“You are yet to catch up with the real world if you’ve never studied any concepts outside the school syllabus or read any books beside the texts books school forced you to read. Most people are just programmed not educated”
― Nicky Verd
For a moment, take a deep breath. I want you to close your eyes and reminisce the school you went to. I want you to think about the classrooms you studied in. The place where you made friends for life. The place which defines who you really are today.
If you see any classroom, there is some structure in it; there will be a blackboard. Maybe a table and a chair for the teacher. There will be desks for the students. If lucky, then also some posters on the wall. Every classroom looks very much the same. There will be a structure in what to study; we call it syllabus. So, It is quite evident that school is very much structured place.
The structure is not something to be panic about, but when it comes to school, you must. Schools believe in the “one-size-fits-all” concept. They want to think that making a pair of shoes in a factory is same as educating kids.
When I look back to my school days, I was always a good student, but I never loved studying. I used to choose my favourite subject based on how easily I can understand it. Everyone told me from the very beginning that you learn out of fear or out of respect and as an innocent kid, I believed that.
The place I come from, there is a thing after you do your tenth grade. You can choose between going to school regularly, or you can be at your home. You only need to go to school on the day of the test. It was something like semi-homeschooling. I never loved going to school, so I thought it is an excellent chance to escapism, and I chose to be at home. I wanted this to be more foolproof, so I went to another city to have no disturbance.
That was the turning point in my life. I was having an entire two years in my hand. Till that time, I was a little interested in computers. So, I started learning about that as much as I could. I also started diving deep into the literature. I read books ranging from fiction to non-fiction, from biographies to travel diaries. I keep on stuffing my brain with lots and lots of information. At that time, on some of the days, I didn’t even know what the day it is. There was no pressure of exams. I was now, not learning out of fear or respect, but I was learning out of love.
Sometimes, I see some people around me, who possess very sound knowledge of a particular subject, but they can’t see the beauty of it. They lack empathy which is very anti-humanistic. I feel very pity for them.
There is an old proverb - “Everything comes with a price”. School system also has a price to be paid. If you are thinking about money, then it’s the last thing you spend, apart from money, you loose creativity, rawness and above all “uniqueness”.
Prima facie of schools are very bad as far as my experience is concerned. But there is a country who is making an exception, and that is - Finland. The first most significant step they took was making the exam optional. In a talk, one of the teachers of Finland told that - “We prepare kids for life”. That’s the vision every school should live up to because learning is not a separate activity from the rest of life.
But the real question is - leaving school is the solution? Will it lead us to sheer brilliance? The answer is - No. Because leaving school will make us much more inhuman. What we need is a substitute for this traditional schooling system, and the answer is homeschooling or unschooling.
I have been in both the boats, and I know how it feels trapped with the schooling system and liberating with homeschooling. I may be biased about homeschooling, but my views on learning took a drastic change when I homeschooled myself, and I became a student for life.
I am not someone who has lots of experience with homeschooling, but one of the people I know tried doing homeschooling for her daughter. He wrote a remarkable blog post trilogy about how he carried that forward. You can read it here - Homeschooling in India - Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.
“All our children’s hopes and dreams turn to ashes in exam papers - their delicate baby wings crack under the weight of books - the classroom ends up as prison and to dream becomes a criminal offence. This is not education, this is bestiality.”
― Abhijit Naskar
Noone grows up hating the process of learning. The hatred grows further as we move forward in life. If the hatred is not coming from within, then there must be someone responsible. Education has become a mere tool of upholding the livelihood. It will always be much more than that. We need, even if not very subtle, very slight turn towards the alternatives of schooling. At least, the future should not agonize under the pressure of learning instead cherish every aspect of it.