Jan 6, 2012

Is the trivium schooled out of us? - My Own Education Story


Here is my latest article posted to Unplugged Mom - HERE

As I learn more about the trivium by listening to various podcasts, reading articles and suggestions of how to implement the practices, I have come to the realization that this is how I have always learned. It is was never taught to me though, so I have to wonder if this "process" is innately coded within us and schooling has replaced it with the various drills, routines and other artificial crowd controlling methods used within the systems.

While I was reading The Well-Educated Mind - which you can find my review of HERE - I began to really understand that this SIMPLY MAKES SENSE. You have to have a base of information, which is gathered during the grammar stage, that you begin to process and review determining whether the information is valid, true, logical, incorrect, misleading or otherwise false, during the logic stage and then as your mind and opinions truly begin to develop you are able to challenge, question or carry on a discourse with someone.

I only fully attended school through 7th grade. Starting in 8th I went when I felt like it, but the school kept passing me on to the next grade. I could miss school for two or three weeks at a time go back for a day or two and then be gone again, with no repercussions other than some finger waving from my mother. I dropped out 3 weeks into the 11th grade when I turned 16 and completed my GED two months later with a near perfect score.

I always read ferociously and retained ridiculous amounts of information from documentaries, books, and conversations. While I was waiting to start college - at that time I couldn't get financial aid, scholarships or grants unless "my class" had already graduated - I tutored at a local GED program and area high schools in Math - yup the guidance counselors recommended the dropout for tutoring - how is that for irony! When I finally started college I tested out of nearly all my prerequisite classes and finished my associates degree in three semesters (would have been two if I hadn't taken medical leave partway through the second to have my daughter, but the morning sickness was killing me). 

Over the years I accumulated stacks and stacks of journals and binders that I kept while taking notes as I read or watched documentaries. My friends used to say "Why on earth do you do that? You are just going to remember it anyway!" never realizing that that was why I remembered it... the writing was a sort of rhetoric. When the notebooks got out of control, I began to use index cards as I read and then would rewrite the key notes and important info on loose leaf paper that I could put in binders and swap around when needed, this has proven to be a much more efficient system. I also have my blog which has become the place that I most often turn to when I need to express my points on a topic or look back to refresh my memory. Although I am not as eloquent as many that I read, I feel I have a pretty decent ability to get my thoughts across and I am improving with practice.

One of the things that always pleasantly surprises me when I speak with teens who don't go to school - whether they are unschooled, homeschooled or whatever other term they feel comfortable using -  is that they are at ease and feel comfortable speaking with anyone on a topic that they are interested in. They don't hesitate in calling someone out that they disagree with and will steadfast in their opinion while taking into consideration others feelings on the matter as well. 

This need to discuss, question and learn from one another just seems to be so alive and present in those who don't go to school. It is also exactly these things that are not allowed in school as the student must not question the teacher, must only learn what is presented to him/her in the order in which it is given and can't possibly learn from peers! It is my assertion that spending 13+ years in a situation where you are oppressed and treated as an inferior has caused those who succumb to its hold to lose their love of learning, ability to gain more obscure concepts and quest for intelligent dialect. 
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