On Community learning and a world without school
Imagine what it could be, what it should be, what is will be…
Imagine a life that is not prescribed, predetermined or prearranged in any way. This means a child will not automatically be bused away from his parents, at the tender age of four years (sometimes younger), into an automated process that will influence, nefariously design and ultimately shape the rest of his life. Instead, the child will continue to enjoy drinking in their world and all of the information in it, in the natural and thirsty way that children do.
Imagine total freedom in education. Imagine learning and living being so infused that there is no way to make a distinction between the two. Imagine a community that thrives and functions by this principle.
What would it look like?
Imagine visiting a library that is so well funded by philanthropic donations that it rivals the largest chain bookstores in town. Imagine this library offers a plethora of classes for children of all ages on a variety of topics and taught by those who specialize in these fields and simply want to give something back to their community. Perhaps you have a knack for knitting and you decide to teach a course simply because it makes you feel good and you get to meet great friends by doing so. Now imagine that there are dozens of libraries like this one in every city across the nation.
Imagine living in a town where dozens of community centers exist. These centers are funded partially by the county, by donation, and by patrons who use the facilities. They are clean, safe and equipped with full gymnasiums, work out rooms, dance studios, sports fields, swimming pools, game rooms, computer labs, meeting rooms, lecture halls, kitchens and more. Imagine the rich variety of courses that are offered ranging from aerobics to swimming or from basic computer skills to programming or from creative writing to Shakespearean acting or from robotics to physics. Imagine sports programs and leagues that help prepare young aspiring athletes for sports careers.
Imagine you want to make some money for your family and you have a passion for chemistry so you offer a science class for the community children. For a small fee children can take your class and those fees help the community center exist as well as helping you earn a few dollars. Even better, kids in the community have great fun learning science with a teacher who truly enjoys what they are doing because the experience is devoid of bureaucratic strings, testing, tenure or politics.
Imagine a group of parents who are friends sharing similar interests, beliefs, values and goals. These parents get together and form a cooperative learning group for their kids. They take turns teaching the children different skills and topics that they’ve agreed upon as a group. Their valued friendships beget respectful attention and personal dedication. Imagine that this is not an isolated occurrence but it happens all the time in communities everywhere.
Imagine local businesses offering programs to help kids in the community learn that particular trade or skill through special training programs. Imagine a community wherein business internships and apprenticeships are normal and expected in a thriving economic environment.
Imagine a group of local kids in unfortunate situations at home are in need of support, guidance and someplace safe to learn and discover their passions. Imagine local caring volunteers offering to help these kids in a community center designed specifically for this purpose. Imagine that because the children’s experience here is positive, they are able to live a life that supports their individual passions and therefore they enjoy healthy relationships. Perhaps the positive experience helps to disrupt the cycle of child abuse and/or neglect, one child at a time and one community at a time, one city at a time and so on.
Imagine a world where your family has all of these options open to them, at any time, sometimes for a small fee, and sometimes for free and imagine that they are completely optional and never mandated by the State. Imagine your personal liberty being acknowledged, recognized and valued above any corporate or political agenda.
Imagine community centers and cooperative learning adventures being regulated only by the people who use and facilitate them. Imagine that families are not assumed to be guilty of criminal intent and that the safety and child protection laws that already exist are respected and valued as the governing jurisdiction and that no other measures are necessary because we live in a community that trusts that human beings are mostly good especially when they are treated with respect, kindness and freedom.
Can you imagine this? Can you imagine communities that function and thrive in this way? Can you imagine families working together cooperatively? Wouldn’t this be the ideal replacement for what we now know as schooling? Can this happen? Can the whole of society transition to this ideal?
The answer is yes. Yes. In fact not only is it possible my friends, but it is happening. How do I know it is happening? Because I am a home educating parent and we are an independently living and learning family and as such we regularly participate in, learn with and take advantage of beautiful community centers and libraries and multi-family cooperative initiatives. We regularly take advantage of business apprenticeships and learning programs offered by local businesses in response to increasing request by the growing number of independently educating youth.
We enjoy these wonderful opportunities because we live in a community that supports independent education and the community has become what we need it to be because we recognize that we are the community, and that we don’t need school. We don’t need it so we simply chose not to use it. I suspect, as school becomes more outdated and freedom in learning becomes more popular, more and more communities will begin to reflect similar changes as well.
We are standing on the precipice of a complete transformation in education and it is happening.
The great news for you is that it is remarkably easy for you to be a part of it. As a matter of fact, what you don’t do is more important than what you do. Don’t go to school. Don’t send your children to school.
As more and more families opt out of schooling in favor of natural learning, fewer and fewer schools will be needed. As the growing population of independent learners begin to erect family learning initiatives, nature clubs, cooperatives and community learning centers – independently run and funded, operated by the families who use them and completely free from unwanted intrusion – we will witness the eventual end of compulsory, processed schooling.
Education is evolving because humanity is evolving. It is happening and it’s magnificent! Join us!
Laurette Lynn is the author of “Don’t Do Drugs and Stay OUT OF School” from which this excerpt was used. She is also the host of the popular web talk radio show and podcast Liberated Life Radio (formerly Unplugged Mom Radio) and has authored dozens of other articles and essays on Home Education and freedom in family living. Learn more about Laurette Lynn and Unplugged Mom Radio by visiting LauretteLynn.com and LiberatedLifeRadio.com
This post is part of a series about Redefining Education. Other posts in the series are: