Wednesday, July 20, 2005


Around this time of year, I struggle with remembering the reasons that we homeschool and what it is going to look like next year. Each year, I start with renewed promises that I am going to be more organized in my reporting of our rather eclectic way of learning. Indeed, I even sometimes try to plan out curricula! Yet, I remain convinced that it isn't our objective to raise mini-Einsteins or grand scholars. We are committed to raising decent people that love to learn and can find meaning in their lives.

Recently, I borrowed a book from the library for dh, On Bullshit by Harry G. Frankfurt. I found myself browsing through this small epistle to find a very pertinent (to education) paragraph:

"Bullshit is unavoidable whenever circumstances require someone to talk without knowing what he is talking about. Thus the production of bullshit is stimulated whenever a person's obligations or opportunities to speak about some topic exceed his knowledge of the facts that are relevant to that topic. This discrepancy is common in public life, where people are frquently impelled - whether by their own propensities or by the demands of others - to speak extensively about matters of which they are to some degree ignorant. Closely related instances arise from the widespread conviction that it is the responsibility of a citizen in a democracy to have opinions about everything, or at least everything that pertains to the conduct of his country's affairs. The lack of any significant connection between a person's opinions and his apprehension of reality will be even more severe, needless to say, for someone who believes it is his responsibility, as a conscientious moral agent, to evaluate events and conditions in all parts of the world."

Amen to that. My opinion is that school is often founded upon these beliefs, and children are subjected to being crammed with knowlegde which they will never fully master or maybe never even use, in the hopes of producing citizens that can participate in society. Often, it isn't about learning to learn, or about education at all.

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