidelines they need for learning.

However, with homeschooling, you can use a suitable curriculum for children with learning difficulties. Such an approach provides you with additional specialized education tools to give your child a comfortable learning experience.

Another homeschooling benefit is that it does not get rid of all public school learning resources. So, you can still take your child through services such as dyslexia, therapy, remedial classes, physical handicaps, music and even art. Through this, you give them the best of both worlds!

4. Educates Children Once They Visit Other Countries Or States!

According to census data, most people moving to other countries are young families. The research even shows that these are families where the primary breadwinner holds a military or diplomatic position within the government. Therefore, in most cases, they’ll have to travel to different corners of the world.

With such movements, consistent education becomes a considerable challenge. However, with homeschooling, there’s more flexibility. So, you can teach your students to write the best research paper topics or handle a science project from almost any location. This method makes sure that it gets rid of all unnecessary interruptions.

Besides, the lessons that they’ll get follow the national educational guidelines and curriculum. It further ensures that they follow all the learning steps despite their constant travels.

5. Improved Personal Relationship with Your Child

How many hours do you spend with your child? Well, probably not as much as you would like. This lack of time is one of the reasons why most parents rejoice in seeing their sons and daughters return home in the evening. And although this may sound a bit too affectionate, it’s because they missed their company during the day.

Of course, there are still parents who love having a somewhat distant relationship with their children. If you’re such a parent, then homeschooling is not for you. But for those who enjoy the fun and exciting feeling of having their kid around, then homeschooling is a perfect option.

In the past, children used to stay with their parents until marriage. But even after tying the knot, they’ll build and live just near their parents. Although the world is changing from such practices, don’t we still need our children? Keep in mind that the longer they stay in school, the more they drift further from us.

Here, the bonds you had as they were growing up start to dissolve quickly. By the time they reach middle school, you’ll realize that your children relate better to their friends or teachers as compared to you. So, you need to create close relationships with your child and remember that it’s not always about their test scores. With homeschooling, you’ll enjoy enough time with your child and learn more about him or her outside the classroom setting.

Taking your child to school at the age of five is not always easy. Shedding a tear or two in the process is normal. During the day, you’ll miss their clumsiness and playful nature. Besides, you’ll also get worried about their safety while in school. Luckily, homeschooling is a successful method of education that’s proven to deliver fruitful results.

Although public schools are essential learning institutions, sadly, they may not give your child the type of learning that he or she deserves. Therefore, instead of watching as they suffer while in school, these five reasons will provide you with the assurance you need to homeschool your child!

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Is “Screen Time” Dangerous for Children?

Written by Alison Gopnik.

I was in the garden with Augie, my four-year-old grandson, watching the bees in the lavender. “Bees make honey,” I said, transmitting the wisdom of the ages in good grandmotherly fashion. After a pause, Augie replied, “How do they make the honey?” There is nothing like a child’s question for exposing the limits of a grandmother’s wisdom.

“Actually, Augie, I don’t know,” I said.

“But, Grandmom, you have your phone,” he said. For Augie, a smartphone is as natural and unremarkable as the bees and the lavender, and holding one is almost synonymous with knowing.

I Googled “How do bees make honey?” There were dozens of videos explaining it. As we stood in the garden, shielding the screen against the sunlight, Augie and I learned that worker bees secrete an enzyme called invertase, which converts nectar into dextrose, then flap their wings to thicken the nectar into honey.

“It’s kind of hard to see the bees,” I said, squinting at the screen.

“Why don’t we watch it on the big computer?” Augie said.

For the next hour, we sat inside, bee-surfing. Someone in Sweden had posted a speeded-up video of bees building a hive, months of construction compressed into two minutes. There was a whole subgenre of beekeeper selfie videos. Best of all was a BBC documentary about the “waggle dance,” the remarkable communication system that allows bees to give one another directions to the places where they’ve found nectar.

My own childhood was dominated by a powerful device that used an optical interface to transport the user to an alternate reality. I spent most of my waking hours in its grip, oblivious of the world around me. The device was, of course, the book. Over time, reading hijacked my brain, as large areas once dedicated to processing the “real” world adapted to processing the printed word. As far as I can tell, this early immersion didn’t hamper my development, but it did leave me with some illusions—my idea of romantic love surely came from novels.

English children’s books, in particular, are full of tantalizing food descriptions. At some point in my childhood, I must have read about a honeycomb tea. Augie, enchanted, agreed to accompany me to the grocery store. We returned with a jar of honeycomb, only to find that it was an inedible, waxy mess.

Many parents worry that “screen time” will impair children’s development, but recent research suggests that most of the common fears about children and screens are unfounded. (There is one exception: looking at screens that emit blue light before bed really does disrupt sleep, in people of all ages.) The American Academy of Pediatrics used to recommend strict restrictions on screen exposure. Last year, the organization examined the relevant science more thoroughly, and, as a result, changed its recommendations. The new guidelines emphasize that what matters is content and context, what children watch and with whom. Each child, after all, will have some hundred thousand hours of conscious experience before turning sixteen. Those hours can be like the marvelous ones that Augie and I spent together bee-watching, or they can be violent or mindless—and that’s true whether those hours are occupied by apps or TV or books or just by talking.

New tools have always led to panicky speculation. Socrates thought that reading and writing would have disastrous effects on memory; the novel, the telegraph, the telephone, and the television were all declared to be the End of Civilization as We Know It, particularly in the hands of the young. Part of the reason may be that adult brains require a lot of focus and effort to learn something new, while children’s brains are designed to master new environments spontaneously. Innovative technologies always seem distracting and disturbing to the adults attempting to master them, and transparent and obvious—not really technology at all—to those, like Augie, who encounter them as children.

Like the bees, we live by the reports of others. Unlike the bees, we can invent new worlds, constructing them out of sonic vibrations, ink, or pixels. Sometimes those worlds deceive and confuse; at other times, they tell us something revelatory. When Augie’s father got home, Augie rushed to meet him, his words tumbling out in excitement. “Daddy, Daddy, look,” he said, reaching for the phone. “Do you know how bees make honey? I’ll show you. . . .”

Originally published at NewYorker.com.

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Why Our Coercive System of Schooling Should Topple

Written by Peter Gray.

I’ve been called a crazy optimist, a Pollyanna, a romantic idealist. How can I believe that our system of compulsory schooling is about to collapse? People point out that in many ways the schooling system is stronger now than ever. It occupies more of children’s time, gobbles up more public funds, employs more people, and is more firmly controlled by government – and at ever-higher levels of government – than has ever been true in the past. So why do I believe it’s going to collapse – slowly at first and then more rapidly – over the next ten years or so? Here are four reasons:

1. Our coercive schools have become increasingly and ever more obviously harmful to kids.

Decades ago, schools were tolerable primarily because they didn’t take too much of young people’s time. Children and teens had much time after school, on weekends, and all summer long for self-directed pursuits. But over the years, the school system has intruded increasingly, and ever more disruptively, into children’s and families’ lives. The length of the school year has increased (it now averages 5 weeks longer than in the 1950s). The number of years of required attendance has increased. The amount of homework has increased immensely, especially in elementary schools. Recesses have been reduced, or even been eliminated. Creative activities, such as art and music, have regularly been dropped from curricula in favor of more time for worksheets and test preparation. Teachers have been given less freedom to depart from the standard curriculum, and ever-greater pressure has been placed on children to score high on standardized tests.

Children now often spend more time at school and at homework than their parents spend at their full-time jobs, and the work of schooling is often more burdensome and stress-inducing than that of a typical adult job. A century ago we came to the conclusion that full-time child labor was child abuse, so we outlawed it; but now school is the equivalent of full-time child labor.

The increased time, tedium, and stress of schooling is bringing many kids to the breaking point or beyond, and more and more people are becoming aware of that. It can no longer be believed that schooling is a benign experience for children. The evidence that it induces pathology is overwhelming. Here is just some of that evidence:

  • A large-scale study involving hundreds of students from many school districts, using an experience sampling method, revealed that students were less happy in school than in any other setting in which they regularly found themselves.1
  • Verbal abuse from teachers is a common occurrence. In one survey, for example, 64% of middle school students reported experiencing stress symptoms because of verbal abuse from teachers.2 Another study revealed that nearly 30% of boys are verbally abused by teachers in kindergarten, and the abuse increased in years after that.3 Surveys of adults indicate that between 50% and 60% recall school-related experiences that, in their view, were psychologically traumatic.4
  • In a study in which adults were interviewed to find out about positive, peak learning experiences occurring in their schooling, few could recall such experiences, but many recalled negative experiences, which interfered with rather than supported their development.5
  • Hair cortisol levels in young children were found to be significantly higher in samples taken two months after starting elementary school than in samples taken two months prior to starting elementary school.6 Hair cortisol level is reflective of chronic stress, the sort of stress that can seriously impair physical growth and health.
  • A large-scale national survey conducted by the American Psychological Association (reported here) revealed that U.S. teenagers feel more stressed-out than do adults and that school is by far the main cause of their stress (noted by 83% of the sample). In the same study, 27% of teens reported experiencing “extreme stress” during the school year, compared to 13% reporting that during the summer.
  • The rate of emergency mental health visits leading to at least one overnight stay (the sort of visits that derive from serious breakdowns or attempted suicide) at a children’s medical center was found to be more than twice as high during school months as compared to summer vacation months (here).
  • At present, 20% of school-aged boys are given the diagnosis ADHD, a “disorder” that is largely defined in terms of failure to adapt to the tedium of schooling, and most of that group are treated with strong drugs to get them to adapt (here).

It is not unreasonable to say that standard schooling is state-sanctioned (or even state-mandated) child abuse. More and more people are coming to that realization, and that is why more and more people are looking for ways to remove their children from the schools. (For more about the harm done by standard schooling, see here.)

2. Evidence has mounted that children and adolescents can educate themselves remarkably well without coercive schooling.

Summerhill (the famous boarding school for Self-Directed Education founded by A.S. Neill) has been operating in England for nearly a century. Sudbury Valley (the famous day school for Self-Directed Education founded by Daniel Greenberg and others) has been operating in Massachusetts for nearly half a century, and dozens of other schools have been modeled after it. Forty years have elapsed since the educator and philosopher John Holt coined the term unschooling to describe the homeschooling practice of allowing children to pursue their own interests, with no imposed curriculum.

Over the last few decades, many thousands of young people, from a wide range of backgrounds, have educated themselves through these means, and follow-up studies have shown that they are doing very well in life. They have had no apparent difficulty being admitted to or adjusting to the demands of traditional higher education, if they choose to pursue it, and they have been successful in the full range of careers that we value in our society. As adults, they generally report that their experience with Self-Directed Education benefitted them by allowing them to develop their own interests (which often turned into careers) and by fostering such traits as personal responsibility, initiative, creativity, curiosity, critical thinking, and ability to communicate well with people regardless of status.7 [Note: I have elaborated on the biological foundations for Self-Directed Education, and the reasons why it works so well, in many previous posts, but for concise definitions and explanations see here and here.]

In recent years, partly because of increased awareness of the success of Self-Directed Education and partly because of the growing toxicity of coercive schools, ever more families are choosing Self-Directed Education for their children. As more families are choosing it, many others are getting to know people who have chosen it and can see firsthand the evidence of its success. At some point, when everyone sees the evidence, the gates will open and the coercive schools will begin to empty out. People will begin to demand that some of the public funds currently spent on coercive schools be spent on learning centers and other facilities that support Self-Directed Education, so all families, regardless of income, will have that option.

3. Self-Directed Education is easier to pursue now than it was in the past.

Self-Directed Education is becoming ever easier to pursue. One reason for this lies in the increased numbers of families taking this route and, consequently, the increased acceptability of Self-Directed Education in the culture at large. The availability of schools and learning centers designed for Self-Directed Education has been increasing, and the number of homeschoolers engaged in Self-Directed Education has likewise been increasing. As Self-Directed Education becomes more common, as more and more people, including education authorities, know young people taking this route and see their success, the social barriers against it are decreasing.

Another reason for the increased ease of Self-Directed Education lies in technology. Today, anyone with a computer and Internet connection can access essentially all the world’s information. Self-directed learners who want to pursue almost any subject can find articles, videos, discussion groups, and even online courses devoted to it. They can gain information and share thoughts with experts and novices alike, throughout the world, who have interests akin to theirs. Students in standard schools must study just what the school dictates, in just the ways that the school decides; but self-directed learners can find subjects and means of study that match their own particular interests and styles of learning. Self-directed learners are not held back by the slow pace of a school course, nor are they rushed ahead when they want more time to think about and delve deeply into any given aspect of the interest they’re pursuing.

4. Changes in the economy favor the skills developed by Self-Directed Education.

Because of changes in how we make our livings, the skills exercised by coercive schooling are even less valuable, and those exercised by Self-Directed Education are even more valuable, now than they were in the past. We don’t need people who can memorize and regurgitate lots of information; we have Google for that. We don’t need many people to do routine, tedious tasks dictated by others; we have robots for that.

What we do need, and will continue to need, are people who think critically and creatively, innovate, ask and answer questions that nobody else has thought of, and bring moral values and a passionate sense of purpose into the workplace. These are the kinds of skills that are continuously honed in Self-Directed Education. In coercive schools, the requirement that everyone follow the same curriculum, motivated by reward and punishment rather than genuine interest, guarantees that most students will not develop passionate interests, deep understanding, or a sense of purpose other than that of making it through the next hoop.


“Okay,” I hear some say, “these are all good reasons why our forced system of schooling should topple soon; but will it topple soon?” Yes, it will, because it really is reaching the end of the line. In fact, much of the increased odiousness of school has come about precisely because of the increased recognition that our schools are failing. Stupidly, in recent times we’ve tried to “fix” the schools by doing more of what doesn’t work. But that can’t go on forever. The revolution will come not because authorities within the coercive school system become enlightened, but because a growing number of families who are victims of that system will realize that they have an option – a good option – and they will take it.

But let’s not just wait for that social change to occur; let’s push it along. Let’s develop an organized movement to inform people about this option and how they can pursue it. That’s the purpose of a new nonprofit organization that I’m a part of – the Alliance for Self-Directed Education. Maybe you’d like to join it.

References

1 Csíkszentmihályi, M., & Hunter, J. (2003). Happiness in everyday life: The uses of experience sampling. Journal of Happiness Studies, 4, 185–199.

2 Irwin A. Hyman & Donna C. Perone (1998). The Other Side of Student Violence: Educator Policies and Practices That May Contribute to Student Misbehavior. Journal of School Psychology, 36, 7-27.

3Brengden, M., Wanner, B., & Vitaro, F. (2006). Verbal abuse by the teacher and child adjustment from kindergarten through grade 6. Pediatrics, 117, 1585-1598.

4 A. G. McEachern, O. Aluede & M. C. Kenny (2008). Emotional abuse in the classroom: Implications and interventions for counselors. Journal of Counseling and Development 86, 3-10.

5 K. Olson. Wounded by School. Teachers’ College Press, 2009.

6 Groeneveld et al (2013). Children’s hair cortisol as a biomarker of stress at school entry. Stress: The International Journal on the Biology of Stress, 16, 711-715.

7 See research studies reported in: (a) American Journal of Education, 94, pp 182-213; (b) Other Education: The Journal of Educational Alternatives, 4, 33-53; and (c) Book by Greenberg, D., & Sadofsky, M. Legacy of Trust: Life after the Sudbury Valley School Experience; and (d) book by Greenberg, D., Sadofsky, M., & Lempka, J. The Pursuit of Happiness: The Lives of Sudbury Valley Alumni.)

Adapted from the Alliance for Self-Directed Education.

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Kids Learn Naturally: Why Compulsory Schooling is Unneccessary and Even Harmful, A Case Study

Written by Graham Smith.

The unschooling path is not the easy road. In fact, it is akin to taking a brambly forest path when a brand new five-lane freeway lies outside the door. Sure, the freeway is easy and convenient. The problem is, you don’t really see much of anything.

Here in Japan, the typical approach to child rearing is as follows:

  • Have kid.
  • Wait until kid is 6 months to 1 year old.
  • Put them into government-sponsored daycare and get back on the hamster wheel generating money for the state.

Now, admittedly, this assessment ignores much of the positive aspect of approaches to child rearing in Japan, such as the emphasis on the importance of breastfeeding, skin-to-skin contact, co-sleeping, healthy eating and a relatively high awareness as regarding vaccine risks.

That said, Japan, like all other developed nations, gets it dreadfully wrong when it comes to “education.”

Before I get into the meat of this report, I’d like to share a few quotes from one of my heroes, the late master educator and lifelong learner/former public school teacher, John Holt:

“We destroy the love of learning in children, which is so strong when they are small, by encouraging and compelling them to work for petty and contemptible rewards, gold stars, or papers marked 100 and tacked to the wall, or A’s on report cards, or honor rolls, or dean’s lists, or Phi Beta Kappa keys, in short, for the ignoble satisfaction of feeling that they are better than someone else.”

“The true test of character is not how much we know how to do, but how we behave when we don’t know what to do.”

“We can best help children learn, not by deciding what we think they should learn and thinking of ingenious ways to teach it to them, but by making the world, as far as we can, accessible to them, paying serious attention to what they do, answering their questions–if they have any–and helping them explore the things they are most interested in.”

Kids learn naturally. Everybody does. Schooling is not necessary for learning.

This should really be a “duh” kind of statement, but surprisingly, due to the remarkable amount of statist (government) brainwash the average individual is exposed to from the time they pop out of the womb to adulthood, most individuals come to view compulsory public education as a kind of natural part of life. Sun, moon, trees, school.

This is remarkable, not only in view of what actually goes on at these public centers of “education,” but also in view of the fact that compulsory education is a relatively recent phenomenon. Ubiquitous mandatory public schooling in the U.S. is less than 100 years old, with the final state to adopt legislation requiring attendance being Mississippi in 1918. Even after these mandates, attendance requirements remained much more lax and flexible than today, often allowing children to work on their family’s farm and be more engaged in day-to-day community life. (Source.)

I quote John Taylor Gatto, probably the only award winning public school teacher to have the cops called on him at an award acceptance speech. This snippet is from a speech he gave at his reception of the New York State Teacher of the Year Award, called “The 7-Lesson Schoolteacher:”

Think of all the great natural sequences like learning to walk and learning to talk, following the progression of light from sunrise to sunset, witnessing the ancient procedures of a farm, a smithy, or a shoemaker, watching your mother prepare a Thanksgiving feast–all of the parts are in perfect harmony with each other, each action justifies itself and illuminates the past and future. School sequences aren’t like that, not inside a single class and not among the total menu of daily classes. School sequences are crazy.

I highly recommend reading this speech. It’s amazing for its depth of insight and clarity. Mr. Gatto did not remain a public school teacher for very long after this, if I am not mistaken. In his own admission, he tried to sabotage his job as much as possible by actually educating kids and affording them on-site job experience by allowing them passes to miss his class.

My Son, Isaiah–An Informal Case Study

Isn’t it amazing that you learned to speak your native language fluently with no textbook to “teach” you? Isn’t it amazing that you learned all those complex and disjointed rules of grammar without even trying!? I mean, people study English for years and years as a second language and still can’t grok the overall basic structure and proper usage.

I came out of my mom as a ball of flesh with no knowledge, textbooks or “teachers” and could speak better English than most foreigners by age 3 or 4. I have been studying Japanese for 7 years now and still have to ask my 4-year-old son now what he means by this or that Japanese word or usage.

Life is learning. Language has a definite purpose for us, and utility. In short, learning the language our mommy and daddy use to communicate has meaning. We need to get that milk! We need our blessed diaper changed! This language stuff gets shit done!

Without meaning, “education” is a breathtakingly inane and pathetic waste of an individual’s time.

My son, up until the time of “dropping out” of his preschool/daycare center, was speaking largely Japanese. He spent most of the day around Japanese speakers (his peers, teachers, and so on) and so this makes a lot of sense. What is the use of learning a language you don’t use? There is no meaning here.

Once he became bored with the preschool, however, and told his mother and I he didn’t wish to attend anymore, something “strange” happened: I noticed an almost immediate jump in his English language ability. In about 3-months’ time, after being home with me more often and hearing me speak to him in English, he speaks to me now almost exclusively in my native tongue, and is making it his own.

What’s more, he goes out of his way to ask me to translate words, sentences, and phrases for him so he can remember them and use them next time. Anytime he doesn’t know how to say something, he asks me in Japanese: “Daddy, how do you say ________ in English? Now remember, I am not prompting him to do this. English now has a utility for him and he is making it his own. This is a public school “educator’s” fantasy, is it not? The reason kids are not taking this kind of initiative at the public schools, generally speaking, is easy to see. To them, the curriculum is meaningless to their own lives. And, indeed, their individual, unrepeatable, organic and beautifully unique lives and experiences are not respected as such. They are simply meant to “fall in line.”

(As a brief aside, I can remember trying to learn algebra in high school and feeling extremely stupid. I thought something was wrong with me because I was not interested and continually failed to answer the teacher’s prompts when called upon. It wasn’t until I got to college and had a wonderful Sri Lankan professor tell me that “numbers are beautiful” that I started to get it. She made the whole thing approachable and illuminated numerical connections to patterns in nature and philosophy. I wasn’t stupid, after all. This teacher, unlike my teacher in high school, just managed to show me numbers in a new way that made sense to me, and inspired me.)

A Video to Illustrate

Notice how Isaiah repeats my English translation of what he conveys in Japanese with no prompts or cajoling to do so. Learning is always an individual experience that occurs naturally. It is not an exaggeration to say that life is learning.

Isaiah says: “Koopa だけ get inside だよ” (Only Koopa can get inside).
My reply: “Only Koopa can?”
Isaiah: “うん、そうだよ” (Yes, that’s right.) “Only Koopa can.”

I don’t “teach.” I just provide the resource. He can take it or leave it as he deems necessary and meaningful to his own individual path.

Closing: Why Public School is Poison, and Antithetical to Real Learning

I have had friends argue that the public school system has saved many children who are from low socioeconomic backgrounds, dysfunctional families, and abusive relationships. One such friend spent a significant amount of time working with “delinquent” and disadvantaged youth at a center in Canada. He saw a lot, and I certainly acknowledge that public schools can, in certain instances, be a kind of safe-haven and springboard to opportunity for certain children from extremely tough, abusive, and impoverished backgrounds. All that said, it is my view that private schools could do it 1,000 times better, if the legal red tape of state restrictions and requirements were removed, and the free market in education were allowed to function. It is not within the scope of this article to dive into all this now, however.

Suffice it to say that school is, overall, a place detrimental to the healthy development of children. Anyone who reads the history of public schooling can see that this is no accident. Compulsory, state-sponsored “education” is designed to confuse, disenfranchise, and discourage. A class of little worker bees is needed. Real critical thinking and a passion for life are detrimental to this aim.

The science is out. Child psychology and experts in human learning processes have weighed in: KIDS DON’T LEARN LIKE THIS. In spite of all the evidence, empirical, anecdotal, and otherwise, the big, outdated, greasy engine of state-sponsored education grinds on, oily and putrid, smashing the minds of this planet’s number one, most valuable resource: the open minds of children ready and excited to learn and to be alive.

The moral of this story?

UNSCHOOL YOUR KIDS!

Thanks for stopping by today. If you found value in this article I certainly appreciate your upvote. Also, I would like to encourage to you to read more by these great thinkers:

John Holt
John Taylor Gatto
A.S. Neill

Originally published at steemit.com.

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Success Follows Learning and Doing

Written by Connor Boyack.

I don’t know what I’m doing.

This is a message I try to convey when speaking to teenagers. It’s intimidating, this grown up stuff. Adults do a lot of adulting. That seems daunting. And they think we’ve got it figured out.

Fact is, I don’t.

For example, I’m now the CEO of a successful non-profit making a huge impact on people’s lives for the better.

I didn’t learn how to do that in school. I didn’t study it in a book. I didn’t have a mentor to hold my hand along the way.

Every day has presented challenges. I figure them out to the best of my ability. I ask questions, or I pretend like I already know the answer. I move forward, rather than sit still. I experiment, innovate, and don’t assume that others know what they’re doing, or that I should follow them.

I didn’t earn a degree in non-profit management. I didn’t research this field extensively before entering it.

And yet, somehow, it’s worked. I’ve learned. We’ve had success. Many have been impressed. (Many have also been angry… #sorrynotsorry)

The point is, the world is a crazy place and your life trajectory may take a number of different turns. Entire industries now dominate the market that didn’t exist two decades ago—and the pioneers moving those areas forward didn’t learn what they now do in school, because it didn’t even exist back then.

This truth is quite reassuring for those in the rising generation, I think, because if there’s one thing we adults are good at, it’s pretending like we know what we’re doing.

Quite often, we don’t.

Originally published at Facebook.com.

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Cultural Osmosis

Written by Marco den Ouden.

You may have heard of osmosis in high school biology class. It is most commonly used to explain how plants get their nourishment. Plants, of course, do not eat like animals do. They absorb nutrients from the ground through osmosis.

The skin of the root is a semipermeable membrane that lets water and dissolved nutrients through. Semi-permeable means it lets some things through and not others. Whether something gets through usually depends on the size. So dissolved minerals get through, dirt and rocks do not.

A simple way to think of it is to imagine a jar with a screen down the middle. You pour a slurry of water mixed with sand and pebbles into one side. The water and the sand levels out between the two sides while the pebbles, which are too large to pass through the screen, stay on one side.

In a plant, the dissolved minerals are carried up through the xylem, which are like blood vessels for plants, to the different parts of the plant to nourish it.

Osmosis is also used in animals. In fact, any living thing with a cellular structure will transport minerals and water by osmosis. And semi-permeable membranes can be created artificially as well. When I was a stock market analyst I wrote about a company that creates sewage treatment plants and desalinization plants using semi-permeable membranes and reverse osmosis (which is similar to osmosis but too technical to get into here.)

There is only one problem with osmosis. Some things can get through that shouldn’t. Some poisons dissolved in water through pollution or otherwise can invade the plant and kill it.

The idea of osmosis can be applied as a metaphor for the human mind. A new born baby has the mechanism for thinking but has not been exposed to much while in the womb. As the baby grows, she absorbs information from her environment – some of it natural, like colors, textures, tastes and so on. And some of it intellectual. She slowly learns that her parents make noises and that these noises refer to things she observes in the environment. She learns to speak. She learns language.

As she grows, she learns more than just relating words to external objects. She learns about human emotions – things like love and hate, fear, sorrow, happiness and joy. And she learns abstract thoughts.

Indeed, the metaphor of osmosis was used by early childhood educator Maria Montessori. She wrote of the absorbent mind. Children’s minds are like sponges – they see and hear and absorb the ideas surrounding them.

Now the filter, the semi-permeable membrane in the child’s mind that distinguishes things is the faculty of reason. Reason and logic are the child’s guide to making sense of the world. Such reasoning follows the simple acknowledgment of the law of identity. A is A. A child sits on a chair and learns that it supports her in a comfortable position. She sits on a pile of leaves and sinks into them. There is no support. She learns that a pile of leaves is not a chair. One is A and one is not A.

But just as a plant can be killed by dissolved poisons, so too can a child’s mind be corrupted by bad ideas. The filter of reason must be rigorously and actively applied to shut out the poison of bad ideas.

As an example, I wrote a review not long ago of Amir Ahmad Nasr’s incredible book, My Isl@m. In it I wrote how as a child “his was a love-hate relationship with Islam. Some aspects he loved and some he hated. But he ‘believed without questioning’. He was a brilliant student, memorizing long passages of the Qur’an and winning recital competitions. ‘I became wary of non-Muslims,’ he writes. ‘I hated Jews, hated secularism, and doubted democracy. I had a love-hate relationship with the West and its leader, the ‘Big Satan’, the United States of America.’ At age eleven he hoped to die as a martyr for Islam.”

Young Amir absorbed this attitude, not from his parents who were quite liberal, but from the religious school he attended. When the family moved to Malaysia, he was sent to a non-sectarian international school and learned that what he had been taught was wrong. And he became part of the dissident liberal Arab blogosphere with his blog, The Sudanese Thinker.

Amir’s explanation of what is wrong with Islam is enlightening. Islam was at one time a progressive religion. Author Rose Wilder Lane in The Discovery of Freedom writes of it as the Second Attempt at establishing a society based on freedom. “How did Islamdom lose her virtue?” asks Nasr. “Simply, she forgot the importance of reason.”

Reason! The filter of the mind that keeps out poisonous ideas. Indeed, when you think carefully of Amir’s story, you realize that our beliefs are often shaped by our culture, by our family background, by our teachers and schools, by the entertainment we watch and so on.

And unlike the semi-permeable membranes in plants and animals, the filter of reason must be actively controlled. One must choose to think. One must make an effort, otherwise one just absorbs whatever the culture gives us and accepts it as gospel.

And this includes actual gospel or religion. Are you a Christian? A Jew? A Muslim? A Sikh? A Hindu? Have you ever thought why?  What if you had been born into a family with a different religion, would you still have adopted the same religion that you now profess? Why not? Would it be any less true because you were raised in a different faith?

Indeed, Thomas Jefferson once noted, “Question with boldness even the existence of a God, because, if there be one, he must approve of the homage of reason, than that of blind-folded fear.”

The enemy of reason is authority. People either believe something because reason tells them it is a true belief, or they believe it because some authority figure, whether it be a teacher, a parent, a priest or a politician, tells them it is so and they choose not to actively engage their reason in questioning the truth of what they are taught.

This is an introduction to libertarianism. Libertarianism is a political philosophy based on the idea of freedom, on the idea of bowing to no authority, on the idea of the supremacy of reason.

But because most people submit to cultural osmosis, because they absorb ideas from the prevailing culture without carefully thinking things through, without questioning these ideas to see if they hold water, most people are not libertarians. Libertarianism begins with a questioning mind, with questioning authority, even the authority of your teachers priests, politicians and even parents.

Originally published at Liberty.me.

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