Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Preparing for the Real World
(Originally drafted 10/30/10)
Warning: Some content of this blog may be offensive to some. Please leave a comment.
I would love to have a lively exchange.

I just finished reading an article by Alex Chediak about College and learning from professors on typical American College Campuses who have something to offer simply because of common grace. It was an article worth reading. Dr. Chediak is also the author of Thriving at College: making great friends, keep your faith and get ready for the real world. It was that last phrase, get ready for the real world that flooded my mind with some memories and caused me to get my computer and sit down to write.

Once our children became school age one of the criticisms of our educational choices for them was this: "By keeping your children out of school, you are keeping your children from experiencing the real world. It is not right for you to do that to them." That's right, I was looking to harm my children. NOT. There are a select few parents who educate their children at home who isolate them in a very unhealthy manner. I am not one of them.

In the early years we were asked time and time again to defend our position, funny thing is that those who have their kids in public or private school were rarely asked to defend themselves. It was tough going sometimes and I wanted to turn it around on those whose kids were in schools and at the same time not put my friends and family on the defensive. Not to avoid the questioning and also knowing that being put on the spot I would not be speaking just for me but for a whole community of people who had made the same educational choice that we did.

Back to the real world, Is the classroom the real world? For those who believe that all children ought to be in a classroom with a "qualified and trained teacher" for their best waking hours and at least 36 of the 52 weeks of the year then the answer would be yes, that is the real world for children, it is where they belong. In some respects people who believe this have just 5 short years to prepare their children to be launched into this real world. Even though these parents delegate the responsibility of their children to other adults more often than not the teacher is not someone that they pick or even know. Children do not distinguish between responsibility and authority, so Johnny eventually gives more weight to the words and beliefs of his teacher than his parents. It may not happen right away but given a little time, it is often the result. Education is not neutral on values.
However, "the real world" is not segregated by age and not everybody works 9 to 5 and not all children learn best by sitting still in their seats with someone stuffing their little heads with information both true and false.


Hayley said...

YES! What kills me about college is that it's supposed to be preparing me for the "real world", and that makes me want to scream, because there is NOTHING REAL ABOUT COLLEGE. It's an isolated fish bowl where young adults get all the freedom without any of the responsibility, and it's frustrating.

Mrs. Mort said...

What you say: "Children do not distinguish between responsibility and authority, so Johnny eventually gives more weight to the words and beliefs of his teacher than his parents," rang true in our house. When I began my home education journey my two oldest were just finishing 1st and second grade at a conservative christian school. My first grader was already convinced that her teachers knew WAY more than I ever could. For some of their misconceptions, it took years for them to see what I, and many biblical world-view holders, consider "reality".

Caitriona aka Catherine said...

Hayley, I think there are a number of young people out there who are equally frustrated and would agree with you. Unfortunately, you probably speak for a minority.

Becky, it amazes me that even with so little time inside of a classroom what a tremendous influence it can have on young children.

Thank you both for chiming in. I would love my blog to lead to conversation.