The Real World

Writes Kicking it Unschool:

There is the opinion that school prepares children for the “real world”. I disagree.

First of all, children are often forced to go to school against their will. Then they are forced to associate with the children in their classes, lunch hour, and recess. Their lives are put on a schedule of when to wake, eat, use the restroom, and sleep that requires they ignore their body’s signals for what it needs.

In the name of teaching responsibility and maturity these children are forced to act like little adults. They are robbed of the period in their lives when being irresponsible and immature teaches their opposites naturally, before the harsh consequences of adulthood.

Adults in the “real world”, however, have a choice in everything they do. If they don’t want to wake early, they can choose not to take an 8-5 job (if they choose to work for someone else at all). If someone is harassing them, they can choose not to associate with them. If, at any point in any situation, they want to leave they are free to do so. They can choose what to eat, when to sleep, to listen to their body or not. Yes, there are negative consequences to certain actions or inactions, but the choice is still theirs to make.

So in actuality the “real world” of adulthood looks nothing like the forced world of school. Quite the opposite. I know there are some reading who will think, “I don’t have the choice of x,y,or z.” and to those of you I say I am sorry someone has convinced you of that. I am sorry someone led you to believe there are limited choices or opportunities in the world. It simply isn’t true.

Want your kid prepared for the real world? Then have him living in the real world, not a prison.


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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.