Some of the most damaging propaganda we hear is the incessant campaign claiming that, if children miss out on early education, they will be doomed losers for life. Our political class keeps pushing that message to get our children boxed in the institution of public school at a younger age. I’ve written about it here, here, and especially here (and probably other places).
I was reminded of this issue when I saw the headline on the Today Show website: “Gold medalist Jamie Anderson’s mom: I didn’t push my kids ‘to read and write’”
I’m amazed they printed that headline!
What does it take to raise an Olympian? In the case of Jamie Anderson, 23, the first woman to win gold in slopestyle snowboarding, her mom took an unconventional approach: there was no TV, no traditional schooling, and a focus on outdoor activities and following one’s spirit.
“I wanted them to be like children, playing outside, running and jumping and not sitting inside at a desk,” said Lauren Anderson, who raised the kids in South Lake Tahoe, Calif. “They got to be free, building their bodies, protecting their spirits and minds, and not being pushed or pressured.”
Lauren home-schooled her eight kids while running a lawn-mowing business on the side. But the emphasis wasn’t on academics.
“They went on the mountain and skied and snowboarded and they took the bus, and then they came home and did schoolwork — just to make it official,” she told TODAY.com during an interview at the P&G Family Home in the Olympic Park. “There wasn’t a big push for them to read and write and do arithmetic. I wanted them to learn how to get along and let life be the teacher. Character-building was more important than academics.”
While Lauren’s approach was criticized by family members who worried that her six daughters and two sons weren’t intellectually stimulated (the grandparents would ask the kids to read out loud to confirm they were literate), she now counts among her kids an Olympic gold medalist and X-Games champions — even though she didn’t exactly want her kids to become athletes.
I’m not sure I am laid back enough to be quite the same kind of homeschooler as Lauren Anderson, but she does show us that shoving all kids into an institutional setting at as young an age as possible isn’t an optimal way of life. Yet that is exactly what our government is constantly promoting. Our entire society acts as if education is normally supposed to happen in a room with rows of desks, where a subject is covered for fifty minutes, and where one is trained to move at the sound of a bell.
Maybe we should allow an Olympian to make us reconsider.
Too bad our ruling regime has set its face against homeschooling.