Here we are at the third and final of three posts about one objection to life learning. In the first post, the objection is that I am a lazy parent. I’m setting my kids up to fail was covered in the second post. And finally, we have reached the “easy out”.
Someone who thinks that self-directed learning is an “easy out” for kids must believe that if kids are left to their own devices to make empowered decisions about their lives and chart their own educational courses, they will join their lazy parents on the couch with an extra box of bonbons to share while they all watch the Kardashians. It’s a fear-based response.
Most of us have grown up and been, ummm, conditioned, to accept the outside-in, authority-directed, classroom-style approach to education as the best way to make sure that our children learn everything they need to learn. Breaking free of that mold requires a complete paradigm shift in how we view education. It requires a tremendous amount of trust in children to learn and grow at their own pace and in their own directions. It requires a tremendous amount of faith that life will prepare a child for what he or she needs to know. It is not an “easy out”.
Here’s the thing: self-directed learning looks to some people like an “easy out” for kids because a lot of times it doesn’t look like school, and sometimes children choose not to focus on something right now that we (or someone else) think(s) they should. That doesn’t make it an “easy out”, though.
Think about your own life. How hard do you work when you’re immersed into something that interests you? What are you willing to do? What are you willing to give up? What are you willing to hold your nose and endure – all for something that is important to you? How much do you retain when you’ve chosen to spend your time and energy to learn something?
Now, take all of those questions, but answer them with a subject or a “something” in mind that someone else told you that you have to learn because they said so. Add to that, you’re not the slightest bit interested in learning it. Do your answers change? Mine sure do.
Self-directed learning can look like an “easy out” for parents too because a lot of times, it is not parent/teacher-intensive in the way that we’ve been, ummm, conditioned, to expect learning to be. The parent-intensive part of life learning is learning how to partner with your children to mentor and guide them throughout their childhoods. It’s modeling a lifelong love of learning for your kids. It isn’t for the faint of heart.