Watch “Don’t Stay in School” on YouTube

Don’t Stay in School:

This video has gone viral on Facebook with over 10,000 likes and I only knew about it when a friend shared it on her Wall.

As a home educator and an unschooler by preference (though I find that for my kids, unschooling isn’t something they like very much and I’ve had to learn that it doesn’t really work for everyone and may not work for your own children even if it would work well for you), I totally agree with what he says.

Kids should be taught about practical everyday life matters. Things that really affect the quality of our lives for now and for the future. We should look ahead and prepare kids for survival in this world and teach them things schools have been useless at doing.

That said I did enjoy my time at school learning things like algebra, biology of a frog, ancient Chinese literature and in my free time, reading about ancient Native American history. Apparently American school kids have to learn that. I would have enjoyed that subject if I went to school in America I guess!

But I can appreciate that not all children like learning the same things I did back in school and although I enjoyed them and found them useful for my life, I also am of the opinion that people should own their own education and follow their passions and study whatever interests them. I wouldn’t make algebra compulsory, and certainly wouldn’t make Shakespeare compulsory (I never really enjoyed it that much).

I have many teacher friends in Singapore. They often complain parents just dump kids in school and absolve themselves of their duty to educate their children in morals, etc. Then parents point fingers at the teachers should their children misbehave, saying the teachers weren’t doing their job right.

While I agree that parents should not leave everything to the school to do, the way society (and governments too) has promoted school as the “go to” place for ALL children between 7 to around 16, has been responsible for parents developing this mentality that school is meant to be responsible for teaching children about things like morals, life skills, etc. Also, let’s not forget that when parents place their children in school for a whopping 6 to 8 hours of their waking time a day, 5 days a week, the teachers in school  automatically become loco parentis i.e. they assume the role of parents for all these kids under their care. Now I would say if someone (anyone) is in charge of impressionable children for such a big chunk of the children’s time, then they become the “parent” and hence should be teaching the children things that in the not-too-distant past, when school was not compulsory, were the preserve of parents to teach. Things like morals, life skills, etc.

But school teachers cannot possibly assume that responsibility and do it well. You see, a teacher is typically overloaded with as many as 35 children under his/her watchful eye. 35 active children with minds of their own. Any mother who has to supervise more than 3 kids at a time will tell you it’s a difficult task to keep track of each kid at all times. So how can parents expect a single adult – a typical school teacher – to keep an eye on up to 30 children in class half the time, let alone at all times? I would say that in an average class in school, all the kids are in reality, very poorly supervised. So what happens when children in school teach each other undesirable behaviour and problematic life concepts and it all goes unchecked? You get the blind leading the blind. Gordon Neufeld explains this all too well, which is why I love his books and videos. No wonder schools have become breeding grounds for children’s misbehaviour and poor life skills development.

The only way to salvage the situation is if everybody had the means to homeschool, and if they really aren’t cut out for homeschooling, for there to be schools (state or private) which ONLY have small class sizes of up to say, 5 children. Kids need adequate supervision and a lot of parental guidance to grow up into sensible adults. This is the only way to ensure the best future for our children. Oh and stop forcing children into overpopulated schools where teachers aren’t able to provide adequate 1 to 1 supervision and guidance. These days many non-homeschooling parents just hold their hands up and say “I could never homeschool. I could never teach my children. I’m not smart enough.” But who taught them they aren’t adequate to teach their children? The schools did. The same overpopulated schools that couldn’t provide them enough 1 to 1 supervision and guidance did.

Because anyone can teach their child. About life skills, about manners, about what matters to their lives and keeps their lives afloat. And if schools were more willing to change their “take us as we are or leave us” attitude, and be more willing to share their specialist subject teaching to the homeschooling public, then homeschooling parents whose kids would LIKE to study certain specialist subjects that their parent don’t know enough about to teach them, may be able to attend school for just those specialist subjects they want. That way we get the best of both worlds. The supervision and guidance each child needs daily, provided for by the parents who are their rightful teachers in life, and for whatever specialist subjects they want to do that the parent isn’t knowledgeable enough about, that school teachers can provide.

This scenario eliminates the need for kids to have to attend school 6 hours a day 5 days a week where they are poorly supervised and poorly guided by overloaded teachers.

Honestly, in an ideal world, the economy would not be so choked up by greed and therefore removing the choice to homeschool for many families in this world. Because of the income gap and the social inequalities that exist in many parts of the world, and a lack of adequate welfare systems in place that allow one parent to stay at home, many parents have been doomed to work in low-skilled low-paid jobs for most of the week and have to have their kids looked after by someone else, therefore necessitating the existence of schools.

We need to rethink the entire education system. It has been failing since it started. Perhaps the answer is not more school for kids, but less school and more parental involvement in the child’s waking hours each day.

But in our less than ideal world, we still have the need for schools, for parents who live in countries with lack of adequate welfare systems in place and parents having no choice in the matter as far as being stay at home parents go. We need high quality schools with small class sizes for those who have not much choice in the matter to homeschool.

And for those who can and wish to homeschool, the cooperation of the schools in offering free specialist subject tuition or classes for the homeschooled kids who would like to study those subjects. After all, home educators all pay taxes that help fund the school system. It makes sense that home educators be availed of the facilities in schools, as well as an opt-in service of tuition which home educators should not have to pay extra for, on top of all the taxes they already pay to fund these schools’ existence.


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