I really like the idea of Classical Education- really like it. I get the stages, understand the Great Conversation and wanna rock the world with little SWB wannabe's. The reality is that, at heart I'm a classical unschooler. I use the term "classical" unschooler because I want you to realize that the John Holt and Colfax unschoolers of the world are radically different than the ones you see today on T.V. (you know, the ones that spend their days playing video games and having Nerf gun wars in their front yard). I might be an educational anarchist, but I'm not an educational nihilist. Not one little bit.
I've been thinking about outcome based education because Classical Ed is supposed to deliver, right? We have uber educated kids on our hands (in theory anyway), so they should be going to good schools with great scholarships and rocking the academy. The problem is that some of our kids don't want, or even believe, in higher ed the way it's currently defined: years of conformity, lots of debt and hoop jumping. Furthermore, they are unclear about the kind of training they'll be getting. Training and degrees are 2 very different things. My kids look at higher ed very practically. And given the debt, the time, and the demands of it, I can't say that I blame them.
But what to do? What's the point then?
I had an epiphany this week-end, brought about by an unexpected and unpleasant event, in conjunction with a good book, The Art of Non-Conformity by Chris Guillebeau. I realized that I am just not cut out for middle class house-wifedom, conformity or fitting in. It's stresses me out. I've given it a go and I think I'm quitting.
We've deliberately done too many things out of the ordinary. We wanted to. We were willing to pay for it. But somewhere along the way we got bogged down in status-quo and trying to prove ourselves and respond to the many voices that griped at us about not following the prescribed course of success, or at least acceptance.
Phooey on that. I like the way things are for other people, but it just isn't gonna work out for me.
We've moved all over the country. We've loved living everywhere; which is not to say we've loved everywhere we've lived. We've earned beaucoups degrees; we love learning. We've had a bunch of kids; which has been a blast, for the most part. We wanted to re-claim an old farmhouse/ homestead; we've been doing that and it's been challenging, rewarding and satisfying (please note the deliberate avoidance of the word "fun" here). Dr. Dh wanted to be a social scientist. I wanted to homeschool. We both want to write and teach and think and be agents of change. So we do those things. But somehow paying the mortgage and getting the middle class, middle age responsibilities of life done has taken precedence over what we want to do next. Partly because our kids are getting older and society and our parents, and our kid's friends parents all ask where they are going to school, and what SAT scores they got and what kind of scholarships they have and WHAT ARE THEY GOING TO DO NEXT. And if it's not "normal" or doesn't make sense, not only do we have to deal with our struggle with those questions and our answers, but we have to deal with our kids struggle with those questions and answers .
Case in point, KB going to Cosmetology School instead of college. KB is smart, beautiful, witty and good,and did I mention smart? Further more her parents are smart and have degrees. Why on earth would she go to Beauty School? She reads The Universe Next Door in her free time, and paints, and writes. She's talented. Isn't all of that talent wasted? Aren't the years of classical ed; the Latin attempts, the Logic and History and Lit wasted?
Well, no. Because classical ed isn't about a specific outcome. It's about education, and freedom, and choices; choosing on your own instead of working off of a script.
Oh Lord, it's hard to be an anarchist. But really, when I really, really think about it, that's what a life of faith is; that's the Way of the Cross, and the way of true education.. It's about charting a new course.
KB has a skill, little to no debt, money in the bank and the freedom to move anywhere in the world. In fact, she just moved across the county. She took her paints, and her books, and her hair cutting scissors with her, along with her love of philosophy, theology, art and beauty. She hasn't bailed on education or how she was raised. She's just decided that the way things are don't have to define her, or enslave her, or force her into debt or a job, or a way of life that doesn't suit her.
She chose. Because she knows she has a choice. Status Quo isn't the only option.
Linking up with Teach Beside Me and the Carnival of Homeschooling.