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Homeschool Fiction

Follow homeschoolers Nadia and Aidan as they travel the USA! Each book in this series explores a new state and a new research topic. Along with their parents and pet turtle, they find adventure and learning everywhere.

...and just what is that mysterious device of theirs?

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May 2008
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Topics: education,empowerment,homeschooling,Unschooling,words

What’s the REAL goal with today’s educational systems?

Maybe I’m fixated on goals, as this isn’t my first post on the topic.

I love goals. Without them, I wouldn’t finish a lot of things I’ve started. Who wants a half finished quilt or the first two chapters of a manuscript? Not many people. Who wants to go to a themed party or event that hasn’t been planned? Not me. Who of my Girl Scouts would keep coming back to meetings if they weren’t planned out? None.

Goals are good, great in fact. I encourage my kids to have goals also. I encourage everyone I know to have them. I love goals! I always have them and I suspect I always will.

You have to give your kids a good education – this is the argument I hear the most against real-world-life-long-learning-Unschooling.

Why is a “good education” a necessary goal? To get into a good college. These days, the cycle is started early: get into a good preschool so you can get into a good elementary school so you can get into a good middle/junior high school so you can get into a good high school so you can get into a good college so you can get into a good graduate program so you can get a good job (and marry a good mate and have good kids so you can start the cycle all over again). Whew! I’m tired and blurry eyed just writing all that out and I haven’t even mentioned that the good grades were necessary throughout the whole cycle. Aren’t you tired of it all? Kind of makes you want to veg out in front of a television, doesn’t it? Yet, at the end of it all you are finally allowed to be happy…

Why not work on your career of choice from the start instead of living that vicious cycle? Education really isn’t the end goal for most people. A good job is. They are locked into the mindset of thinking there is only one track to get to that job. It’s a faulty premise. School does not equal learning which does not equal education which does not equal good job and it certainly does not equal happiness.

So, what do Unschoolers do differently? Well, for starters, we look at our children TODAY. Our goals for our kids are short term and medium term and long term, all rolled up into THE CHILD. Our goals are their goals and we are flexible and ever changing. We don’t get set into one perspective on how to live life properly. We know that school is only one of a million or more choices. We know that life is a lot more flexible than the school paradigm states. Our kids can change their goals on a whim. Their whims are determined by their interests. Our only true goal: their actual knowledge and happiness!

Let me repeat that. Unschoolers’ goals are KNOWLEDGE and HAPPINESS. What’s more important than that? Nothing. We know we can accomplish anything in this world with enough knowledge, happiness, and perseverance. Anyone can. Going to a school doesn’t necessarily make a person smarter. It almost inevitably makes a person more able to temporarily pass certain tests. This isn’t knowledge. This is busy-work and short-lived memorization.

We need to stop confusing “education” and “knowledge”; they are not synonymous. We need to take a step back and look at the big picture. Where were we trying to get to in the first place? We need to start heading straight there instead of going the long way around.