Learning about the way schools are structured, why they are damaging to children and families, and also how to provide a great education for your children without all of that yuck will help so many parents who are desperately looking to make a change to save their children. I've seen so many of these anxiety-ridden parents who are on the verge of deciding to pull their children from their local public schools, and some who have already bravely done so, who are begging for help and guidance. Well, here it is.
In the meantime, below is the forward I wrote for it.
The choices a parent makes in the rearing and educating of their own children is so personal and meaningful, I consider them sacred. As opinionated as I am about how my wife and I have chosen to educate our children, I try to be careful not to express those opinions too boldly (if at all) in situations where other parents are explaining the decisions they’ve already made for their children.
Since you’re reading this book, I can assume you’re open to considering a radically different perspective on education.
Kids Don't Need School is a thorough yet easy-to-read case against compulsory state education and the philosophy and methodology that underpin it—a philosophy and methodology that most parents, even those who homeschool, cannot easily shake.
Why is that?
I liken the emergent “let’s recreate the public school classroom but at home” phenomenon to breaking free from a psychological cult or movement. Much of our social, cultural, political, and economic activities and even our relationships revolve around the public school system. When you're in it, it all seems normal—even pleasant, to some. But you'll quickly see how much sway, hold and strength the hivemind social programming is when you try to question, deviate, or completely remove yourself from it, which Jonathan and Adriana Prescott so eloquently advise parents to do.
The sure sign of this education dogmatism is when your choices and beliefs that deviate from the norm are not seen as mere differences of opinion, but are misinterpreted as personal attacks and a threat to the system itself. They’re offended, even threatened, simply by you stepping out of their line. They may respond to you defensively—feeling the urge to explain or justify their own choices—criticize you, or accuse you of child neglect and downright abuse. This is in part because they have likely had uncomfortable conversations when their children wondered aloud why they couldn’t learn at home. As a result, these parents may have rationalized their decisions by painting homeschooled kids as odd, socially handicapped, economically limited, or even as “special ed.”
As a home educator, your very existence is a light that pierces the darkness of the government school institution. Whoever has eyes to see, let him see!
The reality is that we as a civilization are placing our most precious treasures—our children—into prison-like buildings to stand in lines, sit in rows, be monitored, lectured to, and judged. A reality where they will be force-fed propaganda and worldviews that are opposite of your own, will likely be exposed to pornography, and become victims of sexual assault and other manner of violence and abuse. And we willfully send them into that environment six to eight hours a day, virtually everyday, for the entirety of their childhood and beyond. This is communal insanity, and it hurts to admit it.
Youth is a short span of life where we have the most energy, the highest physical capability, a super-boosted mental growth, very little responsibility, and the benefit of a full support team. Yet this is where 90 percent of us were locked away, in a soul-draining jail for kids. What might have we created, accomplished, or become if we were free to develop our own authentic genius? It's only after you break away, step back, and observe with natural eyes that you realize how unnecessary, irrational, and even backward it really is. It was for me.
My school experience went something like this: I sat at my desk almost completely ignoring the teachers for thirteen years. I imagined I was a rock star, a ninja, a superhero. I invented things, created characters, and created stories in my mind. At age six, I started to draw out these thoughts on every surface in front of me, and I never stopped—no matter how many times they punished me or lectured me.
I calculate that I spent at least seven hours a day drawing, resulting in thirteen years of Ds and Fs and every school authority figure telling me that in the "real world," would surely suffer.
In the fourth grade, while everyone else in my class went to P.E., I was sent to the Special Education classroom for "reading help" (It was actually a humiliating psychological war tactic intended to coerce me into paying attention to the teachers and their lessons.).
Fast forward to today: I've been a professional media director, writer, and artist for fifteen years now and in many ways live a charmed life.
Only after many of those years was I finally able to remove from my heart and mind the shrapnel left from the lies told to me, my parents, and the general public about what children must know and become in order to be productive members of society.
I do not regret one single missed homework assignment or failed test. I don't regret faking my way through the reading assignments or copying with my friends' homework to avoid an F. Simply put, I don't regret a single moment I spent being the child I was meant to be. In fact, I'm amazed that I had the resilience to constantly withstand the intense pressure put on me by literally everyone in my life to conform to their educational achievement expectations. I feel sorrow that most children are not able to.
Curriculum. Requirements. Keeping up. Credit. Grades. Reporting. These are concepts of the public school mindset. Implementing this in your home education is the worst of both worlds. You get the limitations and trashy education that the public schools offer while also denying yourself the luxury of a tax-funded babysitter.
There is another way, and that way is simply and clearly outlined here in this book. But I reiterate . . . the rearing of your children is your responsibility, and I cannot know better than you about what is right for your family. Whether you allow your child to attend public school or a private school, or you choose to educate them from home, I encourage you to change your way of thinking and not be swayed by the coercive tactics the system uses. Believe that kids don't need traditional, conveyor-belt style schooling to be educated or socialized. And you don't need to fear for their future without it. Believe that with your support, encouragement, and guidance (and by using the vast resources available on the internet alongside the experiences available in the real world), you can build a trusting relationship with your child based on respect for each other. And that above all else is what will best enable your children to reach their own greatest potential.
This is why I heartily recommend Kids Don’t Need School. I agree with the message, I enjoyed it, and I know you will, too. It’s the essential read for homeschooling families and homeschoolers-to-be.