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On Learning

In tonight’s blog, Andrew shares about his unorthodox educational background and what he learned from it.

It is 6AM: wake up, get up, clean up, and do your private devotional before 7:30AM. Now join your family for breakfast followed by a devotional and prayer. Now go cure whatever curiosity you may have for the entirety of the day! Does this sound awesome or awful? Well that was 13 years of my life, 7 days a week, with few exceptions. You may be wondering when I “did school.” The short and simple answer to that, I didn’t. I had to learn basic curriculum at an early age but after that point, traditional schooling or homeschooling did not take place for me.

 

I received my High School diploma from a home schooling group in my county, (even though I was homeschool/“unschooled”) then went on to get my Bachelor’s degree in Music from Belhaven University. Throughout the traditional high school years I spent my time working, learning music, and being introduced into real world situations like day jobs and the simplicity of being responsible and diligent. My parents saw to it that I received social experiences, educational standards, and the freedom to explore personal passion for something unique, like music. However, when I tell people about my nontraditional schooling experience, I receive largely negative reactions. “How did you make it to college? Did your parents neglect you? You must’ve had bad grades, right?” I confess, going from learning all day and every day in multiple environments with no time constraints to sitting through traditional college classroom courses was a big curve ball. But I succeeded in my education regardless of all the doubts and concerns the world seemed to throw at me.

 

I wouldn’t say that this method of homeschool/unschool is best for everyone. My parents exercised what they believed to be the Lord’s Will. I too, hope to exercise such guidance for my children. Maybe a public school setting will be what they want or need, maybe a private school will be better for them, or maybe they will simply need the private instruction of their parents in the home. My point, I do not believe any one system is appropriate for everyone. I would encourage creativity in how we are to train our children.

 

“Get over the idea that only children should spend their time in study. Be a student so long as you still have something to learn, and this will mean all your life.” (Henry L. Doherty). My parents wanted to teach and train me through this point of view. And I think it is something all parents can embrace, regardless of educational preferences. I don’t believe that children should grow up thinking that after graduation from high school or college that their education is complete. One’s education should never be complete. I’m not encouraging people to avoid learning the basic curriculum, but I am promoting curiosity in all things. “The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.” (Plutarch) The “basic curriculum” isn’t enough.

 

Curiosity

To sum this up, I do not believe that learning should only take place from 8 to 3, or in any other constraint of time. Learning should be all day, every day. Never constrain yourself to one system to fulfill your educational needs. Never stop learning, not when you’ve received your doctorate, and not when you’re retired and ready to putter out. Approach life with curiosity, and you’ll be your own teacher.

“You can teach a student a lesson for a day; but if you can teach him to learn by creating curiosity, he will continue the learning process as long as he lives,” (Clay P. Bedford).

 

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