Thirteen year old Logan LaPlante doesn't go to school. Technically, he homeschools but he and his family go about it in a different way than most homeschooling families. He calls his self-developed education "hackschooling" and many other families are doing the same thing. In this Tedx video, Logan demonstrates how schools today are designed for assembly line education, not for freedom, individualism, or happiness. Logan, however, chooses what he learns based on what he likes. He has found a way to get educated and be happy at the same time.
We've talked about unschooling, (life learning, natural learning) here before, but to hear it from the mouth of a child, and with so much passion, intelligence, and inspiration is a whole different experience. There is a ton of information out there about alternative schooling and self directed learning but most of it is geared more towards parents. One of my first thoughts after hearing Logan's talk is that maybe this viral video will appeal to kids also and inspire them to take control of their education even if they attend mainstream schools. As Logan demonstrates, there are so many ways to learn besides in a classroom and when you're learning about what you love, it's so much easier.
What about the average kids in school though? Happiness and fulfilling one's dreams and passions are not made a priority, and many children are brought up thinking that there are many things that need to come before happiness. As Logan says, we are taught that "making a living is more important than making a life." You need to go to school, get a reasonable job, get married, have kids. That's just the way, it doesn't matter whether it makes you happy or not. But what if this wasn't the case? What if we raised our children to believe in themselves and gave them the power to take control of their lives? Of course many people think it would be chaos, that kids would never do anything productive. But unschooling is becoming more popular and is proving to help develop smart, free thinking, and creative people.
What needs to change to allow children to be happy as kids and when they grow up? Logan's ideas are based upon the Eight "Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes" by Dr. Rodger Walsh.
- Diet and Nutrition
- Time in Nature
- Contribution and Service
- Relaxation and Stress Management
- Religious and Spiritual
Are schools today meeting all these needs? I'd say most schools meet almost none! That's really saying something for our kids today who are spending more than half of their waking hours in school. Something has to change in our school systems because not everyone can or wants to homeschool. Obviously changing the whole school system and the mindset of our country is going to take some time, but with more amazing people like Logan, I think someday we will get there.
I'm also a firm believer that happiness and good self esteem starts at home, before birth even. Attending to our children's needs as babies by babywearing, feeding on demand, and co-sleeping are just a few ways to help our kids keep the sense of importance that they're born with. Don't be afraid to say yes when you can. Life will give kids plenty of real lessons, so help them learn how to get what they really want. I think that by raising self confident young children who know how to pursue their dreams and believe in themselves we are making a better future of happy, healthy adults.