Saturday, January 19, 2013

Since Schools Suck, Your Kids Have to Educate Themselves

"By preventing a free market in education, a handful of social engineers - backed by the industries that profit from compulsory schooling: teacher colleges, textbook publishers, materials suppliers, et al. - has ensured that most of our children will not have an education, even though they may be thoroughly schooled." - John Taylor Gatto


I guess you could say I'm an autodidact.

I didn't learn a damn thing in public (meaning socialist) schools beyond the first grade. Readin', writin' and arithmetic. That was it. It wasn't about what Alfred Adler wrote: "Children should be prepared and motivated to make themselves the best human beings they are capable of becoming."

There was only one time I enjoyed school. I was in the gifted program the summer in-between the sixth and seventh grade. I took two classes, with about an hour in-between them, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

That was the summer I found my parent's old dictionary from the '50s and taught myself grammar from the back of it. I still have that dictionary.

Otherwise I never liked school. I didn't so much hate it as I was bored by it. I fell asleep in high school, and I wasn't the only student who did that. I did learn how to make a bong out of a coffee pot, though.

I decided I was mostly there to be babysat so my parents could work.

What I learned, I learned by myself. I don't even blame the teachers. They were caught in a bureaucratic mess and did the best they could.

I had maybe six classes in college that I learned anything in. It's astonishing how much time I wasted in school. Not just years. Decades.

In college, since I didn't want to waste the time and money taking any economics classes. I took proficiency tests for Introduction to Macroeconomics and Introduction to Microeconomics. I made an A and a B. The dean of the economics department came out and shook my hand and told me what I had done was almost impossible.

I didn't tell him all I did was read the books and study. (By the way, what was taught was the neoclassical/Keynesian synthesis, which means it was worthless.)

Schools have gotten a lot worse since I attended. Now they're drugging little boys with Ritalin. Oh my God. Psychiatric "medication" is associated with substantial increases in murder/suicide, and drug companies have paid out hundreds of millions of dollars in lawsuits.

The best times I ever had was when I was not in school. On weekends I used to roam for miles. I found stagnant ponds full not only of frog tadpoles but mudpuppy ones, which look like frog tadpoles but are about five times as big. I found wild bamboo. I found wild onions. i caught crawdads with a string and bread dough.

I bought home stray dogs. I rode horses and minibikes. I crashed everything I got on. I've got scars all over me, which I consider permanent souvenirs.

Speaking of wandering in the woods, I know one couple who gave up the whole work/consume lifestyle. They moved into a rural trailer. They homeschool their kids, which consists of walks in the woods while the mother or father explains what they encounter. Doing it by myself fascinated me, and I'm sure these kids aren't any different than me.

I once built a crystal radio kit out of a cardboard toilet roll with copper wire wrapped around it. Damn if it didn't work. Know how I learned to build it? From my Cub Scout handbook.

I'm not even going to talk about the things I did with fire and explosives. Let's just say I had a chemistry set.

These days, you really don't have to educate your kids by yourself. They'll educate themselves if you let them. Did you teach your sons to play video games? No. They taught themselves.

It's play they're engaging in.

Play is not exactly fun. It's serious and absorbing. And that's exactly what school is not.

When it comes right down to it, children always educate themselves. If children didn't have the inherent ability, they could never be educated no matter how hard adeults tried. So school should be set up to be absorbing. But it's not. I don't think it can be. You spend too much time there.

It's been noticed as far back as the Greeks you can only ask a question if in some way the answer is already in you. I remember when I was 12 or 13 I read a story by Robert Sheckley in which he wrote about the same thing: you can't even ask a question unless you already know most of the answer.

Stuart Brown, who spends his time studying play, said it "shapes the brain, open the imagination and invigorates the soul." He's exactly right, and it's exactly what school does not do.


There is a site, VisionForum, where you can buy toys for your children that they can use to entertain and educate themselves. It's where you can buy the electronic kit (along with lots of other toys) pictured at the top of the page.

Because you don't do it, the schools won't. Chances are they'll destroy your kids.

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