The Purpose of Education

Part 4 - Homeschool Education

This is part four - the purpose of education - of Paula Cleary's article about homeschool education and looking at education myths.

purpose of education

4. The chief purpose of education is to prepare children for the world of work.

We all need to put our bread and butter on the table. Fact.

But surely there is more to life than that? How about preparing children for LIFE, in all it's facets. For being a thinking, feeling human being. For living with purpose, rather than just climbing some career ladder, obsessing about making more and more money/obtaining more and more material things. How about an education that makes you feel good about yourself, for just being you, unique and wonderful as you are. With all your quirks and imperfections. How about raising young men to be excellent fathers, neighbours, lovers? To be compassionate, honourable men? Or raising women to be loving friends, wives, and mothers? Is that not the stuff of life really? Surely character is more important than whether you got an A or a B in some subject or another, whether you got accepted into this university or that?

What is the point of all this education if at the end of it all, you have a fantastic, admirable CV and yet, you feel somehow adrift? Qualifications, degrees etc... are all very well, but what if during all those years of study you have left an important piece of your dreams or yourself behind?

The real purpose of education.

I think the purpose of education should surely be about raising kids who feel good about themselves, who feel empowered to try new things, who feel confident that they can do whatever they want if they want it badly enough (with or without lots of qualifications accordingly). Kids who grow up into responsible, balanced adults who know how to live well, work hard for the pleasure of it, enjoy themselves and their families wholeheartedly, respect the environment, and live life to the full, regardless of how much they are earning/whether their furniture came from Ikea or John Lewis.

We are raising kids who will grow up to be the mothers and fathers of tomorrow's children. What kind of legacy are we leaving them? The schools are churning out a lot of stressed, disempowered, young people who are emotionally unready to cope with all aspects of life.........they are full of facts and figures, prejudices, pride at having being in the top stream, apathy at having been in the middle stream or shame at being in the bottom one. A lot of kids feel like failures before they have even begun. For all their learning, are they happy, well balanced, ready to try anything, still hungry to learn?

I hope my children never lose their hunger to learn, their lust for life, their sense of awe at just how amazing our planet is. I hope they never become apathetic, mindless robot workers, who just plod on, never questioning, just obeying orders even if they are ridiculous, petty or downright insane. I want my kids to carve out their own future, in which they feel in control of their own destinies and ready for anything. I want them to be happy above all else, and bring joy and meaning to others in their lives too. Surely that is what education should really be about?

Reprinted with the kind permission of Paula Cleary

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