Review: Born To Learn: Unschooling In the New Paradigm

6 Star Top 10%, Education (General)
Amazon Page
Amazon Page

Kytka Hilmar-Jezek

5.0 out of 5 stars Beyond 5 Stars – Elegant Manifesto & Wake-Up Call for New Parents, April 6, 2013

This slim but extremely coherent and pointed book goes into my best of the best list, 6 Stars, where the top 10% and especially gifted books go.

Unschooling, the author makes clear, is not the same as homeschooling, and this may unnerve some, including those who are pre-disposed toward breaking away from the Prussian educational model intended to create obedient factory workers and soldiers rather than actually educate.

The author is acutely aware that neither homeschooling nor unschooling are remotely possible for most families as we approach the final collapse of a very corrupt ecnomic system optimized to concentrate wealth for the 1% at the expense of the 99%. For this reason her ideas are best embraced as part of a total transformation that includes a return to a one-income family economy in which the family is placed ahead of all other considerations in every policy domain.

Having said that, while the author herself avoids specifics, this book is for me priceless at three levels:

LEVEL 1: At least understand the agony of your child in regimented schools. I have been serving as a substitute school teacher across Fairfax County, Virginia for the past month, every day, and while Fairfax is the “best of the best” in meticulously scheduled “teach to the test,” the glaring deficiency I see everywhere is “intellectual free play.” I've even had an assistant principal upset with me because I had the temerity to put the honors civics class desks in a circle — an elementary principle had a problem with my mentioning Santa Clause, considered “an inappropriate religious reference” in the fine print. If nothing else — and worth GOLD to any parent — this book clearly establishes what we give up in sending our children into regimented public education (private schools teach 14 things public schools do not, look up < John Taylor Gatto's 14 Principles of Elite Private Schools >).

CAVEAT: What I am also seeing is that the kids are already smarter and more connected by our generation of adults, and many of them of them have already made the decision to tune out of rote learning and follow their own paths. If the schools do not start adapting soon, we will have more and more drop-outs, and it will be the best and the brightest dropping out, not the more challenged. School is not a challenge, it is a prison (in the view of many of its denizens).

LEVEL 2: Consider supplementing regime schooling with home schooling by at the very least taking steps to ensure your child has access to and learns how to leverage the vast range of truly extraordinary resources that are available online and through various networks including the Waldorf Homeschools founded by the author.

LEVEL 3: Consider early on in the first pregnancy the relative merits of choosing to forgo the mother's earning potential for 18 years — or even the first six. In our families case, my wife was able to work from 10 am to 2 pm Tue-Thu and was available to our children the rest of the time. The benefits for the first child were enormous, and cascaded down to the second and third.

There is only one truly radical statement in this book and I agree with it completely: the feminist movement that liberated women destroyed the family. Whether the feminist movement was part of an over-all campaign to further fragment the 99% and break up the middle class is for future historicans to determine; what is absolutely clear is that by demeaning the role of the mother and the social and economic gains for any family and any society of mothers as home-makers, home-schoolers, and home-base, the feminist movement did for white women what prisons do for black fathers — took them out. We all lost.

Physically the book is comprised of 46 pages of text, the manifesto, followed by 26 pages of inspirational quotes, every single one on point and valuable. At the very end are two pages listing eleven web sites for further learning. So all told, 74 pages — an unpaginated, a minor annoyance I hope the author will correct immediately. Lacking pagination is a flaw that prevents ease of discussion by parents who wish to share observations.

The language and presentation is as good as could be. This is not a lecturing, patronizing, or critical book as much as a sharing of perspective book. It makes an ideal gift for first-time parents. It makes an ideal gift for parents who have a child in school and are worried about the school telling them their child has attention deficit disorder — it is the school that is out of order, not the child.

All told, a tremendous read that I also recommend to any adult who still has an open mind and would like to consider flushing our entire system down the toilet — every institution in the West has been corrupted to the bone — in the USA specifically, we are on the verge of a revolution that might or might not terminate the two-party tyranny that fronts from Wall Street and Texas oil interests.

Here are ten other books I recommend. Many more are visible at Phi Beta Iota Public Intelligence Blog [Education (General) (151) Education (Universities) (60)].
The Monk and the Riddle: The Art of Creating a Life While Making a Living
The Extreme Searcher's Internet Handbook: A Guide for the Serious Searcher
Weapons of Mass Instruction: A Schoolteacher's Journey Through the Dark World of Compulsory Schooling
Philosophy and the Social Problem: The Annotated Edition
The Lessons of History by Durant, Will published by Simon & Schuster Hardcover
Ideas and Integrities: A Spontaneous Autobiographical Disclosure
Homeland Earth : A Manifesto for the New Millennium (Advances in Systems Theory, Complexity and the Human Sciences)
Seven Complex Lessons in Education for the Future (Education on the Move)
Empowering Public Wisdom: A Practical Vision of Citizen-Led Politics (Manifesto Series)
God and Science: Coming Full Circle?

Best wishes to all,
Robert Steele
INTELLIGENCE for EARTH: Clarity, Diversity, Integrity & Sustainability

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