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School Mind and Education Mind Are Two Different Things – Part 2 of 2

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School Mind and Education Mind Are

Two Different Things – Part 2 of 2

By Linda Dobson

education mind

Interest creates intrinsic motivation to learn.

When we compare public school attendance to homeschooling, we tend to focus on the external and obvious differences. The differences, however, begin at a deeper level, strongly influenced by how we think about learning. This two-part post looks at the differences between school mind and education mind to help you understand – or explain – that homeschooling is successful, in part, because of these differences in thinking and, therefore, starting points.

Part 1 of this post explained school mind. Today we’ll examine education mind so we can see how they differ.

Education Mind Explores Freedom

Due to theĀ  modern experience of homeschooling, increasing numbers of adults and children possess what I call “education mind.” The basic premise of education mind is that a school and its system are not elements necessary for children’s education and socialization.

Without a requirement to create and maintain a system to instill order and regularity, the starting point of thinking about learning and socialization naturally shifts to the child, who is to be served by efforts in this direction. The need to apply order and regularity to an organically “messy” process disappears. Instead, increased time, energy, and attention (and money!) can be devoted directly to children, which increases the odds for their own smoother sailing.

Education Mind Summary

The pillars to hold up order and regulation, mentioned in Part 1, are no longer necessary, so system support can be replaced by direct support of the children’s needs:

  • Autonomous use of time. Compulsory attendance laws control children’s time for approximately half a year of regular forty-hour workweeks each school year. The freedom of individuals to use this large block of time in ways more appropriate to their own needs and desires creates much more opportunity for meaningful learning.
  • Purpose. When children are curious about (interested in) something, they can see a purpose to learn about it. Interest creates intrinsic motivation to learn. This leads to a quicker grasp of information, concepts, or skills desired. Because interest leads children to apply the knowledge once acquired, they retain it.
  • Focus on what is being achieved. Serving the needs of individual children negates comparisons with other children. Emphasis and attention shift to each child’s forward progress. Someone who knows the child well, and loves and supports her, can accomplish this positive focus that replaces a negative focus.

Where does this lead us?

Time + Purpose + Focus on what is being achieved = Education

Learning that begins in freedom, that is guided by curiosity, and that is conducted without a need for external rewards and punishments gives children an understanding that life is learning. As I wrote in The Art of Education: Reclaiming Your Family, Community and Self, “In the singular act of living life to its fullest, in appreciating every moment as it unfolds, true education occurs. A child who grows knowing he already has inside happiness, love, success, and fulfillment is building a life and an education on a strong foundation. The inner gifts shine forth in play, work, busy time, quiet time, triumphs and failures. Each action becomes its own reward.”

Certainly this formula is not the only way to create education in lieu of schooling (and, yes, an education is possible simultaneously with schooling), but it is one that has proven to work. It is also inexpensive and accessible to millions of families within their own homes.

School Mind Compared to Education Mind

School Mind

Compulsory Attendance (time in institution away from real world) + Curriculum (study chosen by strangers and lack of interest) + Focus on Lack of Meeting Existing Standards (tests, measuring against others + “fix the child to fit in” mentality) = Schooling

Education Mind

Time (freedom and opportunity) + Purpose (intrinsic motivation and interest) + Focus on What Is Being Achieved (love and support) = Education

Adapted from The Ultimate Book of Homeschooling Ideas: 500+ Fun and Creative Learning Activities by Linda Dobson

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Please visit Part 1 of

School Mind and Education Mind Are Two Different Things

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