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How a Teen Makes the Best of Educational Freedom

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How a Teen Makes the Best of Educational Freedom

BY LINDSEY JOHNSON

educational freedomMake the best…well, the best is different for different people, so it’s not easy to tell how one should make the best of her educational freedom. It depends on her own goals and ambitions and dreams. It depends on the person. The whole point of having autodidactic freedom is to be able to direct her own path, to drum out her own direction. I shall try, though, to give some suggestions for unlearning what school has taught, and for freeing oneself from the oppressive ideas of this institution most are so often dependent on.

Lifelong Educational Freedom

I have never been to school. I have arrived at these conclusions by talking to friends who go or have gone to school, by reading many books on the subject, and by being in school-like situations such as driver’s education that showed me what school is like. It showed me that school is not a place I’d enjoy, nor is it, in my opinion, a very good place. While there was only one “subject,” it showed me that, if I went to school, I wouldn’t be able to spend my life doing what is probably the part of life – living it.

Knowing what I know now, I wouldn’t dare give up my educational freedom to an institution. First, I would suggest to another teen to take a break from anything academic so as to unlearn what school has taught about learning. In school, the idea is presented that learning is a chore and a race to the finish. It is not. It is a wonderful aspect of life and a great journey. In school, she has also been told to learn what everyone else is learning. What is learned should be the choice of the learner. She should try to allow herself to be inquisitive about anything that betides her curiosity and wonder. I think that all too often people are dependent on others to decide what should be learned instead of finding out what the individual heart desires to learn. That is something we must unlearn…something school has instilled in us from the time it was created. She should dismiss the idea that she cannot direct her own education…when this is done, it will be found that she is the only one who can direct her education authentically and rightly.

What Educational Freedom Looks Like

She should unlearn the notion that learning must happen at specific times; it should instead be realized that learning is as breathing: It happens all the time.

She needs to stop thinking in terms of “subjects” and realize that everything is dovetailed together. Everything is connected into a unified whole. She should try and rediscover this interconnected unity that she was previously turned away from. She has been taught, while being given irrelevant information, that knowledge is very limited because schools separate it into “subjects” with a precise line. This is not true; everything is connected.

She should try to allow herself to question everything. In school, she is taught to focus on the answers instead of the questions, but answers are dead ends. Once one has the answer, that’s it, there’s nothing left to say. She should allow herself to ask questions – as immense as the Milky Way.

Know Thyself with Educational Freedom

Most of all, don’t be afraid to be real. If real means studying only cars or stars, whatever real means, be real. Be yourself. Know yourself. Find the good in yourself…because only when you find the good in yourself can you truly find the good in the world.

Homeschooling Book of Answers RevisedLindsey Johnson was sixteen when she wrote this essay for The Homeschooling Book of Answers. She had been unschooled her whole life. (“My parents discovered John Holt when I was three.”) Lindsey is just one of dozens of contributors to the book that answers all of your questions about homeschooling and life-long learning. Please check out the collected wisdom!

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