5/24 – What is school for?

How do I as a parent prevent my kids from loosing their inspiration?
Should I take my kids out of school?parents at fault

Now, if you’ve followed Seth you know he is a staunch critic of the current school system, but besides the fact that it’s a industrialist system designed (originally) to produce compliant cogs, he actually took me a bit by surprise here. Because he blames parents. (Now I’m not into blame games normally, but he has a point.) Parents should be asking what is school for, of everybody, anyone with a power to make changes, on all levels. And since everybody actually does influence somebody else, this really is something to ask of everybody.

What is school for?

Or, to use the twitterified question of the Swedish movement #skolvåren (translates to school spring): #WhySchool?

But, the real answer to the question affected me even more. Seth said that there is one thing that he loves about public schools and that is the fact that it’s such a mix. Where a kid from the projects can sit next to a kid with a billionaire mother. A kid with five older siblings, who never got a brand new piece of clothing in his life, can sit next to an only and severely spoilt child. (Perhaps a current risk we are facing is that the eclectic mix seems destined to become a thing of the past, the way the school system is run at the moment?)

So rather than think that you have to take your kid out of school, look at what you can do outside of school. In the afternoons. Weekends. Holidays!

Edit Wikipedia articles together, help your kids set up a blog to write in, give them a camera, buy them (or you all) a Raspberry Pi to experiment with, go to museums and art galleries, play together, read books, write books! Join a local toastmasters club, play instruments and sing together, travel the world, or go walk-about on roads in your local area that you’ve never walked along before. Grow vegetables in the garden, or sow a sunflower seed in a small pot of soil, get chickens for your backyard, cook together. Have fun! Live, love, laugh!

So even though, generally speaking, we don’t have a school system designed to create free-range kids, that doesn’t mean your kids can’t become free-range kids anyway. (What a free-range kid is? Check out this post: Part 4, Seth at On Being!)

So just get cooking! Homeschool (or unschool if that is more to your liking) your kids after ordinary school is out for the day, the week, the semester, the year! There is so much more to life than school, and learning for life can take place just about anywhere and anytime. I think the reason this affected me such was that I’d somehow forgotten about this little fact. But now I’ve been reminded.

Reflection #5 of 24 from the notes I took and the experience I had at the Seth Godin Q&A-session in London, November 2015. These reflections will constitute my Advent Calendar for 2015, and will be posted daily from December 1st to the 24th.

Preparing for life

Alan Seale wrote about Preparing for life, a 17 minute long film about a Waldorf school in California, The Waldorf School of the Peninsula, in his newsletter. He wrote about it in a way that spiked my interest and curiosity, so while having lunch I watched the film:

Now. There’s a lot going on in my mind as I watch this, as I take in what I see and hear. Some of those things are questions like:

  • Is it just this school or is this film representative (in spirit, if nothing else) of all Waldorf-schools? *how I wish for the latter*
  • Why haven’t I found a school like this for my children to attend? *feel sad, that I haven’t*
  • Is there even any schools like this in Sweden? I know there are Waldorf schools, but are they truly like this one? Same same but different, perhaps? *hoping I will find out from friends who work in and with Waldorf schools in Sweden and Norway*
  • Why don’t all kids get a chance to go to a school that truly give’s them access to this:
    To know the world is to know the self, and to know the self is to know the world.

But also thoughts such as:

  • Within the existing school system paradigm, this is probably as good as it gets.
  • But still, how strange it is that we toss kids together with other kids the same age, and sprinkle in a handful of adults, and keep them all in a classroom, or two, within the confines of a building called a school house. This is not natural for humans, it’s not what we are wired for, physically or psychologically.
  • Not surprised that the TV-reporters use dramatic words of ”totally unplugged school” when that is not what the teachers and students are saying at all. But headlines require the use of drama to get attention right?
  • Amazing eye sparkles going on here, as well as relationships, learning, and creations – I mean, witness some of those paintings and sculptures – they look like they were made by a professional!

All in all, Preparing for life leaves me with a feeling of hope. It show’s me it is possible to make something really great out of the concept of school, as it stands today, and looking forward, there’s every opportunity to create a school system where all children truly will be able to thrive and explore their human potential.

What are you left with after watching the film?