Un-schooling, Homeschooling, and Autodidactic Features

Un-schooling, Homeschooling, and Autodidactic Features

We don't believe the purpose of schooling should be "preparation for a job". Many of us at CLAWS got much less out of our own educations than we could have, simply because we found that "getting a job" was not our main concern for the future, and it was difficult to maintain motivation to do homework when we couldn't grasp the big picture--the underlying reasons why it was necessary to learn certain things, for example.

We feature articles on education because we believe the way government-funded education is structured needs to be transformed. We value learning, and there are a lot of options besides traditional schools for learning. Homeschooling is gaining international attention, and autodidactics (those who are self-educated) are becoming much more common. CLAWS regards these as promising trends.

See also our recommended books and our links page for plenty more food for thought on un-schooling, homeschooling, and encouragement for independent scholars. We particularly like the work of Ivan Illich, John Holt, John Taylor Gatto, Ronald Gross, and Grace Llwellyn. An interesting tidbit to check out, for example: In a new book by Russ Kick called "Everything You Know Is Wrong:The Disinformation Guide to Secrets and Lies", former teacher John Taylor Gatto uses the writings of the men who created and implemented the US public school system to show that they purposefully designed the system to keep us dumb and docile. Also see his "Underground History of American Education" for more on this.

And don't miss Why Not to Trust Your School, a very enlightening article brought to our attention by Tom Wheeler of Alternative Press Guide. Here's the first paragraph, to whet your appetite for more:

"When we go to school we are taught that school will teach us what we need to survive in society by giving us the necessary skills to get a job and “take care” of ourselves, but the system is not interested in our well-being. It is only interested in what we could do for them. The process of public education is a combination of rudimentary knowledge which we need to be able to serve the rich and powerful plus “norming” behavioral indoctrination intended to keep us from questioning the status quo when we become servants to the capitalists or the government by persuading us that the system which exploits us somehow exists solely for our benefit (a blatant contradiction and a lie). "

And here are some essays, all by prolific essayist John O. Andersen, to further your thinking about alternatives to traditional education and what role you might like it to play in your life.

"Government schooling is the explicit attempt to coerce people into accepting their appropriate place in hierarchical, industrial capitalism."
- Matt Hern

"School reform is not enough. The notion of schooling itself must be challenged."
- John Taylor Gatto,
The Underground History of American Education

"Education, with its supporting system of compulsory and competitive schooling, all its carrots and sticks, its grades, diplomas and credentials...is the deepest foundation of the modern and worldwide slave state, in which most people feel themselves to be nothing but consumers, spectators, and 'fans', driven more and more by greed, envy, and fear."
- John Holt

"Most parents are anxious for their children to complete the school course so that they can get a salaried job and lead an easy life. This is the wrong way to look at education. Learning has value in its own right. The purpose of learning is freedom."
- Vinoba Bhave