Tuesday, November 28, 2006

UnSchooling — What a brilliant idea.

Recently the New York Times ran an article on Unschooling, a movement in the Home-Schooling community to let the children choose what to learn. I think this is a brilliant idea, and you will too, once you get all the Cold Hard Facts.

Imagine the typical 8th grade boy's day at school. First his English teacher forces him to read, Johnny Tremain, and he expects a three page report on it.Can you imagine a three whole pages about some idiot who doesn't even know he's not supposed to touch a hot stove? Then it's math class and they're starting algebra. Oh Joy. What is algebra used for anyway? All them letter and symbols, a big bunch of garbage. Then he has to learn about Chinese History. I mean who cares about ancient China? What will Ancient China get you in the real world, a job as a history teacher? Then he has to study French, and he knows he's never gonna speak it. It's all a big waste, and by forcing him to learn stuff he doesn't want to know, he won't end up with any useful knowledge.

But now look at the same kid in an Unlearning program. First period, he thinks he'll do some reading. It's time for some Batman. And Batman also teaches vocabulary too, and the crimefighting gadgets are a good example of engineering and forensics. Then at noon, it's time for some Playstation. It's no less useful than Chinese history, and it's FUN. After playing Playstation for three or four hours, maybe he'll do some math. Ha, yeah right! What does he need math for? That's why he owns a calculator. No the new issue of Mad Magazine just came. And those cartoons on Nickelodeon? They help teach about undersea life. And then he has to get his Runescape Character to a whole new level. So we can see how much more productive his day will be at home than in school.

But wait, you say, maybe a boy would waste his time on trivial matters like baseball cards and video games, but a girl would learn something from it. A girl understands the importance of education. Indeed she would. When she is not going shopping, she might decide to read a book or do some math maybe. And that reading and math would remain in her head longer, because she decided to learn all on her own. Or at least it would remain in her head until her next shopping trip.

So we can see how much unlearning would improve the quality of education in this country.

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