WHEN Earlier Discussions

This page is compiled from contributions made by WHEN, the World Home Education Network, to earlier discussions. WHEN argues that many educational problems are fabricated by the compulsion, monopolies and privileges of the education system.

A. Compulsory School.

The abolition of laws that make school compulsory fits in with WHEN's policy to treat children as human beings, rather than as imperfect, naughty little robots that need to be taught a lesson. Abolition of compulsory school also addresses other issues, such as socialization and the question of who is qualified to teach.

Because the majority of people send their children to school, to organized sports and all kinds of disciplinary organizations, there is hardly any activity for people who do not like this kind of stuff. You can call it tough luck, but isn't it tragic that these people have to pay the salaries of the very people that they oppose, i.e. teachers who indoctrinate their children. It is like the slaves who have to pay their very torturer.

Children who go to school are exhausted after a day of bullying and nonsense - when they come home, they have no will to interact in a nice way with other children. If they are given a free hand, they act like a pack of animals. This attitude is purely a result of the mentality that is imposed on children at school.

Parents of children who go to school do send their children to all kinds of activities. But such activities are so like school . . . Organized team sports are full of rules, there is a referee, etc. At camps there often is a disgusting disciplinarian mentality. Look at scouts, church activities, it is all so similar to school. Children are not allowed to do what they like, not allowed to talk to each other, just listen to the teacher, the master and shut up.

Even creative activities such as dance and art are full of this shit. Children sit in a classroom all making the same horrible object at craftwork, imitating the teacher. At dance courses, children stand in rows, not allowed to make a sound or movement until the teacher gives the command.

School clearly spreads its stink well beyond school hours and not merely during homework! Because of this horrible mentality that permeates society, families who do not want to be part of this have to suffer. For homeschoolers, there often is no alternative but to visit other homeschoolers, if they want the children to interact with each other in a sane manner.

School is the problem, the result of the way the Government has organized education is that there are few sane opportunities for homeschooling children to interact with other children.

B. The Education Monopoly.

The education system hangs together from monopolies and privileges, in a system that is largely funded by tax, in which a bureaucracy decides what is good and what is not. WHEN rejects the values behind this system as much as the resulting educational content.

Homeschooling should be accepted as a method. But WHEN does not recommend any single method and often rejects methods that imitate school in their drive for academic success. WHEN's argumentation is that what may appear as a perfectly staged and structured approach to one, so often turns out to be an educational sandstorm or dead-end-road for somebody else. Indeed, many homeschoolers put great trust in specific methods. WHEN argues that this common trust is a trap, a smokescreen deliberately set up and carefully nurished by the education bureaucracy to fool homeschoolers into accepting the 'status' of educational qualifications.

Rather than to rely on any specific method, WHEN prefers to see more responsibility in the hands of families, regarding the subjects they like to be occupied with and the methods they choose to advance in such subjects. Of course, the very concept of subjects is an invention of school, so any discussion about this is rather academic.

Instead of being ruled by textbooks, WHEN argues that families can use daily events and household items as the best educational resources to get started with any subject. In most cases, parents can give sufficient guidance to help children on their way through whatever subject they take on. The more advanced one is in a subject, the better one will be able to judge and find what is needed to make further progress. There is no need for formal teachers and methods.

Many people have this cliche picture that homeschooling parents are constantly walking around the house like teachers, with a big stick pointed at a giant blackboard in the center of the house, instructing their children to make maths exercises, etc. WHEN rejects this picture as a fabrication of disciplinarians with sick ideas about child behavior.

Giving academic guidance is not the most important parental role, whether or not those parents have chosen for school or for home education. Neither should academic achievement be seen as the measure of parental success in homeschooling families. What counts most is the parent's ability to stimulate interest, to encourage children to develop their talents and creativity, to be supportive, to give the right example and, above all, to be there for the children.

Instead of worrying about the 3Rs, parents should praise themselves lucky if they have a good relationship with their children. If children do not like a specific subject, regard it as an opportunity - they must have something else that they are more interested in. Build on that interest, even if it is just a spark. In the end, it may be the most precious thing in your children's life, something that will grow into a future career. Children are never too lazy to learn, especially not when they can do so in the company of parents who love them. Don't blame children for being unwilling, blame the teachers who constructed these boring subjects and designed these disciplinary methods with the intention to kill their spirits!

What is basic? Teachers are keen to teach children literacy with the argument that this is the basis for all other learning. But ordering children to write down all kind of rubbish is simply a convenient way for the teacher to keep the class quiet. This practice has done unspeakable harm to entire generations.

Even if one for a moment accepts this nonsense about what is basic, then surely verbal communication must be more basic than literacy. Children learn how to speak and interpret language first and they learn this at HOME, without any instructions from schoolteachers.

The moment children enter school, an evil cloak descends upon them designed to prevent children to further develop their verbal communication. School punishes children who speak, school does everything to silence and immobilize children in the classroom and adds some orchestrated madness in between breaks, during which children play out all kinds of antics, sillyness, bullying and nonsense, anything but sensible conversation. Conversation between children is simply discouraged at school. School prevents development of verbal and social interaction, which is far more basic than all this literacy shit.

If the discussion is about what is more basic, there is no match. In any such comparison, literacy is clearly less basic than verbal communication. Progress in computing goes fast, particularly in voice recognition and synthesis. Children who now waste their time on spelling and writing may be skillful in things that are obsolete by the time they grow up, while they lack background and experience in what will be important by that time.

In the bigger picture, school does far more harm. The whole system is designed to stamp out any creativity. Children who love to experiment, improvise and try out new ways, are constantly being punished.

If there is anything that will be the key to a successful future career, it will be the ability to apply creativity. In future, eductional qualifications may well become the albatross around one's neck, just like criminal convictions. "Oh, you have spent twenty years in educational institutions? Then you better go somewhere else, you dummy!"

WHEN does not make prescriptions as to what subjects children should familiarize with. The very idea that some subjects are basic, that some are the foundation for further development, that very idea is wrong, it is a fabrication of the evil school system that seggragates children according to age and teaches different lessons for each age group, pretending that one is somehow a prerequisite for the other. It is a load of rubbish!

There is no single subject that is more basic than any other subject. Children progress best if they can experiment, improvise, act spontaneously and, of course, are encouraged in this and not bullied, punished and humiliated by teachers and other kids.

Shake off that evil smell of the basics, it only cloaks parents in the darkness of the past, going way back into the medieval mentality that schoolmasters like to dwell in. Shake off that black toga and spot the brightness and the multitude of colors of future times, at horizons that are approaching fast all around us!

School prevents development of the right hemisphere of the brain. WHEN argues that, in future, there will be plenty of nerds that can calculate and apply tautological logic, but there will be no demand for their outdated skills.

C. Stop looking up to academic qualifications.

WHEN does not argue that home education is always the best solution for all families. WHEN merely argues that homeschooling should not be regarded as inferior compared to school. Society looks up to academic qualifications as something superior. But there is much evidence that this to be a myth. The school system does not create an academic elite, it merely creates academism and elitism. School creates elitism by constantly ranking and condemning children's behavior, while selecting a few 'winners' that gain high marks for obedience. This whole dog-training system is sick. School and elitism go hand in hand. The word class is synonymous with school!

WHEN has come across a lot of families with 'disadvantaged' children, often physically and mentally challenged in ways that make the school environment even more difficult to bear for such children. WHEN's experience is that such families often gladly choose for home education as a far better alternative than school. The tragedy is that, in many cases, families do not even have such a choice.

Homeschooling is not only academically, but also morally and especially socially superior, homeschooled children are more assertive, more communicative and tend to establish loving and caring relationships that have far more depth than the master-slave relations and the pack-behavior of school.

Home education can provide an environment in which children can relax, be themselves without constantly having to prove themselves. As a result, children will experiment and improvise - and subsequently develop their talents - without the constant criticism of the school atmostphere. Homeschoolers tend to value children for what they are and tend to cherish their potential. School is out to break children's will and enforce conformity to the rule of the mob.

Historically, school is a relatively recent phenomenon. Some homeschoolers call school a failed experiment that could only become 'popular' because of compulsory attendance laws. The intrinsically coercive nature of school makes its 'popularity' suspicious to say the least. Take away the dictator's gun and it will not take long before his perceived lustre will evaporate - break the teacher's stick and he instantly loses his marbles! Take away the compulsion, the monopolies and the privileges that the education system exploits, and most educational problems will disappear.

 [ WHEN, the World Home Education Network ]

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