Independent learning vs formal education (a shorty)

Yes,  my mind is still on this topic. 😉

I am well aware that I have a list to get through, but this blog does centre on our life as a homeschooling family, so bear with me.

I’m thirty-five years old, and have seven children ages 14 and under. I have a husband who is not getting any younger. I co-own a decent-sized piece of property in a lovely area, upon which a beautiful and unique home rests. I do not have a degree or post-secondary diploma in ANYTHING. I never finished nursing school.

For the longest time, the plan was to go back to school and complete my education as soon as I possibly could. Just because. I even began taking the steps to do it a couple of years ago, and the toll on my family was a bit much.

I view life a little differently these days. I have what so many people aim to have AFTER getting their education, becoming settled in their chosen profession, paying off the debt incurred during the acquisition of that education… OK, maybe they don’t want seven children, but most do want a couple. But I am not tied into anything. I don’t feel like I HAVE to stay in a job or profession because I have spent all that time and money studying in that area. I don’t base my life on my job. And yet I have not ceased to learn or absorb subjects and grow as a human being since the day I stepped out of school.

Perhaps because I don’t have a degree (or two), I don’t tend to look at a person’s source of income as their main identity as a human being. We do that in our culture. “This is John. He’s a mechanic/doctor/engineer/waiter” , as though that tells us anything about who he truly is as a person and whether or not his company is pleasurable to be around or he will prove himself to be a reliable and interesting friend in the future.

This post is not a knocking of college and university, so please do not feel defensive as you are reading my words. I am simply expressing the effect that my shift in perspective is having on my own life, and how free I have come to feel because of it. It is…  joyous. The freedom to take on contracts or jobs that open doors to learn entire new subjects because I do not have to align my choices with what I have spent a few years of my life and tens of thousands of dollars studying.  The thrill of learning because I am interested and passionate.

I love this. I hope that if my children do pursue a formal post-secondary education in any form, that it is done because they sincerely desire to do so. I hope that it is a benefit and not a burden to their lives afterward. And I hope that even if they do spend years in school and tens of thousands of dollars acquiring that piece of paper, that they will still be true enough to themselves to completely shift their lives in a different direction if that is what their core being ever tells them it is time to do. Even–especially–if it is something insane and wild, such as selling all of their possessions and moving to Uruguay. Or Kenya.  Or just Newfoundland…

I hope that as I am living life these days, they too will do so in the future…

9 thoughts on “Independent learning vs formal education (a shorty)

  1. your profession, not your job, does say something about who you are. I ama teacher, as are all parents, but I chose to be a teacher and help children develop their skills and build knowledge. It is something I am proud of and love. Just as I love being a mother and wife, daughter, etc. It is part of who I am, not the amount of money I make. It really isnt any different than how you have chosen to live your life. It is a choice, a part of life.

    1. I do agree that one’s profession/job (I see both as the same) will indicate some things about a person, but what I was getting at was it does nothing to indicate what a person’s character is like.

      There are (unfortunately) teachers out there who should not be teachers, as they do not actually enjoy children/teens. There are nurses who are as cold as ice. There are people with PhD’s who can not bring themselves to throw a toonie into a homeless person’s tin. Know what I mean? This is what I meant: that whether you are a teacher, chef, salesperson, welder is ultimately irrelevant to whether you will choose to be a (at the risk of sounding religious here) blessing to those who surround you or not. Whatever vocation one chooses can indeed be a tool used to better the lives of those around them, or… they can choose not to use that tool. But it ultimately depends on who that person is *at the core*. I know that you love your students, no question there.

      You are someone who would likely bring good to whatever profession you chose. 🙂

  2. I hope your kiddie CHOOSE to LIVE their lives and follow their passions as much as mine, it is a beautiful and natural way to live. This blog is very balanced and yet you share your point of view precisely. Great writing Jo!

    1. Thank you, Dar. That is kind of you to say. My intention is never to offend, and I try not to be completely one-sided. We have a blend here, of kids in school who excel there, and kids at home to whom school’s only purpose would be to clip their wings. I think that helps me be a little more open-minded than I used to be.

      I think it is always important to explore all sides of things, because… life will be different for everyone, right?

      Nice to know my “Sis” is reading my ramblings LOL… 😉

  3. Reblogged this on homeschoolingmiddleeast and commented:
    I really liked this post. I like the way Jo feels free to take on different jobs because her education hasn’t pigeon-holed her. There’s nothing worse than being very good at a job you don’t like to do – or having to do a job you don’t like because it’s been a long and expensive route to get there. I know lots of people in this situation. Very interesting. Thanks, Jo!

  4. I spent years in college studying accounting and finance. What I found after six years, I am not in the least passionate about it. The last year or so I have given up my full time accounting job, started staying at home and have been searching my passion. I have actually figured out that I have an artist underneath that level headed logical accountant stick in the mud. I had just never explored that side of me because I never really had the freedom to do so. I agree a job title or schooling is never a good a determination on one’s character.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Angela. I enjoyed your comment. I hope you enjoy developing and getting to know your artistic side a little more. It is interesting to discover things about ourselves that we never knew were there. 🙂

  5. I love that you write about independent learning versus traditional education without a critical voice. I am a homeschooling mom as well and we practice child-led learning. I believe in this path quite strongly but find it so disheartening when I read articles of moms attacking the school system with anger. So thank you for putting what many of us think but are unable to express. I love your tone!

    I found it difficult to drop my career to pursue something that makes no money. It took a while for my husband to come around but he is beside me now. Supporting me so I can write and research. Maybe someday I will make some money. In the meantime I am enjoying hearing stories, writing and researching.

    Thanks for the post.

    1. Thank you for the kind words. I’m glad to hear that I am not coming across in a harsh or belittling way (it is a fear of mine at times when I post). Glad you are enjoying your journey.

      My apologies in the delay in response. We have been away visiting family in QC for a while and have just come back to the “sandbar” (PEI).

      I look forward to checking out your blog! 🙂

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