Unschooling Nisarga

By | January 22, 2010

Okay, its world war three, and as usual, I’m in the thick of things. This time, it is a stray comment that Nisarga will not go to school. This has sparked a minor wave of arguments. Many have shaken their heads wryly thinking that its yet another of my strange ideas. Those who know me better have started their own campaigns of explaining how school is necessary to a well rounded childhood (as though they have explored options), how it will be difficult to sustain year after year the strain of educating the child, and more.

I find schools overrated.

I have been in one as a child. While not traumatized, it isn’t something to write home about.

My reasons for deciding to unschool Nisarga:

  1. Schooling is a huge investment in time. Compared with the time I invested in it, I have got precious little back. That is not to say I didn’t learn anything. It is simply saying that much of what I learned is rarely useful in life, and many things I learned actually harm my well being in real life.
  2. Schools teach us to quantify people based on a standard scale. We don’t really need much of what we learn in school, and most of what we need to learn in life, we learn from life. Yet, kids start believing themselves as clever or dumb based on what some ambitious bunch of teachers decides as life skills.
  3. The education system has no real way to impart necessary knowledge. One may argue that maths, science, history, language, etc are the foundations of learning. One may argue that they are certainly not. The fact is that very few schools actually prepare you for life. With calculators all around, I see no reason for my son to waste some of the prime developmental years of his life learning methods to divide 679676876 by 5875. Been there, done that, and never done it in real life. Always used a calculator – on my phone, my computer…
  4. Many subjects of knowledge are not covered though we pretend they are. Art for example is a joke. So is language, where a student will actually be considered ‘less’ for using slang, or ‘street language’ which is really an important part of speech in real life.
  5. Students are carefully molded into prescribed human beings and measured according to their ability to conform. This is actual damage.
  6. Think of all the life experience that he actually can learn things of interest to him that he can fit in in the coming 16 years (basic schooling). Travel, experimentation, art, science, people skills, computers, television, whatever. Whatever works. Once we aren’t obliged to measure our worth from standardized and useless examinations, there remains no real need to limit ourselves to prescribed learning and tentatively dabbling in our real interests. I see no reason why a kid can’t play video games all day and then grow up to make a living out of it. Or to play with colors and become an artist. Or to take apart things, improvise and then become an engineer or scientist. Or to become all of the above because he wants to, or to choose something else altogether.
  7. I suspect that schools often serve the purpose of keeping the kids occupied for parents who would much rather not have the hassle of dealing with their growth. This is not needed for me. I enjoy growing with him

I am not planning on teaching my child anything at all. Let alone school. I will share what I find important if he finds it interesting. If he doesn’t, there is really no need for him to learn to do maths (for example) till he needs it and figures it out. Or to know about all the countries in the world or to read history only to forget it. The big thing I am going to do to support his growth is to stop interfering with my own ideas of what is best for him.

For all those of you concerned that I’m going to ‘ruin’ my child, I appreciate your concern, and share my trust that he is a person and if learning turns out to be essential, he is capable of making a choice to engage in it as much as he likes.

If you have read this far, and see some value in what I say, I’d like to share that I have also discovered that unschooling is practiced by many people over the world. That is how I realized that my “no intention of sending my child to school (since before I even married)” actually had a name, and my instinct was indeed leading me to something many involved and caring parents found value in. You may find out more on:

  • http://www.naturalchild.org
  • http://sandradodd.com/unschooling
  • http://joyfullyrejoycing.com/

This is just the tip of the iceberg. There is a whole new world waiting to be discovered.

This is unorthodox. I know. But then I have never really been famous for following the rules.

PS: If you wish your child to excel in maths, this article is a must read.

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