Before I start this, may I ask that anyone who wishes to write for ATH or MGC send me a guest post? Make sure you put Guest Post in the subject, though, otherwise I lose them in my inbox, because– well, because I’m juggling about a million things.
The next month is going to be hell, and if I don’t have guest posts, there are going to be a lot of non-post posts.
I was talking with some friends about the difference between art and craft, and things we only find out we can do in our middle years, or something, when a light bulb went on.
I’ve long been really upset at our schooling methods. Not because they are startlingly ineffective (they are) or because they create a tendency to be conformist to immediate surroundings (they do) but because they create humans with deformed guidance systems.
I first started being irritated by this when I realized that people sending me manuscripts for my opinion asked if I was doing it “correctly.”
I can’t answer that. There isn’t a correct way to do this.
And then I realized this extended to the bizarre credentialism. You can’t write cozy mysteries, because police are trained and know the right way to solve murders. You must trust the credentials. (If you read ANY true crime/investigation books, you realize this is bullshit. The number of mistakes, and paved over stuff is amazing. And yes, rank amateurs an stumble on a solution. Sometimes it’s just seeing things from another angle. Getting the police to listen to you, OTOH might be impossible.)
By the time a bunch of mentally deficient teens invaded my blog to tell me I had to respect their English teacher (who was a disaster at grammar and vocabulary, btw, judging by how she corrected my kids paper) because of her credentials and position, I was about ready to blow my top.
You see, spending 12 years of our lives in schools fosters the idea that not only is there a “correct” solution for everything, but also that someone “up there” in the non-identified credential heaven knows “the right way.”
Most innovations, inventions, and new ways of doing things were created by rank amateurs. And there was no “right” way to do it, until they did.
Public schooling, even before it became all indoctrination all the time, is a killer of thought, of creativity, of ability.
And then it channels kids into narrow paths, and they never know what they could do, if left to try.
Now, when I home schooled, there was a group called Unschool. They just sort of let the kids learn. The lazy man’s way to teaching.
Yeah, that’s perfectly fine, if your goal is to have your kid be able to read basic sentences and do simple math. (Which I’ll add is more than most public school manages.)
I of course got newsletters from all the groups, and eventually decided against them all, because their goals were not my goals. But the unschooling group, bragging that their 14 year old could finally read proficiently didn’t help.
That would be fine if I were raising a farmer, but we don’t have acreage.
Now, the group I wanted didn’t exist.
It used to be kids could read write and do arithmetic proficiently by 10 and might have some Latin and a little bit of Greek. That requires time with them sitting down and working. (Not a ton of time. What I found homeschooling is that in two hours the little sponge absorbed more than in 8 hours days in school. Which is why we went through 3 years of curriculum in one.) And it requires goals. And frankly, like learning to speak, and learning to walk, is probably BEST done by parents. These are basic skills after all, or used to be.
And you know, you’re not letting that kid near any kid of college till 14. So why not let them explore the world of learning after that, so they at least have an idea of what’s possible?
Seriously. I picked a career with no idea what it entailed. All I knew was school.
In the same way, most of us did that.
And that was fine, when the world of the late 20th century was all credentialism and careerism.
However, I think even us, late-middle agers need to unschool ourselves now. There is a great transformation coming, and the only thing I can tell you is that you have to be agile. You have to learn new things, new skills, new abilities. All of us do.
Unschool yourself. And make sure your kids know there isn’t a secret perfect answer to any problem. Some are easier than others, or better than others. But —
But there isn’t A teacher holding the perfect answer. (Except maybe in the moral/religious sense, but that’s something else.)
The future isn’t written. You have to write it as you go.
And we’re all amateurs at life.