School is the culturally accepted place to become educated. Yet, most of us know people who graduated from high school (some with honors) who don’t know how to write, effectively – they have no idea how to take their thoughts (spoken words) and turn them into cohesive sentences, with punctuation, that people can easily understand. There are millions of folks who sat through Algebra, and like myself (who took the Algebra regents four times before passing), could not begin to successfully solve an algebraic problem if their lives depended on it. The same goes for the sciences – despite years of Life Science, Chemistry, Earth Science, and Physics, a great deal of adults don’t come close to understanding the scientific process. (Hence the insistence that climate change, or, even, evolution is a hoax.) And, then, there is Social Studies (History), which accounts for years of watching the clock, listening to the endless droning lectures about the complexities of what came before us. Is it any wonder we are destined to repeat the exact same mistakes, endlessly?
Nevertheless, we are still afraid to deviate from the status quo, called school. We are petrified that our kids might not learn what they need to know to survive, simply, because that sanctioned institution constantly reminds us that young people are lazy, unmotivated, apathetic, and need to be told what to learn.
What many do not quite grasp is that our children have acquired the propensity to be lazy, unmotivated, and apathetic in response to that coercive, stifling, and oppressive environment, which only rewards obedience, subservience, compliance, and the ability to fill in a worksheet correctly, while punishing creativity, innovation, and free thought. Subsequently, in the process of getting educated, most kids have, quite literally, learned to hate learning.
Think about it, have you ever encountered an indolent, unenthusiastic, or indifferent toddler? Most likely not – due to the fact that we are all born curious, with the innate desire to create and learn about the world around us. Research has proven that our inherent motivation to acquire knowledge does not go away simply because we turn 4 or 5 – it continues throughout our lifetime, unless it is effectively shut down by outside forces.
I believe that most of us recognize the above statements, and, ultimately, realize that most everything we have individually learned has been self-directed - based on our personal interests and aspirations. We became good at something, not because we sat in a classroom and listened to someone tell us how to do it, but because we did it, over and over and over again.
To this day, I struggle with the intricacies of spelling, or, for that matter, grammar (despite the tortuous months in sixth grade we spent diagramming sentences). Regardless, I have spent years writing, relying on spell and grammar check, dictionaries, thesauruses, and that little reference book I purchased for my first English Comp, Class at Cazenovia College in 1983, all the while developing an authentic voice that sometimes (OK, often) disregards all the rules. I write because it is an important part of who I am, and it is essential in how I express myself to the world. More importantly, it quite simply, makes me happy.
It is possible to release the fear and stand up for change, to defeat this particular status quo. In doing so, we are providing every single young person the opportunity to explore the one (or many) thing(s), deeply, in their own time, and on their own terms - that ultimately makes them happy, and, yes, even, successful.
Consider this unsolicited message I received this past week from Maddi, a student who finished high school at DRC, last May: "Hey, Maria! I just wanted to say that I miss you and everybody else there! And, I wanted to say thank you, I appreciate everything you've done for me so so much, I don't know where I'd be right now if it wasn't for Deep Root❤️"
For more on this topic, you can listen to this Blake Boles podcast. He is a leader
in the self-directed educational movement.
We are also very excited about the new film Self-Taught, by Jeremy Stuart,
the director of Class Dismissed. While we are waiting for our copy,
which we will be sharing with anyone who is interested,
you can enjoy this trailer.
Don't miss it - June first during the Dairy Princess Celebration! If you have items to donate please get in touch.