Watching the series ‘Exemption from obligatory schooling’, I see how Teun, presentator of the Dutch program cannot understand that a ‘smart’ child can get exemption from school for the rest of it’s life. A mother explains to Teun that her sun even bounces when he sees a school book. He was bullied out of school and mother applied for a exemption.
Teun names going to school: ‘a right to education’ whereby I think: ‘What if the child doesn’t want education or doesn’t think it needs education in the way we think it needs to be teached?’ Then we, as adults decide that the child needs it. Because the child is to young to make certain decisions itself. Teun doesn’t understand why it is so easy to get a exemption. I will rather call it ‘lucky’. Peter Gray (Freedom to Learn) tells that a child is able to walk and learn a complete language in two years. Why do we say when the child is 4: ‘You cannot do it yourself, you will go to school to be teached.’ Is it for the child? Or are we afraid that it will be a loser in society without papers? And we don’t want our child to be a loser because then we fail and the child fails. It is not a ‘right’ Teun. It is a duty.
With the current system, we force children into something where the most of them will not choose for in freedom(ask the children yourself). in the 19th century, the first school arose in Massachusetts. Schooling emerged because of different reasons but one of them was to set children free from child-labor in fabrics. Quite quick, those schools became the fabrics themselves. Many schools do adjustments to provide children with education that’s more close to them which makes me happy. Still, the Sudbury, Summer-hill and democratic schooling models give much more right to the child to choose which way it wants to go. From what I saw, the smartest child emerges from out of it’s own strength and creativity without being forced – it has space to discover itself what role it has in this world. From out of this base they are able to make more conscious decisions about what they want. Without proof, we think that children are not willing to learn without being ‘teached’. This is a more then 1700 year old lie wherein we have learned to give the natural trust in our own power away. To a God, a leader, a partner, friends – a basic missing of self-trust. Of course we believe that, it’s logical – we grew up in this system.
There are no lazy children. We make them lazy by making their choices. The creativity dies whereby they dis-learn to make their own choices. And yes, then you get a lazy child. Do I say that children can make all of the choices themselves? Of course not. we are there as good examples. A child learns from us that a knife is not made to torture a animal but to spread butter on bread. It learns by example. We have to transform from: ‘If we let it free, it will not work out’, to ‘If we let it free, it becomes human’.