Some parents new to Radical Unschooling are worried that their children will not know the state capitals or the multiplication or “times” tables. I try to reassure them that memorization isn’t really learning. The idea that anyone needs to memorize states/capitals/times tables is based on an outdated, caveman belief system about true learning. What your children need to know is how to find the answers to their questions. This is a leading-edge idea about how humans truly learn. Most young people today know how to Google what past generations were forced to memorize, because there wasn’t such technology available. Also, the need to memorize was for the purpose of passing a test or quiz. The intention for a child’s learning such things was to meet the needs of the adults in their lives through attempting to cram tools into a child that they may need later in life.
However well-intentioned, until there is a need for the tools be forced on a child, they won’t come to understand it easily or value it, as it is laced with the energy of control, disrespect, forced manipulation, punishment and most of all, fear. The fear of having certain freedoms and joys taken away, from not obeying and memorizing is real and it is damaging. How can a human truly appreciate a tool that has been forced on them, against their will, as potentially useful? Even if they will someday use this tool, it often damages their will to learn other tools that could help them in life. In short, forced learning stunts human potentiality, as the negative association with content being forced is often avoided for the rest of a person’s life.
Also, the personal and sacred mind of a child should not be owned by someone else, attempting to fill it with pointless, mind-numbing “information” that has no purpose or use to them in a real-life context. Instead, they should have the freedom and time to fill that space with what they want to know and learn. Freedom of mind is a basic human right rarely given to children, but one they deserve as much as we adults do. The idea that they should be filling their minds, like sand in a bottle, with all of the grains representing memorized information, is an outdated mindset. Instead, we smash that bottle and expand their capacity to learn and grow through respecting their autonomy and choice in what they want to do with their time. When this happens, their internal motivation and inner drive is endless and can’t be contained. It is only then that children can learn and grow in ways that many don’t understand is possible.
At this time in human history, where everything that we were forced to memorize (and most of which we forgot, later) is available to our children, in seconds, how could that same outdated way of “teaching” through forced memorization be benefiting children today? It isn’t and it is robbing them of their lives through precious time wasted in their own pursuits of learning and nurturing their purpose and passions. There is nothing better than learning through living, with a child’s education perfectly individualized, based on Who They Are and what their life leads them to learn about. The days of wasting away the lives of children, through forced learning, forced memorization and busy-work, to keeps children out of society, will soon be over! Although most people today think that this way of living is radical or unrealistic, it is happening all over the world! Thousands of parents and children are living without forced learning or forced memorization being part of their lives, as it comes from an outdated belief system lacking in kindness and respect for children. I believe that the philosophy that I present will soon be accepted, admired and held as something to strive towards, on the spectrum of evolved parenting and educational philosophies.
~Peace & Love, Dayna