No Trust in the Industrial School System? Trust Your Kids Instead
If the last few years have shown us anything, it is that the world is changing, and education should change along with it.
Gone are the days where large volumes of rote learning, prescriptive curriculums, and one-size-fits-all classroom settings are the only options.
Many parents have lost faith in the education system.
It has become apparent that it is not a system that nurtures curiosity, free-thinking, independence, or creativity.
But the exciting thing is that the educational landscape is shifting, and families are faced with diverse alternatives to school.
The disillusion with traditional learning is not new, and neither are the conversations about alternatives.
What is new and exciting is the creative collaboration that has been born out of our current times and the number of people becoming more vocal about trusting our kids as they learn to love learning.
Education Should be Personalized
Nothing about a blanket approach to education is a good idea.
Kids are their own, unique people with their learning styles and interests. Putting a diverse group of kids in one place and expecting them to learn the same thing, at the same time, in the same way, is unrealistic and harmful.
Mickelle Weary, a Galileo parent, says that alternative education has allowed her to work with each child’s learning style, strengths, and weaknesses.
She has watched her kids become independent learners who are passionate about learning.
Mickelle and her family were looking for an alternative to the traditional education system, which efficiently prepared the kids for an evolving world.
Homeschooling worked for a while as they traveled the world, but Mickelle found that her son Tag was unmotivated and wasn’t enjoying anything they were doing.
He was later diagnosed with ADHD, and Mickelle was then able to customize his learning plan to suit his needs.
Her daughter Ela would have been lost in a classroom setting as she takes in information slowly and needs to work at her own pace.
Alternative learning options mean that each child can take control of their learning and tailor it to suit their individual needs.
Leave a One-Size-Fits-All Approach Behind
Although Mickelle and her kids are part of the Galileo family, she says they use it as a foundation for learning.
It has offered exposure to different topics, and the facilitators help guide students. Still, it is a fluid learning situation that the kids can supplement with real-world experience and in-person collaboration.
Learning is an ongoing process, and Mickelle and her kids experiment with different subjects to see what fits.
Many of the clubs are student-led, allowing kids to develop leadership skills and independent thinking while also learning how to collaborate respectfully.
Mickelle says that an alternative education has given their family freedom. It has helped teach her kids how they learn and what it takes for them to learn.
This has allowed them to develop a love of learning because they are not constantly in a learning environment that doesn’t work for them.
Alternative education has provided them with an online and in-person community of supportive friends.
Most importantly, Mickelle says that she can take the time to look at her kids and the “big picture.” The more her children take responsibility for their learning, the more time she has to explore new opportunities for them.
A Move Towards Decentralized Education
The world of education is opening up, and important conversations are being had around learning freedom.
Daniel Prince chatted with Michael Saylor and Jeff Davidson from the Saylor Academy about the global shift towards decentralization.
They had some fascinating ideas about the future of education and emphasized how essential skills are for the future.
Online education has become the norm since the pandemic, and it has opened doors to a wide array of educational opportunities.
“If you want to educate 8 billion people or give them erudition, you can’t do it with libraries, and you can’t do it with brick and mortar universities. You need to do it with digital education.” - Michael Saylor.
Traditional education teaches the same information repeatedly, and Saylor says that is what makes Ph.D.’s important. They produce new information and require that further information is added to the body of knowledge on a subject.
But most people don’t get to that level.
If we want our kids to have a passion for a subject that they immerse themselves in and choose to study further, we need to give them the space they need to discover it.
It is why Saylor says the ethos of bitcoin in relation to the future of education is one of “open inclusion, economic empowerment, it’s open, permissionless, global.”
The World Has Changed, and Education Should Change With It
The Saylor Academy offers free online courses, and they are just one example of how education is being transformed.
Saylor says, “the 20th-century economy is about constraining people, telling them what they can do, and where they can do it, and the 21st- economy is about empowering people.”
This idea applies to education as well.
We want children who will grow into independent, free-thinking, empowered adults, and the only way that can happen is if we give them the space and freedom to explore the world.
Gone are the days when good grades and a university degree were necessary for success.
With the explosion of the online world, skills are a vital part of the workplace future.
“The primary object of any student was to get a degree. I think that is evolving, and I think that the primary object of a student in the 21st-century should be to get skills or capability.” - Jeff Davidson.
Jeremy Stuart, a filmmaker and unschooling parent, said, “we’re all so conditioned as a society to think that the only place you can get an education is in an institutionalized school setting, that somehow learning only happens there.”
But this is the furthest from the truth.
Most learning happens when our kids have the opportunity to experience the world around them and discover their interests and passions for themselves.
Traditional education is standardized, predictable, and prescriptive. Not ideal in a world where technology is developing at an alarming rate, and the workplace is constantly changing.
And that is what makes alternative education such an attractive option.
Stuart says, “it’s a constantly evolving process. It’s not a stagnant thing. And that’s one of the things I really love most about unschooling or self-directed learning is that it’s a very alive and engaged process.”
Alternative Education offers Exciting Learning Opportunities
Alternative education options help kids learn to love learning, but it also allows them to have autonomy over their lives.
“So I think that sort of organic, ever-evolving relationship with learning is a natural state of being for us as humans. And that’s what’s so fantastic to think about what self-directed education is giving. Allowing children to enter that space as early as possible so that they understand that they are in control of their lives.” - Jeremy Stuart.
School is an outdated idea that stemmed from the time of the industrial revolution. If a whole educational model could be created for the single purpose of producing good factory workers, then why can’t we change it to suit the needs of our current world?
We have the opportunity to design an educational environment that allows our kids to thrive, become intrinsically motivated, and develop an entrepreneurial spirit.
Like Jeremy says, “you find what works for your family, and you try it, and as soon as it stops working, throw it out, try something else, evolve it, change it. You have the power to do that.”
Education should evolve to suit your kids and the world they live in. It should get them excited and hold their interest. It should force them to ask questions and be curious.
“The only way to make sense of the world is to engage with it, go out and learn along the way and keep changing and evolving.” - Jeremy Stuart.
Trust Yourself and Your Kids
Taking the road less traveled is not always easy, but it is definitely more exciting.
It is challenging to choose to leave school behind and trust your kids to direct their learning journey. Not only do you have to trust that your kids will learn what they need to, but you have to trust yourself as you join them on their journey.
There is no reason to stay in a system that no longer serves the needs of your kids when there is a whole world of innovative and empowering options available.
If you have been looking for something outside of the traditional education system, something that gets your kids excited about learning, join the learning network to be a part of an amazing community.