Race to Nowhere?

Most mornings of their lives my kids have slept until they were ready to wake and then curled up on the couch to read until they felt ready to leap into the day. They’ve delved into topics of interest to them, sometimes in great depth. They’ve explored, wandered and spent time with people of all ages. They’ve never had homework or tests. (Well, till they hit driver’s license exam age.) They’ve worked hard at chores because it’s necessary to keep our small farm going  but never had to work hard to look a certain way or fight for popularity. They’re a relaxed, confident bunch who define success on their own terms.

Homeschooling gives them time to grow into their own possibilities. Time to develop inner strength. Time to be themselves in a world that relentlessly pushes children toward narrow definitions of success. Apparently it also gives them a break from the crushing pressure portrayed in the documentary Race to Nowhere.

As one expert says in the documentary, “When success is defined by high grades, test scores and trophies we know that we end up with unprepared, disengaged, exhausted and unhealthy kids.”

Today’s current methods of schooling, despite noble intentions, work against curiosity, creativity, critical thinking, close relationships, community connections and a culture of collaboration.

Natural learning isn’t just the antidote to this kind of soul-crushing pressure. It’s the way young people have learned throughout time. It’s time to redefine success on our own terms. Let our children sleep in. Let them dream. Let them wake to their own possibilities.

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Image courtesy of Jay Doodles

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