Sunday, September 18, 2011

Give More, Get Less

"Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country." - John F. Kennedy

Surprisingly, this is not a post about selfless generosity; I just like that quote. It's a post about public schools in my county and what ensues. Not the whole hell-storm - that will come sooner or later in a separate post, I should think - but the levels of education. It is said that home-schoolers learn more, which I have no reason to doubt. While I may like my school, I do not like the county a bit: it is as a solid branch in a rotten tree. The curriculum is rushed and sloppy and has more the intention of passing us than actually teaching us. What use is it to learn a bit of something and then forget it? They don't take the time to engrave things into us, only to imprint them long enough to score a test. My point is this, plain and simple:

Learning should not be for the purpose of passing, but for learning in itself.

In a way, it's like having a sign reading that it has sharp edges. Might as well not be there. I loved my World History teacher last year, Chaney (no "Mr." required, as he was pretty laid-back) - but the course itself was the entire history of the world crunched into nine weeks, so there was a week on Greek myth, a week on Chinese dynasties, one on World War II, etc. Not enough for elaboration. In English we don't fully read many books - we read excerpts and then watch the movie most of the time. Don't even get me started on science! Ugh.

I am the rare case of someone who wishes to relearn what was previously presented in forgettable ways. The Modern Scholar audio series is good for that. I wish I could have at some point experienced the benefits of a home-schooled life. Not only do I learn more and learn it in more effective ways, but I have much more free time and less necessity to encounter lower types of people (not judging by race or class, but by mental and moral values). I ride the bus with many boisterous and uneducated persons, which I blame on lack of independent reading. It drives me bonkers to see people confuse the possessive "your" with the you-are contraction. Some do it for convenience, but many are honestly that ignorant. Most kids go along with the grow-up-and-get-out philosophy. They tend to hate school. I like school in theory, but Wake County is just ridiculous. I always say, If you race through life, you'll find the finish line fast enough (death). I'm a rose-smeller and proud of it.

I continue to educate myself on the things which interest me and do me well, even though we can only take so many classes. Most are core, as they don't seem to give a damn about arts or anything that sticks.

I've been a captive of the system and I have nearly broken my bonds (that will come to a head in college, I hope), and I am learning other things.

For further reading on unschooling, I recommend my friend Kate's post:

- Lewis


  1. I don't know that homeschoolers necessarily learn more- just learn more efficiently (which in some cases amounts to the same thing). And actually, World History is 18 weeks. The elaboration is what AP World History/AP Human Geography is for.

    Maybe your English classes are different than mine have been, though, because the only thing we haven't read all the way through was the Odyssey.

    "Grow up and get out" is a serious problem, of course, and learning on one's own is always good, but Wake County seriously is TONS better than a lot of places. Yes, it doesn't live up to what some people wish it would, and there probably are more-effective (for some students) modes of education, but other than the lack of budget, we're pretty good at what we do.

  2. Oh wait, I mixed up quarter and semester. Oops. Still, I haven't the room to take those extra things as school courses. It's just that they have inefficient learning methods. If there are really places that much worse, I have an ocean of pity for the students at them. WCPSS is pretty blasted terrible.

    They don't like "different" people - those students need to be treated to become one of "the herd". I refuse to conform to a crowd, even if it results in discrimination and such. The reason I'm not in "smart" classes is that the county freaked up my schedule and didn't bother to fix it. But I'm making the best of it, as I do (being an optimist and all), such as reading Honors books on my own. I don't believe in rushing, but it should be a relief to be away from this one day. Of course I shall still talk to you and all my other beloved friends, but we'll be "out of the storm," as it were.