Friday, August 11, 2006

Mass Dumbness

"Mass dumbness first had to be imagined, it isn't real." -John Gatto

I'm currently rereading a book called The Underground History of American Education which is where the above quote came from. I decided to pick it up again after having a discussion a few days ago with a friend who decided to challenge our reasons for homeschooling. He wanted to make me think long and hard about our current priorities, it worked. What I came up with was that our number one priority is our kids. We may have changed the reasons why we are homeschooling but we are still committed to this lifestyle.

I call it a lifestyle because our schooling doesn't stop when we close the books and "school time" is done for the day. I have *gasp* become more of a believer in unschooling over the past 2 years. We are still structured but that structure has more and more taken a backseat to life. I have noticed during this time that the kids have learned more than I could have ever imagined! Our son went from not reading to reading chapter books one day, it just finally clicked. Now he has read most of what we have available in a week or so. We have read about giant squids and whales because the topic was in a magazine article we saw. We have done an extensive amount of reading on bats because we have a colony living in the attic. The kids remember what we read because it has a connection to the real world, that doesn't always happen when we read things for "school".

So what does that have to do with mass dumbness? The friend I mentioned earlier wanted to know why we don't just put the kids in school. One of the big reasons I mentioned was that our son would be labeled and stuck in a "special ed" class. He thinks differently and that is just not valued in today's society. I think this is part of that mass dumbness, because someone is different they are labeled as dumb. The assumption is that kids need to be taught not that they will actually learn just by living in the real world. I disagree. I think they are kept in ignorance by being taught in a classroom. They are fed only what the experts think they need or can handle, in short their abilities are grossly underestimated. Unfortunately, the mind and ability to think are like muscles, they need to be used and exercised. This type of schooling only allows those muscles to atrophy and eventually they wither.

We now have a society where mass dumbness is a common belief. It's so sad!

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