Sunday, September 25, 2011
Unschooler's Comments on Going to School in Japan
Caleb, an American living in Japan, comments on his new experience attending high school. Here is what he observes:
"Most of my entire life I've been taught through my mother's and father’s experience and unschooling methods--that I am so thankful for. In fact I like it beyond belief, so much so that small words alone cannot express my gratitude towards my parents for not putting me in the underworld of public schooling. Up to age sixteen, home schooling and unschool learning has been my life. If I found something interesting, my parents would enable me to explore it further--like judo, book writing, drawing, cooking, computer programming, dirt bike riding and other varied experiences. At the beginning of my homeschooling, my mother tried different learning techniques, such as textbooks and doing homework on a schedule. When I was young, math always seemed to pose a problem for me and I remember quite vividly complaining that I would not be able to understand it. That was sixteen years ago. When I hit seventeen, just like my mother had predicted, something clicked and suddenly math made sense. So now I would propose that everyone learn at their own pace. Public schooling seems to make you lose two of the most important aspects of learning: the urge to learn and the passion for reading.
"I can attest to this because in Nihon (Japan) I just went through an American public school for the first time in my entire life. When I first started I had to adapt to being a high school student while most of the other kids had been public school students for their entire life. Even though everything was new, the responsibility and education I had through unschooling and real life lessons gave me an ability to jump right in. Needless to say, I was a 3.5 G.P.A. student, burning though some classes while taking others more slowing, such as my Nihongo (Japanese) class. I am speechless when it comes to public school; in fact it can be a complete waste of time unless you are going there for specific items of learning. Mostly it consisted of me doing nothing for about seven hours of the day, sitting in a chair that was way too small and contemplating imaginary ways to escape the building, which of course I did not really try because I do wish to make my parents happy. Whew! Okay, outburst over. Now for my reason to attend a public school, quite simply I wanted to know if I would do well, being homeschooled my entire life and jumping feet first into public schooling with no idea how things would turn out; but my experience proved to me that I could do well even in unfamiliar territory."