Thursday, August 11, 2011

Real Lives: Eleven Teenagers Who Don't Go to School Tell Their Own Stories

Editor Grace Llewellyn's introduction to Real Lives starts --

I was a guest this morning on the Canadian Broadcast (sic) Corporation's Early Edition, talking up my brash ideas about education. ("Are you really suggesting to bored kids that they simply quit school?" "Well, yes.") One of the questions the host asked me was, "But if lots of teenagers quit school, how do you know that wouldn't lead to a rash of kids who did nothing but play Nintendo?"

I knew, I explained, not only because of the certainty in my gut that people are bigger than that, but also because I know the stories of hundreds of kids who do not go to school -- not "dropouts" in the self-fulfilling-prophecy sense, and not unusually gifted geniuses either -- but rather ordinary unschoolers, homeschoolers, "rise-outs," and other variously named autodidacts. These people find thousands of better ways to occupy their time than playing continual Nintendo. Because of the things unschooled teenagers have told me in letters and in person, and because of my other reading -- especially all the back issues of Growing Without Schooling, a magazine overflowing with the details of homeschoolers' lives -- no, I don't worry at all about spawning a video game generation...For the same reasons, I also do not worry that unschooled kids will shrivel into social outcasts, be turned away from college (when they want college), not find work, be unable to learn math or science (when they choose to learn these subjects), or fail to develop as healthy individuals prepared to contribute toward the health of their communities. (end of excerpt)

Buckminster Fuller pointed out that the geometry we are taught in school is not nature's geometry: Early Greek/Egyptian/... geometers saw the trees as perpendicular to earth, assuming earth to be flat. And buildings as perpendicular. For most local measurements, that assumption allows fairly accurate calculations. But earth is not flat. If you are interested in nature's geometry, I recommend Fuller's Synergetics 2. When you read it, you may think, "Oh, I need the original, Synergetics, also." Maybe, maybe not. Reading it online might have an appeal.

(I enjoyed geometry in high school. Thank you, Miss Cox.)

Grace Llewellyn is also author of The Teenage Liberation Handbook: How to Quit School and Get a Real Life and Education

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