Friday, 2 March 2012

Never Doing School

My childhood is probably the oddest thing you'll ever hear of. Or perhaps not. I'm sure we've all had those days where our mom wakes up and just says, "I don't want to do school today." So you don't.

Now imagine waking up like that every morning.

Let me give you a hint as to how this feels: it's so incredibly awesome, there are hardly words.

I can count on my fingers how many times in my memory that I've actually been made to sit down and do schoolwork. Out of those times, the majority of them were math lessons. Most of the time, we just go through life, learning as we go. Going to a park is an excuse for a science lesson or a social sciences lesson. The library provides our English class. We count things we pass on long drives, we tot up how much we owe in shops as we go through and get what we need.

That is my life, and I wouldn't trade it for the world.

It's given me the opportunity to do so many things that other kids don't get to do--important things like have the playground to myself, or having my pick of swings, or being able to linger at museum exhibits without crowds of people shoving me along. It's allowed me to participate in ministry opportunities I would have otherwise missed. For instance, twice a week, I travel to two different schools and help teach Good News Clubs. I stand in front of kids and tell them about Jesus and play games and get free hugs and help future pastors and missionaries on their ways.

Most of these things would never have happened if I'd been locked up in a school room all the time. I love being homeschooled or unschooled, or whatever it is you'd like to call it. And I wouldn't trade all that's happened for the world


  1. Wow, this is awesome, Kyla! It makes so much sense, and yet I'll bet there's more than one government official who would say that your parents ought to be imprisoned for the way they raised you. To think that there was a time when everyone was raised like this. *Sigh*

    The library and park and museum parts of this are so important. Just because you're not sitting at a desk doesn't mean you're not learning! I think your kind of education is so much deeper, and probably a lot more useful, than the education that most American teenagers are getting.

    Bravo to you and your mom :)

  2. I'm a home-schooler too (but that part's pretty obvious) and reading your story makes me feel like I'm seriously missing something. I was basically in traditional schools through the 8th grade, with two years out for homeschooling. I'm currently a senior in high school. When we started homeschooling, we used a pretty formal type of curriculum, except it was at home. Now, I'm completing high school through an online correspondence program. And even though I only have four months until graduation, I feel like I'm constantly under a heavy weight.

    Maybe it's because I insist on doing things the "right way." Since being homeschooled, I've insisted on doing school the same way that I was used to: structured, focused, really spending the time reading every page. The problem is my work load for high school has been so overwhelming. Even though we've followed the 9-month calendar for the school year, it's taken me 11 months to finish my last three years. Now, I feel like I'm kept under a wet blanket with the assignments I have to do. I feel like I'd rather do it on my own. And, in order to graduate from my program, all I'd really need to do is all the graded assignments. That means I don't necessarily have to read the textbook, or do the practice quizzes, or read the lecture material. All I need to do is the tests, the essays, etc.

    I've always felt that I would be missing something. What if I don't read the pages in the textbook? I'll research the information I need in order to write my essay or finish the worksheet, but what if I miss something? Truth is, I see how silly I am -- if I need to know something later on, I can look it up: there are so many resources available online for that. But I can't seem to tell myself that.

    After writing such a long-winded comment, I guess this post has made me want to do that push -- only using my structured program for doing what needs to be done. I'm hoping that will get me finished faster. But at the same time, I do still question: how do you know if you're learning enough depth in the material, and even the right material?

    That's all for now -- lovely blog!

    --Liz B

    1. Hi Liz! I can definitely see where you're coming from.

      I, too, like to do things the "right way"--being thorough, going the extra mile, etc. Most of the time I make my studies miserable by doing way more than is necessary, just to live up to my own high expectations. I'm like you; I don't want to miss anything! "What if I skim over a page and *gasp* miss a sentence that would change my life?!" So I do really well in school, rarely falling short in anything--except having time to do much of anything else.

      It's all a question of priorities, in my opinion. Do you love school? Do you want to go deep into all of your studies, reading the textbook, doing the quizzes, etc? If so, feel free and enjoy every minute of it. But since you feel like you're being kept under a wet blanket, I'd say that breezing through is your best bet. There's an excellent chance that you know far more than you think, and you'll be able to knock out the rest of your schooling without any problem.

      You say that you know how silly you are--that's half the battle :) Take it from a fellow perfectionist: stressing over school (a.k.a. learning things that you don't really enjoy and won't help you graduate) isn't worth it.

      Kyla's education is an extreme example that all of us could learn a little from. Sometimes it's OK to take the relaxed view. If you want to go to college then it's an excellent idea to study for an exam like SAT or ACT, then take it to see where you are. If you get awesome grades then you can feel good about the extent and quality of your education, if you don't do so well then you know which areas could stand improvement. It all depends on what you want your future to look like. What is all that education going to accomplish?

      And there's my long-winded reply to your long-winded comment :)


  3. Indeed, Abby. I love going to museums and stuff at random times. It's so much fun.

    Liz, I understand where you're coming from. So let me tell you the complete truth. If I were to go into a school right now and test I, a seventeen year old who calls herself a senior, would probably not be able to pass the math test to graduate. I mean, I can get by in the real world--I walk through the store and shop and I can calculate about how much we'll spend as I go, and if presented with a problem relevant to my life, I can solve it. I just fail at doing written tests because they annoy me and my brain doesn't like them.

    I suppose that's what I've focused on; actually getting through life, especially with what interests me. I know a lot about governmental theory and economics and literature and history and the misuse of conjunctions. Why? Because those are the things that interest me, and so I have studied them. If you want to go to college (which I don't) then naturally you're going to have to do a bit more studying. But I've chosen not to go that route, so I take a more relaxed view.

    But that's really the great thing about how I've been raised. If, at some point, I did desire to go to college, I and all my siblings (I like to think) have been taught in such a way that we could easily catch up. I saw an estimate once that an average fourteen year old could learn everything that's taught in the first five years of math classes in a single day. So there's that.
    God bless. :3

  4. Your childhood, Kyla, is, in fact, not the oddest thing I ever heard of, because I have had a very similar one. ;)

    Liz, I am also a perfectionist and an organized person (although if you saw my room right now you wouldn't believe me, but I digress), and I too have tried to impose rigid structure and order in my schooling. Some people perform better under such conditions than others, but when I set in place a firm schedule and answer every possible question in thorough detail, I find that I soon come to hate schooling. And it shouldn't be a chore; it should be a joy to learn about all of creation and the rise and fall of society and the languages we speak, and an experience that ultimately leads us closer to God as we gape in wonder at what He has made. So I have to remind myself the purpose of it all: I am here to learn and to be transformed by what I learn, not just to glean facts for the next test.

    That was sort of long, but the bottom line is, don't beat yourself over doing what isn't required if you aren't enjoying it. Have fun. :)


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