Doing School at Home: Indoctrination vs. Transformation into Authentic Learning

This entry was a Facebook post I made in response to The Residential School System, published by Indigenous Foundations ( I decided to publish it as a blog post.
Pupils at Carlisle Indian Industrial School, Pennsylvania (c. 1900), Source: (Public Domain, Unknown Source)

Indoctrination Centers. I want to assert that in my small, isolated community, it isn’t easy for a school system to indoctrinate. Everyone knows everyone else, here. Any child who sees Sean hanging with their own schooled friends knows immediately he doesn’t attend their school.

But, there are general components of the Residential system (a model not limited to Canada) that are so ingrained in the foundational structure of conventional schooling that they aren’t questioned.

We’ve inherited a paradigm over centuries that fails in too many ways. Doing school online from home is not homeschooling, as I see it. For starters, the premise is less a choice and more a requirement. The paradigms are different.

Homeschooling is an opportunity to follow a natural rhythm and a more autonomous and individual path to fulfill the promise of ones sovereign purpose(s). What that purpose is cannot be predetermined by a cohort system designed to homogenize and standardize.

Conventional schooling takes us too far away from ourselves, and we spend lifetimes trying to peel back the layers to find out who it is we were meant to become in the first pace. But parents are also indoctrinated from their own upbringings and experiences in the system, so the system does not seem like an anomaly to most – instead, breaking free of the system appears risky and irresponsible to many.

Homeschooling is not the only answer. There are democratic schools, micro schools, collaborative centers, and model alternative and self-directed learning centers. And there is the opportunity now to create transformational change. There are leaders, too. They are parents and families, life coaches, Ivy League graduates, PhDs, child development specialists, psychologists, entrepreneurs, doctors, lawyers, artists, organizers, teachers, planners, builders, and the list is endless – they are exactly the same as any one of us. Ironically, indigenous cultures have historically been the most attuned to the whole life path against which we’ve all been impeded by intrusive indoctrination of some measure.

Children born in our exponential era are going to have issues, unhappiness, and anxiety being coerced into patterns designed centuries back for expediency.

Transformation can rarely happen within such structures without extreme cost, usually damage to self. Children spilling out into the world from this paradigm are often confused, lost, depressed, and unsure – unless they have experienced the access and facilitation of privilege within the system. The cream of the crop even find that they aren’t as steady in their footing as they leave school compared to what they once experienced within the box.

Now, the world they face looks nothing like the world they spent their entire childhoods preparing for.

The structure they’ve known changed without warning in March.

The system has not really allowed for any decompression.

What happens to a deep sea diver when surfacing without decompression? For those leaving school to homeschool, this is called deschooling (deprogramming) and can take months to a year. Without it, kids and entire families are experiencing the bends.

“European settlers in Canada brought with them the assumption that their own civilization was the pinnacle of human achievement. They interpreted the socio-cultural differences between themselves and the Aboriginal peoples as proof that Canada’s first inhabitants were ignorant, savage, and—like children—in need of guidance. They felt the need to ‘civilize’ the Aboriginal peoples. Education—a federal responsibility—became the primary means to this end.”

We have to question. We cannot fear and judge the questioning. We must not be complacent when we have the opportunity to flip the paradigm and change the world as we know it.

If creating this change seems daunting, I agree! But I made a choice 12 years ago to do things differently with one child. That led to connection in many directions, until I’d constructed a pathway by participating in a new paradigm. It takes knowing the thing rejected to appreciate the thing accepted, I tend to muse.

True change begins within and spirals out. We have the capacity to lead our own children in connection and allow them to show us what it is they desire to become in the world. It should be their choice to wander freely in their life learning while we facilitate their health and safety – whether that is within a flexible/compassionate/supportive system, or at home. In doing this, they will learn everything they need to know in order to do the next thing.

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