Monday, December 13, 2010

The Importance of Secondary Edumacation

We've always noticed that there's a shortage of older kids at our homeschool / unschool groups. and I've been forming a bit of a theory about this over the recent days. Bear with me while I bash it out for you!

I've noticed that a lot of people seem to think that now Stylish is in highschool I'll get over my "phase" and do the "right thing" by sending her to school. But I'd rather chew my leg off. The more I think about their well meaning, IRRITATING commentary, the more I begin to see why though. People who think it's ok to homeschool for the primary years but for highschool kids NEED a proper, state sanctioned edumacation, have totally bought into the idea that without a leaving certificate, children will FAIL FAIL FAIL. And you can't blame them for that because the state puts out a lot of propaganda to support that.

I'd like to address that first, just quickly though, because I've already raved about it in previous posts - I think. Think back to your last job interview. Did the interviewer ask you how well you had done in school? Or did they just want to know what life experience you had which qualified you to fill the available position? A leaving certificate is useful - but not necessary - for entering university, but not much else. Home schooled kids (yes, even unschooled ones) regularly enter tertiary education institutions, and they do quite well (thankyou very much!)

So, that aside, why is highschool so terribly important? In my experience .... it's NOT! Children learn very little in highschool, that will serve them later on. They learn to hate study, they learn that learning is only important if it's about things the state deems necessary, and they learn to smoke cigarettes and use sexist, homophobic, racist language from sun up to sun down. However, primary school is an entirely different matter. In primary school, children learn the crucial skills of literacy and numeracy. Literacy is the backbone of our society, and numeracy is handy too. I should note here that that is the intended purpose of primary school, it's not always the outcome.

So, no. I'm not going to send my daughter to school now she's in highschool. She is naturally curious, and driven to learn at her own pace, about things that she intends to use in her lifetime. She learnt to read and write and count in a school (although probably mostly at home when I think of it!) and she's learnt everything she's actually interested in, and using daily, since she was removed from the institution. Stop stressing your kids out about exams they're never going to need the scores from, stop stressing about them remembering the useless facts they're not going to remember in two years time (probably even two weeks after the final exam). Teach them to cook dinner, grow vegetables, care for living creatures, manage money, and let them focus on what they're interested in. The world has enough worker bees, we really need some more free spirited queens! So my theory is that many people, even home schoolers believe that the most important stuff in highschool. And my belief is that this is simply not true.