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The Home School - Learning Must Profit to Be Real

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2008-08-02 06:58:23     
Article by Daniel Yordy

I am a teacher. I am supposed to teach English and how to write. I do succeed somewhat in my goal; at least I see improvement in my students' work. But I do not kid myself, because I teach inside the assembly-line factory model of education developed by the Prussians a hundred and fifty years ago and still used for what is called "school" today.

Writing, or any of the other subjects we teach, is not really what we teach. As John Taylor Gatto so aptly explains, the primary quality we teach is how to sustain sheer, inane, pointless boredom over years of life.

We teach something else. We place before the child, in today's world, the unending lesson that his work is worthless. That what she labors at is of no value to anyone. Once it has been marked red, into the wastebasket it goes. And of course, most of the red marks are a waste of time on the teacher's part. Most students never looked at them. Once the grade is seen, the paper, maybe representing hours of labor, is so worthless, that it is crumpled up and disposed of immediately.

And the child learns this truth, over and over, through, now, fourteen and fifteen years of unending work until graduation. "My labor has no value."

Another word for value is "profit." It is a simple fact of life that work that is of value profits. When children produce work that people value, a sentiment expressed by purchasing that work, then they know that they themselves have value. They can do something that people want and need.

As humans, we are hardwired to work, to produce value, with our hands, with our minds, with all of our ability. But worthless and pointless work strips the heart out of a person. Self-respect comes from serving others. Writing a paper on what you did over your vacation, a paper, thrown into the trashcan upon completion, serves no one. And the child's self-respect, bit by bit, follows his or her work into the same place.

Another word for serving others is "profit." What if we taught our children to serve others, to make things that people value enough to purchase? What if they saw people lining up to buy what they have created in their learning? What if we designed academic learning around the real and the practical? What if math was learned by designing something needed by the community? What if student writing was bound into a lovely little booklet, with student artwork included, that was raised to the level that strangers, walking in off the street, would say, "I want that. How much does it cost?"

What if our highschoolers were honored with an education that paid for itself, because what they did inside their learning was of significant value to others?

Student work thrown into the trashcan is not real. Student labor that is of value to others; that serves and benefits others is real. And I know from experience that young people, whose labor is needed and wanted by the adults in their lives, learn at least double the academic stuff in the same amount of time as most of the kids shunted off to today's factory schools.

Because, truth be told, those children are not needed or wanted anywhere else.

And they know that.

A different model of education is at the core of what http://www.yguide.org is about. If you want to learn more about education that is centered on value not boredom, visit us at http://www.yguide.org and click on The Home School to the left. Please sign up for The Home School Newsletter or take the surveys, I would love to hear of your experiences of teaching and learning that profits.

Specialized in: Home School - Profit - Real
URL: http://www.yguide.org
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