Watch this TED Talk.
Hackschooling. This is a phrase used by Logan LaPlante, a thirteen year-old boy who is is homeschooled and participates in what he likes to call hackschooling.
The main point of the talk is the interesting idea that schools are not teaching students how to be happy aka how to live a well-rounded life through exercise, building healthy relationships, recreation, time in nature, relaxation and stress management, contribution and service, and spiritual growth.
I had never thought about this before and it is certainly an ideal that I would take into consideration when running a school. Why aren’t we teaching our children how to build healthy relationships? Talking more openly in schools about bullying, and time management? These are things that have slipped through the cracks and students just have to learn on their own or be taught at home. But why? What is the goal of having a public education? I would argue that it is to build moral well-rounded and informed citizens, but is that what the education system is doing at the moment? Or it is looking at children as a number game. Good test scores are just an end game for the public school system. If students are succeeding on tests then we are doing our job. I do not think that this is good enough.
Now Logan is obviously an ideal. Not every kid is fortunate enough to have the opportunity to stay at home and have very involved parents in their educational experience. And who is to say that this homeschool method is the best? Yes real world experiences are happening, but at the end of the day to get into a good university and pass the SAT you must have a certain skill set in mathematics and reading comprehension.
By looking at these two extremes we need to realize that schooling needs to have a balance. We need to build into the curriculum time for students to go outside, to play sports, to be creative, and to have longstanding healthy relationships. We need to give them the opportunities to go into the real world and see what jobs look like. If a student wants to become a doctor there should be resources available for that student to see what being a doctor is like. This does not necessarily mean policy, but it means having someone there ready to listen to a students needs and be able to guide them to the correct path. We need the people closest to the students, teachers and administrators to realize that they are the ones making the actual difference and we need policymakers to understand that weighing these people down with unnecessary restrictions and unrealistic ideals is not helping anyone.
It is good to build students into real people.
It is good to try to have an understanding of the students needs, not only as an academic, but also as a social beings.
It is good to create opportunities for students to be successful inside and outside of the classroom.
It is good to explore different ideals of a system to make it better.
It is good to recognize an education ideal.