Friday, April 17, 2009

This is a quote I came across in one of my yoga books, Meditations From the Mat:

The human individual is equipped to learn and go on learning prodigiously from birth to death, and this is precisely what sets him or her apart from all other known forms of life. Man has at various times been defined as a building animal, a working animal, and a fighting animal. but all of these definitions are incomplete and finally false. Man is a learning animal, and the essence of the species is encoded in that simple term. George Leonard

This is exactly what we, as unschoolers, deeply believe- that we were born with an inherent desire to learn about the world around us. We don't need force and coercion to learn the things we need to know to move us through this journey of life. The only thing that compulsory learning does for an individual is zap that natural curiosity right out of him. There are a few individuals who can survive it unscathed but not too many.

There has been a lot of talk lately about the high level of high school dropouts and how do we remedy that? More testing! Ludicrous! They are dropping out because they are bored to death and they are tired of people telling them how to live their lives, as if all the adults in their lives know better than they do what they need for their own, very personal journey.

The kids that drop out are actually the smarter kids! They know when they are being fed bullsh** and decide to run! Yay for them! The government has convinced everyone that if you don't have a high school diploma that you will never make anything of yourselves, yet look at the most successful (based on salary and money making businesses) people in this country and you will see that a LARGE amount of them are high school or college dropouts.

Some other crap that the government is trying to feed our kids is that they NEED college to have successful lives. We tell OUR children that if college will get them to where they want to go, great! Go to college. If there is a different or easier way to get them to where they want to go then do that. College does NOT guarantee a bigger salary and it does not guarantee success. What it does guarantee is a big fat student loan, unless you are lucky enough to have someone else pay for it, and even then they've spent how much? It's ridiculous. And what is success anyway? We measure success on how fulfilled and happy our children are with what they are doing. Unfortunately, most people measure success on how much money a person is making even though so many of those people are pathetically miserable in what they are doing.

My husband has almost always made a very large salary and he only did one semester of college. And beyond the salary, his happiest years were when he was doing something that wasn't making that big of a salary but was doing something he loved to do.

Anyway, just a little venting on my part. I wish the country would wake up and see what we are doing to our children. It makes me sad that from 5 years old most kids are spending their days doing things that they are barely tolerating, what an awful way to live your life. It brings me so much joy and satisfaction to see my own kids living the life I could only dream of at their age, to see them happy and fullfilled, full of zest for living, and so excited about learning new things! They are living the life that THEY are choosing to live, not what someone else is choosing for them. We are not perfect parents, nor do we live perfect lives but my measuring stick is "how happy and healthy are my kids? And how healthy is my relationship with them?" and the answer is almost always the same- they are healthy and happy, and we have a very good relationship with our kids (which always comes first by the way, regardless of what anything else looks like) what more could you ask?


On another note today:

Have you all seen Yes Man yet? Great movie! I just love this whole idea of saying "yes" to everything! Of course there is a happy medium, which the character in the movie discovers. The whole lesson in the movie though is that most of us say "no" to life far to often and when we say "yes" to opportunities we really start living life.

I have found myself saying "no" to opportunities WAY too much so I've set an intention today to start saying "yes" to as much as I can! When I am inclined to say "no" I'm going to start saying "yes" just for the hell of it and see where it leads. I will post on those things as they present themselves.

One tiny example lately is our weekly homeschool swim session. Usually, I tread water for the entire hour so I can stay warm and still say I went swimming with the kids I guess. They usually don't really want me to do much because all of their friends are in the pool with them so I'm not particularly important at that point but they do like me to be there. Well, the other day Calista asked me to jump and dive with her off the side. Not really my thing, I think in some ways I've temporarily forgotten how to be a kid, I go through waves of that. But on Wednesday I was like "what the heck, sure I will jump and dive off the side with you" It was so much fun! Except for all the water in my ears, but no biggy. It felt good to just play. So my intention is to do more of those things!

So come join me and start saying "YES"!


Christina said...

We are an unschooling family and agree with your sentiments.

I haven't wanted to see the movie because I loved the book so much -- just can't see Jim Carey as the writer. But I highly recommend the book!

Heather's Moving Castle said...

I did like that movie too. And I am so frustrated with all the wasted time and boredom kids have to face at school. I will be saying yes every chance I get!!! But not when I don't really want to say yes. ;o)

Andrea said...

Great quote starting this post. Isn't it great to come across a quote that is directly related to unschooling, even when it isn't?

I have been trying to say yes more and more, and sometimes it is hard. But you are right, when we say yes, we have more fun.

Thanks for a great blog, I really enjoy reading it!

H4S said...

Your opening was terrific and so true!

Deanne said...

Great quote, great post!

Ren said...

I want to see that movie....yet here I am figuring out how to cut some stuff OUT of my life and not be afraid to say "no" more.;)

I think it's all about leaving lots of room for all the "yes's" we really care about.

Love the post.

Jessica said...

Hi Heidi, I'm the person that is your sometimes look-a-like neighbor of Ren's! I have seen Yes Man and loved it. I had the same thought of what would happen if I said YES to all the opportunities. I can so identify with you on the being with the kids and watching them be with friends without really getting in there. They are happy and I like watching because it seems like a well deserved break after those incredibly hands on years of infancy and toddlerhood! It is nice to have a choice now. Have fun saying yes!

laura said...

interesting...we had to say no recently to an invite for a trip and i was so distressed about it. but i had this realization and it goes like this: sometimes a yes now can mean a no later to something else (we're talking money here). we had been saying yes a lot lately to trips and spending money, so much so that it made it impossible to say yes to this most recent trip. so that gave me a lot to think about...finding that balance.

we also LOOVED the movie 'yes man!' i was so glad that it turned out to be so good. it could've gone the other way where the message in the end is to not say yes (you know how movies sometimes trick you!!). instead it was about that balance. but having also gained a lot by all the yeses, even when it got quite impractical.

glad i finally made it back to your blog again!! thanks to jessica's post about it!