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school is out forever

A few days ago I published the video of my 2006 gubernatorial debate, primarily because in it I discussed my proposal to allow tax deductions for scholarships to schools chosen by parents and students. For me that plan would be a huge step in the right direction treating growing, exploring, individuals as that, rather than cogs to be forged by a government monolith.

That article and debate video are here:
2006 Idaho governor candidate debate

Today my FEE newsletter arived with two links to great articles on education. I share excerpts and links with you.



What Happens When You Ask Unschoolers “What They Want to Be When They Grow Up”
“Real life” isn’t something to be postponed.
by Kerry McDonald

My daughter is a baker. When people ask her what she wants to be when she grows up, she responds breezily: “A baker, but I already am one.”

You see, with unschooling there is no postponement of living and doing. There is no preparation for some amorphous future, no working toward something unknown.

There is simply life.

There Is No “After” in Unschooling

To ask what a child wants to be when she grows up is to dismiss what she already is.

The question of what a child wants to be when she grows up is a curious one well-rooted in our schooled society. Disconnected from everyday living and placed with same-age peers for the majority of her days and weeks, a schooled child learns quickly that “real life” starts after. It starts after all of the tedium, all of the memorizing and regurgitating, all of the command and control. It starts after she is told what to learn, what to think, whom to listen to. It starts after her natural creativity and instinctive drive to discover her world are systematically destroyed within a coercive system designed to do just that. She must wait to be.

With unschooling, there is no after. There is only now. My daughter is a baker because she bakes. She is also many other things. To ask what a child wants to be when she grows up is to dismiss what she already is, what she already knows, what she already does.



This relates directly to the destruction of creativity in the masses, which is one of the great losses to humanity. Waiting until we have spent the dozen or more years of our exploratory youth BEFORE we undertake expression of who we are almost guarantees a homogeneous gray populace … conveniently designed to be employees to a ruling class.

Lists of people who escaped that factory are impressive. I encourage you to scan these two from Wikipedia.

So much can be accomplished by children loosed to pursue their interests and passions. So much lost to a society that stifles it.

Some of us survive the Prussian youth training model with some of our exploratory curiosity intact. It would be wonderful if more could, but better still if there weren’t such a system crushing individuality in the first place.

Even if you weren’t unschooled, you can still rediscover your flow by deschooling yourself, which entails reuniting work, learning, and play. This following article discusses a way out that is available to all of us at any age and station in life.

I deliver a small excerpt from the following article. Again, the link gets you to FEE and the whole enchilada.


How School Stole Your Flow
And how to get it back.

by Dan Sanchez

In a series of books, starting with his 1975 Beyond Boredom and Anxiety: Experiencing Flow in Work and Play, Csikszentmihalyi has shown that people can find joy and even fulfillment in their work if they facilitate “flow,” which he defines as:

…the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity.”

At the Harvard Health blog, Edward Phillips, M.D. elaborates on the characteristics of flow:

You lose awareness of time. You aren’t watching the clock, and hours can pass like minutes.

You aren’t thinking about yourself. Your awareness of yourself is only in relation to the activity itself, such as your fingers on a piano keyboard, or the way you position a knife to cut vegetables, or the balance of your body parts as you ski or surf.

You aren’t interrupted by extraneous thoughts. Instead, you are completely focused on the activity — mastering or explaining a line of thinking in your work, creating tiers of beautiful icing for a cake, or visualizing your way out of a sticky chess situation.

You are active. Flow activities aren’t passive, and you have some control over what you are doing.

You work effortlessly. Although you may be working harder than usual, at flow moments everything is “clicking” and feels almost effortless.

You would like to repeat the experience.”

Flow can be so intense as to be trance-like. Such “optimal experiences,” as Csikszentmihalyi also calls them, have been reported by people of all walks of life. Athletes call it being “in the zone.” Writers, artists, and musicians have spoken of being inspired, even possessed, by a “muse” since ancient times. Yet, even more prosaic occupations can be blessed with flow.