If you want to check out parts 1 and 2 of this series go here… Part 1, Part 2 In this final part of a series of three, we take a look at the skills young people do not leave school with. These can be addressed more consistently and comprehensively when parent consider a home education.
What is left untaught?
Intelligence is the ability to handle a large number of abstractions at a time. however, intelligence without effective thinking will never realise its potential. Not only is thinking conspicuously absent from the school curriculum, it is implicitly discouraged! The methods of instruction and testing, of rote learning and examination, do not encourage critical thinking. Sadly school seems to have the widespread effect of diminishing natural curiosity and of crippling the desire to know. The most important skill left untaught in school is critical thinking.
Any education worth having must address philosophical fundamentals. It must address questions about the nature of reality and of knowledge itself, and of the basics of logic and argument. Without explicit discussion of those ‘deep’ or ‘BIG’ issues, the empty space where their own conclusions should be, gets filled with cultural downloads from the society around them. Assumptions about our understanding of reality, the nature of things, how reality works, are then filed away never to be consciously visited. These form our world-view, they become are our (often) unconsciously held philosophical convictions, and they guide our lives. If we are to raise fully conscious young people, we must encourage the conscious examination of philosophical convictions because they guide our lives.
There are two more important lessons that are untaught in schools, yet we as parents can demonstrate them in the course of a home education:
- (consistent, logical, predictable) Learning to make sense of the world while surrounded by irrationality is impossible. The more easily children can get to grips with reality the better, modelled irrational behaviour, from fellow student or teacher, is not what is needed.
- The use of violence is as irrational as it’s counter productive. It is never productive to force someone to do that which they do not wish to do. Using appropriate force in other circumstances may be required, for example preventing one child hitting another, or forced removal from the group with disruptive behaviour. Negotiation, persuasion and trade are useful tools to create win-win scenarios.
- I hope that you found some value in these thoughts. Even if you are like most families and can’t even consider home education because two incomes are needed to run the home and pay for the chosen lifestyle. For so many these days school is the perfect child care service and the option of having children at home all day is just not on the cards. It is undoubtedly true that ‘sending the children to school’ suits the conventional lifestyle, and for some, it is difficult to see home education as even a possibility. A more rural lifestyle makes for an easier setting. I have found that our small holding activities are well suited to providing things to do as well as space to do it.It is in everyone’s interests to live in an enlightened society.
I hope you have got some benefit from these thoughts and ideas. Please join the conversation and leave a comment below.