Try not to think about “Education”

No, unschooling is not anti-education.

But “Education”?

Education with a capital “E” is used synonymously with schooling.

Not just schooling, but forced compulsory schooling.

Schooling without choice.

As unschoolers it can be difficult to divorce ourselves from the idea of “Education”, since most of us were brought up in the capital “E” system.   Not to mention the constant chatter about getting a “good Education”.   Not to mention the looks we get, the raised eyebrows and the frowns when we admit that we don’t buy into the traditional idea of “Education”.

But seriously, try not to think about it.

Try to forget “Education” as a neat linear progression of separate subjects.

That might be “Education” but it’s not education.

What unschoolers are all about is the lower case education; the kind that comes through curiosity and living and tangents.

Unschoolers are about knowledge and learning without respect to age or grade level.

Oh, it is messy and unorganized and anything but linear.

It manifests in ways that seem disconnected and random, but that create a vast web of interconnected knowledge.   Unquantifiable in many cases.   Unique for each and every person.

Sometimes it leads to college and immersion in academics; the difference being that it comes solely out of a true desire to be there, and not because it is an expected part of being “Educated”.

Sometimes college is not part of a person’s education because there is no need.

True education has many paths.

So, “Education”?   It’s just a label, like so many other things associated with forced schooling.

Try not to think about it.



5 comments on “Try not to think about “Education”

  1. Violet says:

    I totally needed to read this, today. Thanks for having the insight to post this.


    • Modou says:

      Interesting discussion:) This is my 20th year of hvniag at least 1 child who according to the laws of the province where I live has to be a full time student. In Nova Scotia kids from the age of 5 to 16 have to attend school fulltime or be receiving an equivalent education at home. Back when we decided not to send our kids to school we called it homeschooling. We are what has been described as unschoolers. I used to care also about the terminology, I don’t really so much anymore. I want the government to approve my request to keep my kids at home for one more year and then we will be free. I agree with Wendy about disliking the word school being the focus of the terminology and I don’t like the idea that certain subjects are school ones and others aren’t, it is all the same to me, no division between parenting and schooling . If people are asking questions I usually say that we don’t do a lot of sit down structured type of schooling.I also have a thick skin by the time I am dealing with these issues for the fifth time around. I will admit too that hvniag a child with severe learning challenges and general developmental disabilities has given me a different perspective on learning in general.

  2. Dana Britt says:

    I try to use the word ‘learning’ in place of education for the exact reasons you mention–‘education’ is so often lumped in as being about ‘schooling’. Schooling is a word we dropped from our vocab years ago…education I haven’t dropped but I do prefer learning or I clarify my usage. Great post! :)

  3. Chris says:

    Hi Al, Free to Learn is a great book. I’m reading it now too. I’m looking into Sudbury Schools and started a meet up to discuss:

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