The art of self-direction is a beautiful thing, and this blog details the importance of developing this within oneself; it also serves as a critique of the current practices of school (including pre-school) and parenting that inhibit the growth of this vital skill.
There is much in the reserach about the benefits of pre-school, but these benefits are generally for kids who come from low-SES families; parents are not around (due to work or other factors) to stimulate their kids with trips to museums, zoos, or other activities that middle-class parents have the luxury of affording. Indeed, some of these activities disappear for all kids when they enter their surly teenage years, but the foundation for learning is often laid by parents who are involved, in both hands-on and hands-off ways.
From the blog,
" Whereas in school I was every day directed by adults to where I should come to learn, what to learn when I got there, when I should learn it, how and from whom; outside school I would set out on most journeys from my house at my own direction as to where, when, how, and to see whom. Both of these scenarios are part of adult life, but we usually enter into the former, and continue to abide by its strictures, at our own direction."
" In contrast to the captivating immersion of the real-world activities...school seemed more and more like a daily grind, with interesting stuff occasionally but increasing time spent on curriculum that felt boring and pointless given my emerging self-directed developmental path forward."
The entire blog is a bit long, but the journey of the author is an interesting one that mirrors some of the kids who leave school, not because of outside factors but because of school itself (I fall into the latter category). How do we engage those kids who see nothing in school for them? And what do we do about the fact that sometimes there really is nothing there for them?