What do you believe about education? Your educational beliefs have a tremendous impact on your children. As parents, it is vital that you understand your own beliefs about education and how your beliefs impact your children.
When you are conscious of your beliefs about education, then you have a choice to continue believing as you do or to reconsider all that you have previously believed to be true. You can choose to keep your current belief system, but you can also choose a new way of thinking about education.
Around the world, people have been socialized to equate education with school, but this article is designed to challenge the ideas that society has adopted. The purpose of this article, video, and podcast episode is to help you decide what you believe about education. p.s. You’ll find this article helpful even if you don’t homeschool your kids.
Questions About Education
To examine your beliefs about education, take some time to answer the following questions.
- What is education?
- Why do we educate our kids?
- Where does education take place?
- When should education happen?
- How should you educate your kids?
- Who tells us how to be educated?
It’s time to examine what you believe about education and why you believe it. In addition, consider who tells us how we should educate our children and your thoughts about this. As parents, we need to consider how society influences our beliefs and the impact our educational beliefs have on children.
Listen to the HomeSchool ThinkTank Parenting Podcast
Hi! My name is Jackie, and I host the HomeSchool ThinkTank Parenting Podcast. My podcast is listened to by parents around the world. Join me for two weekly episodes.
- Mindset Mondays: Tune in for the inspiration homeschooling parents need.
- Wednesday Wisdom: Get helpful information about homeschooling, parenting, and education.
Podcast Episodes: Beliefs About Education
- Unpacking Your Educational Beliefs
- Educational Opportunities are Everywhere
- How Your Beliefs About Education, School, and Learning Impact How You Raise and Educate Your Children
My Education Story
In case you missed it, my name is Jackie, and I’m the founder of HomeSchool ThinkTank. We’re going to visit about what you believe about education, but first, I want to share a little about my story and how it has impacted my own beliefs about education.
Like most people, I went to public school. For the most part, I was an A/B student. I’m not sharing this to brag but to shed light on my own belief system and how it has changed over the years.
In this article, I will illustrate two points about education.
- Being a good student isn’t always a good thing.
- School and education are not equivalent.
Educated for More Education: On to College
Upon finishing high school, I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up. However, I did what good students do and went to college. While I did well in my classes, I floundered through nearly six years of college.
I didn’t recognize my own strengths or how to use them. So, while I may have excelled at studying and getting good grades, I didn’t have a true sense of purpose in my life. I was simply doing what the education system had trained me to do: I was going to school to earn a college degree.
When I did choose a path, I can’t say that I chose a natural path for myself. Have you ever done something and done it well, but you just knew it wasn’t what you were meant to do? That was me.
I earned my Bachelor of Science in Physical Education, and am licensed to teach children in grades K-12. While I was a good physical education teacher, I can assure you that I was not born to be a P.E. teacher. Being a physical education teacher was certainly not the purpose of my life.
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Your Beliefs About Education
My Education: Was It Worth 20 Years In School?
How is it that I could go to public school for 13 years and leave without any real idea about what I wanted out of life?
Following high school, I pursued a college degree. Why? Because that’s what good students do. I accumulated tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt while pursuing an education I wasn’t even passionate about.
When I attended college, I can assure you that I was not thinking about my life. I was simply following a comfortable path. Going to school was all I knew and what I was most comfortable with. I had been well-trained to be a good consumer of “education.”
In all, I spent nearly 20 years as a student without a purpose. Well, I suppose my purpose was to get good grades. But do good grades even matter?
What Do You Believe About Education?
Is education about getting good grades? What does it mean when you get good grades?
Perhaps it shows that you’ve learned the material that others have deemed important. Maybe it illustrates your interest in a subject matter. It can show that you have a natural ability to excel in an area or that you study diligently.
But here’s what I wonder. Is it good to get good grades?
To get good grades, you must be good at waiting, sitting still, and taking orders from others. You must be very good at listening and regurgitating facts and opinions back to your teachers. To complete homework, you must put your own interests aside to complete the work you didn’t do in the time you were at school.
Is this a good thing? I’m not so sure.
Questioning the Public Education System
After completing my college education and getting my teaching license, I eventually landed a job as a physical education teacher in a local elementary school. I loved my job and enjoyed teaching physical education to kids.
However, the year I was pregnant with my oldest child, I started to view the school system differently than I ever had before.
While teaching at a public school, I began noticing things that bothered me.
- Children line up for every little thing.
- How kids had to ask permission to do the most basic things: eat, speak, go to the bathroom.
- The way children waited to be told what to do.
- How the words I said were unquestioned.
- The time children spend in school.
I questioned the entire public education system. Before I gave birth to my first child, I knew that I would likely homeschool her. As I witnessed the public education system through a mother’s eyes, I knew this wasn’t what I wanted for my child.
For the first time in my life, I had a purpose. My purpose was to raise a child who would think for herself.
The Book that Every Parent and Educator Should Read
As years passed by and I continued to homeschool my children, I became aware of how very well I had been schooled. I had been well-trained to listen to others, follow directions, and not think for myself. In fact, I have become exceptionally aware of how our society is schooled through the public education system.
I don’t believe that schooling and education are the same. I believe they are quite different.
- Education is about a person’s desire and willingness to learn about topics and ideas. As a learner, you can pursue education anywhere, anytime, and in many different ways.
- Schooling is about teaching another person topics and ideas that others have determined are essential. As a school student, you are told when, where, and what to learn.
My time as a public school teacher was invaluable. It allowed me to see the system from the inside out. I have now been a homeschooling mom for more than 15 years. Each passing year has allowed me to see more clearly how our society is indoctrinated through the public education system.
When I read the late John Taylor Gatto’s book, Dumbing Us Down, I was astounded as he put into words so much of what I have come to see as a truth. I suggest that every parent and educator read this book.
Does My Education Story Sound Like Yours?
When I had a great teacher or read a great book, I really loved learning. However, between the end of my college years and when I founded HomeSchool ThinkTank, I didn’t learn a lot. I’ve asked myself, “Why?”
- Why was it that, after college, I rarely pursued education with intention and on my own?
- How could I love learning at school and have high expectations for myself, but then discontinue my education as soon as the semester ended?
- Why did it take me years to pick up a book after finishing college?
Here’s my answer. I believe that the process of schooling trains people to wait to be told what to learn and when to learn. As soon as my schooling was over, I simply stopped pursuing educational goals. Ultimately, I had not developed my own system for pursuing education.
Can you relate to this? I don’t think I’m alone. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Views About Education: The Pitfalls of Becoming a Good Student
In many ways, good students are the compliant students who learn to silence their own curiosity and wait for others to tell them what and when to learn. Like many students of the public education system, I had learned to value other people’s opinions above my own. Being a good student was important to me, and I jumped for the A at every opportunity.
Today, I look within to validate myself. While I appreciate a compliment and seek the counsel of others, I ultimately do what I believe is right and value my own opinion most. This is a lesson that I continue to teach my own children.
Childhood is Not About Becoming a Good Student
I believe that much of childhood is about learning. However, childhood is not about learning to become a good student.
As homeschoolers, we have an advantage. You can educate your children from home, where they can be free from the confines that our public school system places on children and families. I encourage you to utilize your freedom and remember that schooling and education are different.
Discover the best ways to approach your child’s education.
What You Believe About Education, Learning, School, & Homeschooling
Consider how life experience influences your core beliefs about education.
- Immediate and extended family
- Other people in your life
- Your culture
- Where you live, work, and spend time
- Your financial situations throughout your lifetime
- The way you were educated or schooled
Your implicit beliefs about education are also based on your own results and those of the people around you.
For example, you may know someone who dropped out of high school but is wealthy. On the other hand, you may know someone who went to college but is saddled with student loan debt.
Contrary to these examples, you may know someone who dropped out of high school that is poor and another person who went to college that is wealthy. These associations can impact your beliefs about education.
Questions About Your Educational Beliefs
Without critical thinking, people do not usually consider the differences between education, school, learning, teaching, and homeschooling. However, when you examine your belief system about these concepts, then you have the ability to make a conscious choice about how to educate your children.
While it is a common belief that school and education are equivalent, at HomeSchool ThinkTank, we see vast differences between schooling and educating a child. As you ask yourself the following questions, consider how education is different from school.
- What is education?
- Why do we educate children?
- What is the purpose of education?
- Why do we educate children as we do?
- What is the purpose of an educational system?
- How is education different from schooling?
- What does education look like?
- How do people from different cultures educate their children?
- What does an educational learning environment look like?
- Should education be compulsory?
- Where did education take place in the past? Think broadly: last year, 5 years ago, 50 years ago, 100 years ago, 500 years ago, 1000 years ago.
- How were children educated during the pandemic?
- Where could education take place?
- Is the public education system effective?
- When should education happen?
- Who tells us how to be educated?
- Do parents need to be told how to educate their children?
What About Education?
Your opinion matters!
We’d love to hear what you have to say about education.
Share in the comments below!
Important Education Questions to Consider
- How can you consider your children’s individual differences in your approach to education?
- Who tells parents how to educate their children?
- How is education different for children and adults?
- Does education need to be systematized?
- How do you and your children learn best?
- What impact does your past have on your educational beliefs?
- How do your projections of the future influence your beliefs about education?
- Where do you think your beliefs about education come from?
- How does your belief system impact who you are today?
- What impact do your beliefs about education have on your children?
- Do you think you can change what you believe about education?
When you are conscious of your belief system around education, then you have a choice to continue believing as you do or to reconsider all that you have previously believed to be true. You can choose to keep your current belief system, but you can also choose a new way of thinking about education.
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