This page is reserved for the voices of the students of The Patchwork School. Listen to what Patchwork is to them...
Wrtitten, Performed & Edited by Patchwork Students
Anthony Raper & Netzach Ish-Shalom, December 2013
Why I Should Not Go & What We Can Do About It
A paper written by Netzach Ish-Shalom, a 6th grade student on why he should transition from public school to Patchwork, January 2014
For decades, the public school system has been the way that our children have been educated. In the eyes of a typical adult, this system has been ideal. I'm here to prove that the way our children are being educated, is unnecessary and time-consuming. If this paper was read to the vast population of conventionalized parents, children and educators, they would say, "shouldn't you have known that the conventional schooling method is good for you? You are wasting schooltime right now!" Well, not so fast. Let's take a tour through history.
Ever since our mass modern era came along, we, as a human species valued freedom and fun. We are going to talk a bit more about freedom later on, but for now let's focus on fun. Fun is something we lack as children in the typical school system. Eight hours (including homework) doesn't give us enough spare time to sustain our needs for fun. I know that you may think school is more important, but as I said I'm here to prove you wrong.
The school system in Finland is something to think about. Every child has 1 1/2 hours of recess and no homework. Believe it or not, Finland is on the top five list of countries of the best grades. Earlier I mentioned something about fun. Well, what do you have to say about mixing fun with learning? The big truth is, is that learning is fun. let me say that again, learning is fun! I love to learn, so does every other human being. If your child that hates conventional schooling, that is not the right thing for them. You may question why say this, but considering that the school is a long-term system, the child has no option at all. Why do it if you're going to have a miserable childhood. But, if your child likes the system (rarely), the they can stay with the system. Each person is different. Conventional schooling doesn't accommodate those needs. For example, in a public-school each person is expected to be the same. There is one designated lunchtime everyone is expected to crave food in that half an hour. Also, uniforms. These depressing costumes give the idea that everyone is the same. Aside from that, it helps educators and supervisors brains stay somewhat "normal"so it seems like they're yelling at identical robots.
As I promised, I would talk more about what I mean by free. Now, I'm not criticizing the government in anyway as I continue. As you know, the government made it a law that every citizen under the age of 18 must attend some form of school. Of course, this is another big issue. If you don't want your child to participate in any form of schooling, they don't have an option whatsoever. Now, I'm not telling you that school is bad. All this talk comes down to one thing: Alternative school methods.
As we continue our journey through time, let's stop in 1952, where we meet John Holt. A former veteran, John Holt moved to Colorado to teach fifth grade. He learned a lot from comparing one and two-year-olds to 10 and 11-year-olds. The older children of course hated school and were possessed by the learning method. As opposed to the younger ones, he says they have a natural instincts to go on "bold adventures". He finally realized that fifth-graders hated school because of fear. Fear of the assignments being overdue, of the teachers getting mad and of The Bullys. All sorts of other things too.
My personal experience has been similar to these 5th graders. My experience with public school. I have trouble learning in an environment filled with stressful things on my mind constantly. This is another reason why public school isn't a priority for my learning experience. These which include, the constant stress of certain assignments that continue to be on my mind. Even after I waste my break time to do an assignment, there's always another one that I either have late or I haven't done yet. It never ever stops. Even though I tried to do my best with my assignments, the teachers tend to get mad when I don't get something turned in. Why should they get mad when I try my best.
Another reason that the kids hated school, was because of the insisting for them to learn something they aren't necessarily interested in. This is why Holt came up with the schooling method, "unschooling". This alternative schooling method focuses on freedom and fun (remember those?). The child plays and learns from their experience. For older users of the method, (me), you will learn from what they like. For example let's say I like trains. Well, you set up a project relating to trains. You could write a paper, make a poster, put on a play, there are endless ways to learn with this wonderful method.
Moving on now to me. I take it that you want this unschooling method to be proved that it is right for me personally. As you know, I have some learning disorders. In the conventional schooling style, it is hard for these accommodations to be met. They can be met, but not to their fullest. The unschooling method is the perfect representation of what I need. In the traditional school system, it is strange for the kids to have extra time on a test. Now, in unschooling, there are no tests. Anyone with my special needs can be perfectly adjustable considering the curriculum is made by me.
Another thing you know about me, is that my elementary school was a small one. Going from nonconventional style, all the way in the full-blown conventional humbo-jumbo is too much for me. Every day when I get to my depressing public-school, I noticed how careless the environment is. Dumb kids with their pants so low you can see their ugly butts. They group, like a herd of elephants. The walls, fake ceramic brick arranged in the most hideous manner compliment the contaminated water fountains. The question is, how are kids supposed to learn in this re-pungent environment? I walked into the school building every morning, and see this disturbing atmosphere, I question myself. "How my supposed to learn here?" This careless environment does not support my learning needs."You may ask a question along the lines of, "but I thought you said that the choice program is supposed to make accommodations?" Yes they can. But, in the overall spectrum, I can truly learn and have fun with my childhood with these alternative methods. After all, true learning is what childhood is all about.
Me writing this paper helps show my responsibility in the situation. I am playing my part in this scenario, and I expect you to play yours. There is only so much I can do. From this point on, it is your responsibility to do what's right. I hope we can move forward on this. In all due respect, thank you.
I love the art studio. I love playing in the sandbox and climbing trees. I love the new friends I have made at Patchwork. You can do whatever you want at school. I wish I could go to school every day!