Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A new name for myself

Just as the differences between a public schooler and homeschooler are readily apparent, so are the differences between the different breeds of homeschoolers. There are two primary types:

1. Those that are homeschooled but follow a rigid curriculum and often times take many outside classes.

2. Those that are home, hardly take any outside courses, not many tests, no recognizable curriculum, and are motivated not by external rewards, such as grades, but for the sake of learning. Intrinsic versus extrinsic.

The majority happen to fallen under the first category, I on the other hand, fall into the second. Once these differences became apparent to me, I took upon myself to give the latter category a name: A freelance student.

So the next time someone asks me what I do for my schooling, I will now have a specific answer.

As should be obvious, the first category is much more akin to the publicschool system. Superior for certain, but its break from it is not a complete one. Most of the homeschoolers I know participate in many "co-op" classes, which in my opinion is just a repeat of the same mistakes the public school makes; the kids and the environment are better, but collective learning via a classroom is an outdated system of education. Granted that I take a chemistry course at a local community college - which is the only outside class I'm taking, by the way -, but that is a hard science that requires feedback and laboratory work. There are exceptions. But then again, taking English there wasn't exactly an educational marvel.

The main problem with the public school and some homeschool breeds is the same one that faces every centrally planned economy in a socialist commonwealth: coercion. Coercion butchers curiosity and the will to learn. It has been known for literal centuries that men tend to gravitate toward their own ideas as opposed to someone else's. Volition is a self-perpetuating machine that fosters in its victim a far stronger avidity than coercion ever can.

What I am proposing - and what human nature is testifying - is not that school should be a completely lawless activity, but rather one that fosters independence and a will to learn through one's own volition. This is not easy, it takes a whole more energy and intelligence than resorting to force. Remember, force is the refuge of the weak man who doesn't have the brains to handle a situation.

So the logic firmly holds water, but how about the empirical and anecdotal evidence? A quick study of the greatest inventors and innovators should suffice to demonstrate that it was not external rewards like fame and money that motivated geniuses, but the satisfaction of learning and creating for its own sake.
An an anecdotal level, I for example may be considered uneducated by a firm credentialist. And that may be true, but then again, I note with no little amusement that Wikipedia felt it important enough to mention that Ben Bernanke taught himself Calculus in the absence of school support, which of course is exactly what I am doing, as a Junior no less.

I also happen to know more about economics than over 90% of adults; conversation and this blog should suffice to prove this.

I am not apprising you of this because of I want to pronounce my egoism - in fact, I try to evaluate my knowledge on absolute instead of relative terms. But rather, I am spelling this out to provide you with a better understanding behind a better educational process.

But from now on, I am, and for the rest of my time in this world, a freelance student.

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