“As soon as children enter school, their learning curve begins to level off, and the children are blamed for this.” – Daniel Quinn, Providence

When I was a child I hated school. I hated getting up in the morning knowing that I had to go to that place and do so until I was 18 years old. I did not fit in with the other children, I was in trouble for “daydreaming”, it was boring and there were bullies there (not that I got picked on but I hated to see others be the victims). Thirty-four years after graduation and I still have not developed any illusions of grandeur about the good old days as many people do as they age.

I have just finished reading a book by Daniel Quinn called Providence. I was delighted to find that someone else sees what I do in the school systems. The best part is that he worked in scholastic publishing and is looking at it from a professional point of view.

He mentions how quickly children learn from birth until they start school. As I agree with him, the children are blamed for this when it is not their fault in the least. He mentions how children will pick up anything they are interested in without effort; however, should it be made a school subject, the child has difficulty learning it. He states that children need a reason of their own to learn it. My youngest son is a perfect example of this. There was very little in school which he enjoyed learning. Although a talented musician and vocalist, he was not interested in joining band and did not really seem to enjoy choir that much. Outside of school, all he does is sing and play instruments.

Daniel Quinn believes one of the problems is that the school systems want to be organized and in order to be organized they believe they need to give children a reason to learn all at the same time. They believe that they can motivate the children to want to learn a particular subject all at the same time. This does not work because the motivation is coming from the teachers and not from within the children.

The reason children learn more quickly before needing to go to school is that they are with people they care about and admire. They gravitate automatically to adults who are doing things which interest them. During this time, the adults in their lives speak to them and interact with them, as opposed to an adult speaking at a group of children. They  pick up new skills from the adults they are interacting with.

He uses “primitive” cultures to prove his point. In these cultures the children stay with the parents and are not sent off to school. There are no classes in which to teach the skills the children need to survive and succeed, yet they learn what they need to. They are simply given access to everything and can try out things for themselves, it is not forced upon them.

Remembering my school experience and then witnessing the experiences of my sons, John and Christian, I believe it is way past time for an evaluation of how our children are educated. The fact that children actually take their lives so they do not have to go to school and face bullies, or horrible teachers and god knows what else, should be way more than enough evidence.

John was an academic. He loved to learn; however, he was unfairly treated by the school system from day one. Because John was reserved and on the quiet side, the school insisted that he go to a special program which the school offered. My mother’s friend worked for the school and she advised me not to allow this. She said that if he goes through this program, the label will follow him until he graduates high school. Thankfully, I took her advise but I still think that he was not treated well. There is nothing wrong with being reserved and on the quiet side. This is a natural personality characteristic for some and does not mean they have emotional problems. John was very talkative, silly and outgoing at home. This is an example of trying to fit the children all in the same box.

Of course, when John attended college things became worse. I feel that things must change with our higher education as well. Although I understand how things work on a Spiritual level, the human part of me cannot let go of feeling that the U.S. Department of Education is responsible for John’s death. Believe me, you do not want their debt collectors after you. They are cruel and inhumane. If this country insists that young people must go to college, then this country better get off its ass and pay for the young people’s educations.

My youngest son, like both his parents, is an artist. From my experience, my ex-husband’s experience and my youngest son’s experience, artists do not fit well in the “traditional” education system. We do not think, learn or act as they want us to. We cannot fit into that box. I know because I tried my hardest to no avail. My son refused to try and I am proud of him for not trying. My son commented that if they had taught anything worth while he would have tried at school. The subjects they teach these days are worthless for every day life.

We need to stop blaming the young people. They are not entitled nor spoiled. They are frustrated and fed up. They want to be their true selves and pursue their true desires. They just are not going to take what us old people are trying to dish out. – Michelle

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