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Free to Teach Different to Your Children

Creative learning makes a happy difference. (Photo credit: Anastasia Gepp from Pixabay.)

How you think about life is at the heart of launching yourself toward a dream. Yet, thinking “outside the box” is a challenge even for the best-prepared minds.

If you’ve been taught to fear “different” or, worse, been taught that the box is all there is, your chances of achieving a dream life is close to nil.

Presumptuous Assumptions

How we're educated as children influences our fear or box-is-all-there-is tendencies, and in a previous post, I explained that standard schooling is structured to make everyone the same and to make them fear incorrect choices (i.e., getting test questions wrong).

The huge problem with this model is that failure is a great teacher and usually results from creative exploration that can unlock great opportunities. But our freedom to educate children in creative, healthy ways is under attack on multiple fronts.

For example, in an Arizona Law Review essay, Harvard law professor Elizabeth Bartholet bemoans the freedom to homeschool:

“Every state allows homeschooling. No state has effective regulation ensuring that homeschooled children receive an adequate education.”*

The assumptions implied by this one statement (let alone Dr. Bartholet's entire article) are grotesque.

1) Government is presumed to have the duty to manage and regulate education.

The truth is, government took that responsibility from people by enacting laws giving itself authority to educate the populace. The wolf voted itself the right to manage the flock for the good of the sheep.

Rows help learning? (Photo credit: Pixabay.)

One by one, every state saddled its citizens with freedom-depriving compulsory education laws, beginning with Massachusetts in 1852 and completing the Prussian-style overhaul in every state by 1918.

Since then, “we the people” have been forced to assume that “they the government” have the right to require children to go to public schools unless parents can justify an alternative.

2) Public school is the appropriate default for educating children.

This presumes that institutionalized learning as provided by government schools is the natural, best way to educate.

3) Parents are not inherently able to educate their children.

Others—who are less aware of a child's abilities and who care less for the child's well-being—supposedly have an ability that parents don’t.

4) Government schools provide adequate education.

The performance results of public schooling through the years makes this assumption laughable. There are excellent teachers in schools, of course, but they can't redeem the system.

5) A classroom is the best venue for delivering education to children.

What do we suppose is learning-conducive about seating curious and creative young people in rows of desks and requiring all of them to do the same things every day? Learning is a creative activity that amplifies the specific gifts and abilities of those being educated.

A fundamentally flawed approach to education, the classroom system is broken even before it gets started. The reason we do it is because it’s the only option for mass-producing education.

The Next Generation of Different

Views like those of Dr. Bartholet threaten our ability to do Different as we see fit.

It may be okay for you to send your children to public school, but do it because you think that’s the best way to educate your children. Don’t just do it by default. If you can’t truly say it's best, find a Different option.

Education can give kids a healthy glimpse of the future.

Combating wrong thinking about education is essential to retaining our right to be different in the way we choose.

For our children, the stakes are particularly high.

Turning out people who conform to prescribed ways of thinking is inherent in mass-produced schooling. And government-run schools are the worst.

Children not only receive a limited range of “learning” but also a worldview that may be incompatible with the values of their parents. Private schools at least have the advantage of offering a worldview that parents choose for their children.

Schools create a generation that may not even know there’s an option to do life differently than standard procedure (i.e., the box is all there is). And someone who has been programmed at school will have a much more difficult path to the best Different for him or her.

Although I think Different isn't nurtured by any model of institutionalized schooling, the most important point is that we should be free to make the choice—because the right education can jumpstart a satisfying life of doing Different.

____________________________ *Elizabeth Bartholet, “Homeschooling: Parent Rights Absolutism vs. Child Rights to Education & Protection” in Arizona Law Review, Vol 62:1.

**Photo credit: Daria Shevtsova from Pexels.


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©2020 Greg Webster. All rights reserved.

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