School Prepares Children for Life in the Real World

One of the greatest features of the modern age is the institution of schooling. The ability for parents to outsource their children’s education to people well-versed in pedagogy is nothing short of a miracle. While that’s swell on the academic front, schooling is also a great way to prepare children for life in the real world. Here are the top six ways.

Directed Learning through One-Way Communication

In the real world we have experts and authorities to teach us what’s true and to protect us from “fake news”. They do this mostly through publishing newspapers, magazines, and books, and through our television sets 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Whatever our duly elected representatives believe is best for us to know, they tell us in these many different ways. Since our government works for all of us, “the people”, they know they can’t get away with dishonesty. School prepares children to accept what experts and authorities teach by placing children under experts and authorities who know best, all day long, and for most of the year.

Segregation by Age and Intelligence

In the real world people mostly associate with other people nearest to them in age and IQ. It’s not likely that a child will grow up and associate with anyone either dumber or smarter than they are. Spouses and partners are typically the same age, as are colleagues. The one exception is family, but since that association isn’t voluntary, it’s a poor example for real world conditions. Schooling conditions children to be comfortable surrounded by people close to them in age and IQ. It’s not fair to subject dumb children to smart children, or smart children to dumb children, as those associations are unrealistic.

Long Periods of Silence and Inactivity

In the real world there aren’t a lot of jobs that require moving around and talking with other people too often. Most occupations in our capitalist free market economy require long periods of inactivity and silence. Also, they require carefully following instructions by superiors. Focusing on your job and being disciplined against distraction is a sure way to climb that corporate ladder. Schooling does an excellent job normalizing long periods of inactivity and silence so that people, particularly people from lower economic classes, may work hard and get ahead in the rat race, thereby reducing income inequality. Schooling also prevents self-direction in lieu of following specific instructions.

Minimal Opportunity for Disassociation

In the real world there is minimal opportunity to disassociate from people without significant negative consequences. It’s generally looked down upon to quit your job, or your church, or, heaven forbid!, your family. A surefire way to create unnecessary amounts of stress and heartache in a person’s life is to quit relationships. In school, children learn first hand the importance of staying around people they may not like or care for, and in learning to deal with them to maintain peace and harmony.

Correlation by Subject

In the real world believing anything outside the mainstream is considered radical and in some cases, quite extreme. Radical extremism is always destabilizing to a society and can lead to violence. Schooling teaches only mainstream beliefs about many different subjects in order to prepare children for a life of stability. History in particular has a way of creating division and discord, and so children in school are taught only the Official Version of the past. The more correlation there is among members of society, the better society is.

Rewards for Conformity

In the real world people get fired from their jobs, lose their income and health insurance, and become sick and homeless, when they fail to do what their bosses tell them to do. Conformity is greatly rewarded in our capitalist free market economy by increases in wages and bonuses. Schooling is one of the best places to learn conformity and to be rewarded for it. Rewards are also given for successful regurgitation of knowledge and passing tests, which is exactly how success on the job works.

If you aren’t convinced by now that schooling is one of the best ways to prepare children for the real world, then you’ve probably been living under a rock! The real world is full of rules and expertise that must be carefully navigated and adhered to if your child is going to become a productive and fulfilled member of society. There truly is no better way for a child to prepare for the future than by schooling.

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Written by 

Founder and editor of and, Skyler is a husband and unschooling father of three beautiful children. His writings include the column series “One Voluntaryist’s Perspective” and “One Improved Unit,” and blog series “Two Cents“. Skyler also wrote the books No Hitting! and Toward a Free Society, and edited the books Everything Voluntary and Unschooling Dads. You can hear Skyler chatting away on his podcasts, Everything Voluntary and Thinking & Doing.