The Difference Between Education and School from a Failure of the Latter
As I write this post, the latest podcast episode from Our Fake History is entitled, "Is the Renaissance a Myth? (Part 1)." The host, Sebastian Major, discusses the problem of historians using their modern perspective to divide history in to periods, and the problems in their methodology. Was the Renaissance really a sudden shift, or an artificial framing of natural progress based on the prejudices of historians?
I have been on a significant history binge for a few years now. By no means do I claim to be a scholar, and I admit my skimming of history has been broad rather than deep, but it has been sufficient to help me see how shallow the school system's version has been. As a home-schooled student, I was a step ahead of my peers on scholarly matters already, but even then, it conveyed an understanding so scant as to be hardly useful at all.
The History of Philosophy podcast has endeavored to convey the history of thought without the usual gaps in a college survey course, and contrary to popular conception, philosophy was pursued throughout the "dark ages" and medieval period in Europe. The History of Byzantium podcast covers the Roman empire after the fall of the western half that people widely use as a milestone for the end of an era, and provides a far greater context for the next thousand years. The History of English podcast intertwines many threads of history while revealing the independent scholarship in parts of the British Isles and many mini-renaissances that occurred at various times not as widely-known as The Renaissance™ Even this is only scratching the surface. The separation of history into ancient, medieval, and modern periods is rather arbitrary. The Renaissance wasn't necessarily the landmark we think it was. People did not go into a centuries-long intellectual hibernation after Rome fell to Germanic tribes in the 5th century. History is so much more complicated than even an introductory college course can possibly convey, and academics served poorly to pique my interest.
What I find especially interesting as an adult is how unschooling is the way I learn almost everything now. That is where I think homeschooling served me well, in contrast to public school. Starting at about the 5th grade level, by American grade methodology, I began to assume more and more responsibility for my curriculum. I was in charge of setting my own schedule, determining how much work needed to be done daily or weekly to finish the course, and even choosing what to study beyond the core subjects. This left me better prepared for college than any college prep class in my senior year could have, and left me much more self-motivated and self-directed. And now as an adult, with the modern internet at my fingertips, I can sense the depth of opportunity before me should I ever wish to dive in.
That seems to have been killed off in many people by government schools. You study what someone else wants you to study, when they want you to study it, entirely on their terms and at their pace. If it is easy, tough. You're here until the bell rings. Having trouble? Tough. Time's up. On to the next thing. If it doesn't interest you, tough. Do it, and we'll tell you how good you are as a person with a letter grade at the end anyhow.
That isn't how you learn, grow, and develop yourself as an individual. It is how you are sculpted into an obedient subject. No, thanks! If that kind of atmosphere left a bad taste in your mouth, don't blame education, blame school. Find something interesting and learn about it just because it is interesting. If that leads you to branch off into something tangential, follow that instinct. Disagree with something? Explore it in depth to understand why, or maybe find a new truth to grasp instead. Grow a web of knowledge in your own mind by natural exploration, and you will be more fulfilled and complete. You won't regret it.