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On Unschooling

“Unschooling” is the current trend of letting kids learn what they want, when they want. Supposedly, 10% of North American homeschoolers are using this educational model. Despite the anecdotal success stories and the startling fact that over 90% of unschooled kids go on to college (vs. 60% for publicly educated kids), unschooling has its share of detractors.

From this article:

It’s this lack of structure that has child psychiatrist and Harvard Medical professor Steven Schlozman concerned.

“Teaching is really hard. It’s really hard. I don’t think that just anybody can sit down and help a child achieve their educational goals and needs.

“There’s something wonderful about the idea of just letting kids be kids… focusing just on what they like, can do or are passionate about,” Schlozman continued. “The only thing is, they also live in the world and the world is going to need things from them.”

“…THE WORLD IS GOING TO NEED THINGS FROM THEM” Yes it will, Steven, yes it will. The world needs them to be obedient workers, just like yourself, otherwise the whole system might collapse. Take it from the Harvard professor, he goes to the establishment’s favorite school so he knows what the establishment wants.

Schlozman said students need trained adults to help them make that leap from what’s wired in our lower brain functions (walking, talking, eating) to higher brain functions (understanding why “To Kill A Mockingbird” is a good book) because pre-adolescent brains lack the capacity for abstraction.

“To Kill A Mockingbird” being a good book is self-evident. If we really need someone to explain to us why it is a good book, is it really that good? This is what is wrong with schooling; it doesn’t teach thinking for yourself, it teaches thinking like the rest of us. The smart kids will languish for 13 years and then graduate with a chip on their shoulder, the well-adjusted and privileged ones might even grow up to be the next Steven Scholzmans, suffering from convenient amnesia about their own life experiences once they have found a safe and comfortable nook within the facade of the machine’s walls. They can fiddle and laugh as it grinds forward, chewing through the soil and our souls, and the least damned among them may one day feel a tinge of regret over their complacency, regret quickly absolved with conciliatory reflections of “we didn’t know any better, the science and literature, the laws and authorities, all said that their way was the best, and who was I, so young and naive, to challenge them? Maybe the next generation of kids will get it right…”.

Or maybe they won’t because they never learned to think for themselves.

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