It seems home educating families are not the only ones worried by a fast track attitude to acquiring knowledge for the sake of an education.
In this article ‘Learning ‘infantilised’ by relying on Internet’ (here) Helen Fraser talks about the dangers to their learning of children getting quick-fix answers off the Internet rather than being educated to a deeper understanding.
“I want to bring back thinking – and I think a lot of what happens on the internet is antipathetic to thinking and suggests there is no alternative view,” says Ms Fraser… “Learning should be about engaging with ideas, rather than “regurgitating facts”, she says.
I think she’s probably summed up what’s wrong with our system of education overall in that statement and why so many of us are choosing the home school route as an alternative. Because many parents are realising that education is so much more about a process of personal development than it is about finding stuff out and being able to replicate it.
Sadly that’s all it’s become to many children who think education is about having the answers and who want to get them as quickly and painlessly as possible, and to many parents who just want their kids to get the grades. Probably because they’ve bought the propaganda that you won’t have a life if you don’t!
There’s no doubt that the Internet has brought a whole new aspect to education in that it makes knowledge available to all (as long as you have access, of course). And is a wonderful tool.
But with this knowledge accessibility, which we once relied on the fact-superior teachers for as they were the only access to it when most families didn’t even have books or the skill to read them, perhaps now is the time to reassess our view of what kids need schools and teachers for.
Perhaps it’s time for schools to be less about academic cramming and more about developing our young people to think for themselves; think about their lives beyond schools and grade getting and what they want to do with them, rather than just getting their education over with.
Everything we did as home educators was about the development of the person; personally. It was about building skills for a productive, fulfilling and happy life. And the kids understood that. It was never for the good of an institution, for our adult satisfaction, or for the acquisition of meaningless facts and grades – although they did become a meaningful part of the process as they got older.
But I do wonder how many school children honestly feel their education is really, meaningfully, for them as they search the Internet desperately looking for ‘right’ answers to get the homework done, rather than engaging with ideas, which is really what makes them educated!