“A system that trains us rather than inspires us.”

One of the things that I’ve realized is that most of the critical learning that I needed, the important aspects of education that truly inspired me happened outside of school. Up until my senior year I did really well in school, not because I was overly intelligent, but I generally knew how to work within the system. I sincerely believe that the weight we put on school and educational institutions is far overrated. By continuously allowing those who know nothing about education determine what must be emphasized in school, we acquiesce to a system that continues to prepare students as automatons.

This was particularly emphasized as I was looking into a class for the Jibbers called “School Skills”. While he is homeschooled, I thought perhaps exposing him to “school” once a week would be a nice change. It pretty much was a preparation for preschoolers on the skills that require wait-your-turn, raise-your-hand-to-speak, stand-in-a-straight-line situations wrapped in let’s-learn-letters, numbers, colours and shapes in between snack-time and dress-up.

The teacher said that while they do have free play at some point, which the children really love (I wonder why), the teacher still provides some direction. This was seen as a good thing  by the teacher. You can read about how feel about these things here. I decided against any further exploration. The Jibbers already knows a how to wait his turn when we play board games or when we’re at the park or at his swimming classes. And he is learning to wait before he speaks if me or Josh are speaking to someone else or each other; I don’t need him to raise his hand. He says please and thank you when he sincerely feels it, and also when gently reminded. But I’m not convinced he needs to do this for the next 12 years to get it right.

Apparently, neither was this valedictorian. While she recognizes the school skills that she learned, she does acknowledge a fear of not really knowing anything:

“When I leave educational institutionalism, will I be successful or forever lost? I have no clue about what I want to do with my life; I have no interests because I saw every subject of study as work, and I excelled at every subject just for the purpose of excelling, not learning. And quite frankly, now I’m scared.”

The full text of Erica’s speech can be found here.

While I cannot take away the fear of the unknown for the Jibbers, I do hope that Josh and I can at least prepare him for what really matters, and not simply on how best to bubble in the most correct answer.

~ by Omaira on June 6, 2013.

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