7. Free Thinking Allowed and Encouraged.
School focuses on training children to obey like dogs. Sit, stay, line up, eat now, go to the bathroom now, play now, be quiet, ask permission, don’t wiggle, don’t giggle, don’t talk, don’t run, line up, etc. School teaches children to conform.
At home we have rules, too! Children need them. But when my kids have to go to the bathroom, they go! When they’re hungry, they eat; when they want to laugh or wiggle, they do. Sometimes we have school in the tub with watercolors to paint letters on the tiles just because we can. We are free to go down rabbit trails any time we like if the mood strikes. During kindergarten we read a book about a Weaver bird that builds an incredible nest by weaving a basket out of grass. When my daughter heard that, she had to know more. We found a video on YouTube and watched it, which led to another video on a Tailorbird that actually sews its nest together by poking holes in two huge leaves and sewing them together with bits of grass or straw or string it finds. That day we were totally absorbed in these amazing birds and we spent hours reading everything we could on them. We even tried to make our own nests!
No teacher in a school has the kind of freedom to encourage one student to follow her interests like that. There isn’t time with 25 kids. Even though the lesson on birds was last year, my daughter still remembers every detail because the experience was intense and directed to her interests. She was allowed to become absorbed by a topic that grabbed her imagination. Those moments of watching your child learn with so much enthusiasm are priceless. Learning is about a desire to investigate, not sitting still in a desk for six hours.