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On the Wildness of Children (carolblack.org)
137 points by cardamomo 480 days ago | hide | past | web | 81 comments | favorite



The parts on an open-mind always learning remind me of my childhood as a "homeschooler" and recent college experiences. While we spent plenty of time with the books, my mother emphasized the joy of learning when I was a child. Despite few tests and no grades, my brother and I scored above average on our year-end state tests. Such scores aren't a testament to our intelligence but instead the result of allowing a child's mind to absorb its environment as a process of life. When I entered college, I was astonished at how students viewed learning. It was a chore, a separate part of life they were obligated to endure. The vast majority of my peers and later students I taught simply couldn't learn on their own. They couldn't read the book and learn. To me, learning is enjoyable, a life-long process I will continue to old age.


I had a similar experience, but many homeschooling parents just re-invent the drudgery and blinkers of the stereotypical school. You and I are fortunate that our mothers emphasized the joy of learning.


This seems to support the author's point that adults have forgotten about "wildness" and non-hierarchical, non-institutional ways to learn. Without a concerted effort to the contrary, adults tend to teach the way they were taught.


I'd be curious to know what leads you to believe that, "many homeschooling parents just re-invent the drudgery and blinkers of the stereotypical school"?

Most homeschooling parents I know, homeschool for precisely the opposite reasons.


My wife's mother used very traditional textbooks and schedules. Even with that constraint, my wife probably spent far more time outdoors than most kids.


We are very fortunate. People get into home-schooling for various reasons that sometimes lack an excellent educational experience.


Any ideas on how to scale your mother's approach? I think you might be under-stating (or not have realized it) how much structure or guidance she may have provided you.


I could learn on my own, but I had a god awful time in classes that demanded attendance or primarily used in-class material. I just don't function in that environment. Give me a textbook, maybe a video and some problems to work on.


Agreed...the lecture style with an expensive backup reference (aka textbook) is so wasteful. What one can learn by reading a good text in an hour is at least twice the content as a lecture, in my experience.


Public school kid here. From my experience, the writer is clearly coming from a place of elite Hollywood unreality: http://carolblack.org/about/

Most of the "wildness," or more to the point, "hatefulness" clearly came from the parents. The racism, the homophobia, the Disneyesque self-absorption, the intolerance for anything outside of the present iteration of pop culture and regional sport -- all seeded, fostered, and fed by the family. The kids were barely old enough to even understand any of this stuff, let alone hate someone for it, yet they did!

I doubt that the Thoreau experience is going to have much effect on damage inflicted outside of the classroom, and this is a big thing. It's why we have "good" school districts and "bad" school districts within the same county -- expenditure per pupil is the same, buildings are the same, teachers are mostly the same, but the upbringing is not.


> "I doubt that the Thoreau experience is going to have much effect on damage inflicted outside of the classroom, and this is a big thing. It's why we have "good" school districts and "bad" school districts within the same county -- expenditure per pupil is the same, buildings are the same, teachers are mostly the same, but the upbringing is not."

The author addresses this...

"But the truth is we don’t know how to teach our children about nature because we ourselves were raised in the cinderblock world. We are, in the parlance of wildlife rehabilitators, unreleasable."

We can't teach what we don't already know, the best we can do is give the kind of support that is conducive to self-education. If that support is not being provided at home, then it's worthwhile providing it elsewhere. So in other words, the concept of schools aren't necessarily bad, but the way in which learning takes place at those schools could be improved by greater emphasis on self-discovery.


"Addresses" is probably putting it too strongly. She phrases it as a "how to" problem. It would probably be better phased as a "what not to do" problem.

If you have an active indoctrination of mental bile in the home environment -- especially among society's "losers" who see everything as some other group's fault (blame it on the Mexicans, hipsters, blacks, yuppies, Jews, etc...), and the only thing countering it is some kind of vague free-range schooling, the results will more closely resemble the barbarism of previous centuries.

For every Abraham Lincoln the nineteenth century produced, it produced brigands of no account by the dozens.

Of course if you come from an enlightened family of academics, Hollywood producers, or some other group of high-minded winners with a magnanimous bent, then everything she writes sounds just fine.


The point you're missing is that the "vague free-range schooling" promotes self-reliance, which is exactly what you need to escape a toxic background. Furthermore, it's not completely without structure. Consider the difference in approach between a teacher and a guide, the guide still helps the student find their way but let's them see the answers for themselves, instead of telling them the answers and asking the student to memorise them.

I understand the lack of standardised testing is scary to those who want to measure everything, but in my opinion measurement breeds mediocrity, I don't think we get the best out of ourselves by chasing exam scores.


> The point you're missing is that the "vague free-range schooling" promotes self-reliance, which is exactly what you need to escape a toxic background.

Self-reliance does not make a person civilized. Self-reliance does not make a person fit to coexist peacefully and productively with persons outside of their own familial or tribal group.

> I understand the lack of standardised testing is scary to those who want to measure everything...

I have no beef with the academic angle. From a cost-benefit perspective, it would be hard to do any worse than we already do. My beef is that we have a lot of people who need to be civilized, and that walks in the forest are not up to the task.


> "Self-reliance does not make a person civilized."

Sure it does, because self-directed learning means you are less divorced from the consequences of your mistakes. You become better at interacting with others by doing so, rather than being told what to do without fully appreciating why.

> "My beef is that we have a lot of people who need to be civilized, and that walks in the forest are not up to the task."

That really depends on your definition of civilised. Some behaviour of 'civilised' people is abhorrent compared to the 'noble savages' that the article occasionally alludes to. If our only goal is emotionally-stunted automatons then perhaps you'd have a point, but I'd rather take a walk through a forest with someone who can appreciate the wildness of nature than someone who sees it as unruly chaos that should be straightened out.

As an aside, our notion of what's socially acceptable has shifted over time, it's not a single ideal we have to live up to. I enjoy the contrast Nietzsche made between Apollo and Dionysus in Greek society, I do think there's still room for what they both represented.

http://youtu.be/ldj0RX3CqXA


My definition would be people working together constructively (like townspeople) instead of people working together destructively (like brigands, battalions, thugs, cannibalistic tribesmen, or packs of wild dogs).


Interesting that you use the term 'cannibalistic tribesmen'. Generally 'uncivilised' tribes have a much more cohesive, collaborative society than the townspeople you hold up as your ideal. Perhaps that suggests there are lessons we can learn from them about how to live with others.


I read "cannibalistic" as a qualifier. Destructive tribesmen are those that are cannibalistic. A collaborative tribal society like you describe is not cannibalistic or destructive and would not be included in his list.


You try to spin this as a class issue.

Me, I've went to early post-Soviet schools in small towns. Didn't really have upper class there, neither suppressed minorities - everybody were equally poor.

Yet all the points of parent article resound greatly with my experience. I did experience apathy and unability to focus on material pushed at and thru me, great deal of it.


Not really talking about economic class or money. Some of the most hateful examples came from perfectly comfortable homes.


Sorry to say, but your take on the article reeks of your bias.

Where and how did this become a race/class issue? If the "strangling of inherent wildness" is also a class restricted issue, then I am at a loss to understand what isn't.

Or perhaps, those with an axe to grind will see a grindstone everywhere.


Never attributed uncivilized behavior to a race or a class. I did attribute some uncivilized behavior to "losers". Taking this into race/class/economics is on you.

Let me give you my definition of "loser" by way of comparison.

I know one guy, B, married, college-educated, decent income, lives in a big house in a nice neighborhood. Get him alone, get a few beers in him, and his resentment towards almost every conceivable social, ethnic, religious, or political group (outside of his own) gushes to the surface. B's fundamental problem is that everything he has is insecure. He would have a hard time finding a job that pays as well as the one he has, he doesn't kill it with the ladies, he isn't fit, he's old and looks it, his wife bleeds him dry because cash is the only thing he has that makes him desirable (it sure as hell isn't his personality). I shudder to think of the baggage he has unloaded upon his children.

Know another guy, A, also married (to a hot asian girl half his age), not college educated, spotty income (fixes houses for a living), lives in a modest house in a so-so neighborhood. Get him alone, get a few beers in him, and he is every bit as friendly and agreeable as he is in public, stone-cold sober. He lives simple, keeps fit, has no trouble rounding up another gig if the current one insists that he suck the big one. He's not angry at anyone because he has nothing to really be angry about. This dude is a winner, and unless his wife is a resentful harpy, his children will also be winners.


There are literally dozens of alternative school models throughout the world, and I've done research on a lot of them when I had my kids. What I found was broad and varied. Different results, different opinions from parents and former students, different conclusions from researchers. Both on the positive and negative sides. I never got to make up my mind, and I ended up putting my kids in a public school in a small town where there was only one school per age segment. It's a pretty good public school, probably like a good private school, but there's a difference in that the student body is truly varied. My kids study with the son of the garbage collector and the daughter of the supermarket owner. There is a Waldorf school not too far from here, in a neighboring town, but it's as diverse as a very expensive school with everyone arriving in imported cars can be. So I chose not to put my kids there.

edit: Plus, I'm not too fond of Waldorf's philosophy, and even less of the Anthroposophy's.


Despite how kooky some of his ideas might seem, there is one aspect of Steiner's view that I found particularly insightful (and helpful): that the first period of life, up to when kids really start losing their milk teeth, they are discovering their body, motor skills, their voice, and so on, and in doing so, they are mostly copying the people around them. It's completely experiential, not intellectual.

Both my kids suddenly took flight and became much more interested by themselves in things like reading and arithmetic once their teeth started to really change - not due to pressure from adults. And it's only anecdotal, but this has been borne out many times as I've spent time with other families.

(Also anecdotal!) but when I spend time with adults who grew up in societies where math and literacy is already emphasised at age 3, for example, I find they are completely unable to stop talking :-)


Very insightful, and much less alienating than most articles I've read of a similar nature.

Come to think of it, this was very well written - it had a nice flow to it, building up to some profound observation, and then starting over with some different viewpoint. My only complaint is over those weird "repeat myself in giant text surrounded by quotation marks" things scattered throughout the article, but that seems to have become an acceptable/recommended practice?... (Really, when did this become a thing? I'm really curious on the history of it, but I don't know which term to search for).

I will say that I used to read only nonfiction texts because I enjoy learning about history and the sciences, and these subjects seemed more important than what can be found in fictional stories. But then I began reading more stories, especially slice-of-life type things, and I realized that I was wrong. Reading these stories lends me insight into my own social life - how to be a better friend, etc - and really makes me contemplate which values I want to live by and how I can uphold those in my day to day life.

I liken this to the distinction between classroom schooling and life learning. There's a decent-sized class of subjects that are more effectively taught through experience and self-discovery than via instruction. Interestingly, this class of subjects seems to be the most foundational, as they tend to lend insights into things like what makes an individual feel fulfilled, whereas the subjects taught in school are usually more along the lines of tools (that could potentially be applied to the former). But what use is it to learn a tool if you have no sense of what to apply it to? Engagement increases when a student is seeking knowledge of their own accord, usually to satisfy some goal, curiosity or creative drive - none of which are likely to be conceived within a classroom. Certainly some balance is needed.


It is called a pull quote, and they have been a thing for longer than the internet (from experience). A quick search hasn't yet turned up anything interesting.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pull_quote


Hmmm. It makes sense for magazines, where people tend to flip the pages until something catches their eye. But in online content like this, it seems that once somebody's on your webpage and past the fold, a pull quote might not have a significant impact on whether they read the article or not. And for skimming/previewing, I suspect section headings are comparatively effective. Of course, I have no data to back that up.

For me, they just create stress when I'm reading. I see one of these pull quotes coming and I think "I should just skip this - I know they'll repeat themselves further down, or that this quote will be a repeat of something said earlier, so I should save myself the time and skip it." But then when I try to do that, the thought becomes, "but what if this quote is unique and not just some text copy-pasted from elsewhere? I need to read it, otherwise I might not understand the rest of this section." And of course, I see these pull quotes edging up from the bottom of the screen a few sentences in advance, and so all this thought distracts me and I invariably have to reread the surrounding text because of that.

Hopefully this is something particular to me and pull quotes don't cause others this kind of irrational stress. In any case, thanks for answering my question.


I do the same thing with pull quotes in any medium, not just the internet. I don't like them.


It makes sense when you don't read everything, when you're reading a newspaper or a magazine for example and only read the articles that catch your attention.

I really don't see how it makes sense in the context of a single article though. If I'm already clearly reading an article, a pull quote is only going to distract me.


The reason that's pushed for it in the context of articles on the web is that it breaks up the wall of text, and supposedly people are less likely to stop reading in the middle of an article if there isn't a wall of text.

It's a substitute for images for lazy authors.


I thought it was well written too. One thing though, and that always throws me off is that, while schooling in industrial society is flawed (in those seven generations she alludes too), writers like her immediately idealize the bucolic alternative of hunter gatherer societies, as if there has not been a vast chasm separating the two, either measured in thousands of years (say in Eurasia), or measured by thousands of miles (say, when Thoreau sailed across the Atlantic).

I would expect the children of the prosperous peasants in Breughel's paintings probably got beaten more than our children do now, although they grew up careless and free. Or the children of the proud guilds members in Rembrandts paintings, should we pity them because they were learning their family's trade at a young age? Or the gypsy girls of Renoir, was their childhood not more richer and adventurous then that of those stuffy Parisiens?

The other thing, and it is unclear if this is related to the way children grow up, but tribal societies are generally violent. Raids, rape and murder, constant warring, torture, let's call it terror, is the bedrock of martial societies. How can this not be curbed by stunting these violent impulses from early childhood?

To conclude somewhat pithily. The ship has sailed, our children will never grow up the way we did in some primeval state, not even remotely, mostly because that world is alien to us. Whatever revolution she's alluding too in the end, I cannot imagine it. At most, essays like that are a veiled advertisement of home-schooling, although I do believe the author did set her sights much higher than that.


>Come to think of it, this was very well written - it had a nice flow to it, building up to some profound observation, and then starting over with some different viewpoint.

Also my thoughts. I checked her about page and learned Carol Black is the creator of The Wonder Years with her husband.


TLDR; The modern school was built in accordance with an industrial age mindset; children are raw materials and a school produces a functioning member of/worker for society. However, this institution stifles the child's "wildness" or open-minded learning that allows her/him to connect with the world, and become an eternally curious, more balanced human beings.

I agree with the author's premise that the current (US public) school model is not conducive for a child's future. The school's churns out students so they can be ready for JOBS (or get into a college that will help you get JOBS). It's been easy to fall into that trap with capitalism as the driving force behind everything. Capitalism has been evolving over the centuries, forcing workers into more specific disciplines then ever before (seriously, how many of us have 3 or 4 word job titles?).

However, that isn't to say structure doesn't have it's place. The author didn't to a good job of drawing some sort of line where structure is needed. A line is helpful here. That line should look like what we want our schools to ultimately achieve for our children and society. Are we a society of workers? Or do we want to be something else?


Living in any society automatically means you have to curtail your 'wildness'. Its 'society-tax'.

The way you define yourself(eg: family man, software engineer ect) is definition of your relationship with the society. And anything that is defined is not 'wild'.


This is precisely the myth of our culture that the article is trying to debunk.

Instead of considering "wildness" as the observable actions of an individual (in our culture generally equated with "out of line"), consider "wildness" as the state-of-mind -- or the embodied, subjective experience of an individual -- in which that individual experiences themselves as a completely sovereign individual enmeshed in a web of relationships with other completely sovereign individuals.

There are many such wild humans living in our society even now. If you're looking for the guy running through the city in loincloth beating his chest and grunting gutturally, you won't find them.

You will find them if you look for people walking through the world almost like everyone else, except their eyes sparkle like the stars.

--------

And regarding your second point about having a role meaning that something is not wild: In the actual "wild", out there in the natural ecosystems of the world, roles and wildness existing very much hand in hand. Through a certain lens, biological diversity is exactly the separation of life into distinct and complementary roles.

Wildness is not a rejection of role. Wildness is the the complete and unreserved embodiment of who-you-are (your unique and undeniable role/roles) and the expression of that in relationship to everyone else.


>This is precisely the myth of our culture that the article is trying to debunk.

So I can go murder someone I don't like because I am a 'wild human'. Personal freedom is different from social rules. You are not "wild" if you live in a society in any capacity.


I'm not sure how you got there from where I was.


eh sorry. That was a thoughtless comment on my part.


I agree, but we as a society should still have a say in how we curtail our wildness. It would appear that our say has been taken away, or at least hijacked, recently.


>It would appear that our say has been taken away, or at least hijacked, recently.

Taken away by who though? There is no secret cabal called 'society' out there. You are the society. society is pure reflection of your actions, your thoughts, your relationship with others.

Society gives us security, no one is forcing people to send their kids to these 'wildnesss killing schools' but we do it because it gives use security and makes us feel safe. And that is the price you have to pay for that security, the security that your mind seeks. The conflict we think we are in with the society is merely a conflict within ourselves, the conflict of self that seeks both security and freedom .


Trade offs between "wildness" and "functional" are fine unless the schools degrade to a point at which the innocence lost is no longer worth the meager functional value provided to society or the individual. We're all aware of the position of Americas schools relative to other industrialized nations. Where is the cutoff?

Put differently, in a society of the future where "humans need not apply"[1] perhaps we might find a little more wildness to be of some redeeming value.

1. https://youtu.be/7Pq-S557XQU


It's not a new idea, John Myers O'Hara expressed it well over 100 years ago: http://www.unz.org/Pub/Bookman-1902nov-00229:19


Yes, this strikes me as the pedagogical equivalent of the Paleo diet.



Just reading the wikipedia article makes it sound like the setting for some kind of Lord of the Flies-esque thriller movie.


What bothers me about this piece is that the seven generations she almost describes as "lost" were the most productive generations in humanity's history. Think how the developed world looked in 1850 and how it looks now. This is the work of there generations of "dogs locked in a cage". Something doesn't compute.


An indirect response:

Try this for another explanation/point of view (it's kept short and to the point):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDZFcDGpL4U

(About the speaker: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ken_Robinson_%28educationalist...


What if those generations are not "lost" but are spent?

We took humans, we extracted every bit of work from them, we got a lot of work done and a lot of empty shells for people.

What if with each generation it's an downward spiral? Because it certainly looks so.


Interesting view. And to that, what have we spent them for?


The thing is, we have optimized for progress and productivity at the expense of our "wildness" and mother nature.

Yes we are a developed world, but at what expense?

Right now we are seeing the effects of this disconnect: global warming, depletion of resources, dying ocean, pollution, overpopulation, etc.

Somehow in the future we need to have a right balance between productivity and our connection with the nature.


I think an important question to ask is, are we happier for it? Are we more content? Not everyone has the same answer to that question.


Lots of people tend to observe the past as being better than it actual was. Are we happier and more content now? Quite possibly we actually are.


Profound and to the point! I don't want my kids to go to the factory but I don't have the time/skills to school them myself. What should I do?


You may not have the time but believe me when I say you have the skills. If you can watch them to make sure they don't injure themselves and answer their questions you can do it. Try reading "A Natural History of Childhood" or "The World Until Yesterday"


Google gives exactly 1 result for "A Natural History of Childhood", and it's not for a published work. Is the title correct?


Sorry, I meant "Anthropology of Childhood" by David F. Lancy



During the summer, when the days are longer, we walk up the street and into the woods. Maybe they'll see something and ask a question that will lead to a discussion. Maybe we'll look at the sidecut at the gravel pit we walk past and talk about glaciers. Maybe they'll be tired, get dirt in their shoes, and want to go home. Doesn't matter, just go outside.

Relevant: https://haveabit.com/feynman/knowing-the-name-of-something/


Remember, they're your most important project.


Except that the project has a life of its own :)


and a mind of its own.


Montessori school?


Where I live the government legally forces all schools to comply with curricula, processes, schedules, etc. All alternative schools are either closed or have somehow broken their methodology in order to adapt and stay open. Hence, I will have no choice but to pick one of them (hopefully one that keeps most of it original philosophy in practice).

Is it realistic to think that I can 'fix' my children in the off-school hours?


Mostly I think the "fixing" process is a matter of bringing an antidote to whatever energies it is that you're uncomfortable with, so for me it's making sure they have long stretches of time being gentle and playful and happy, and not interrupting them abruptly when they are blissful.

So being present and patient, and not loud and pushy and "you have to" kind of thing. Be quiet and listen to them, help them to keep pets, read them books (when they are older, things like maybe Tom Sawyer) - and leave your work at work.

And when they come to find you, look them in the eye and answer their questions, no matter how exhausting it might be. A big part of that for me was putting work aside and just learning to accept that my customers are going to come second for quite a while here (I've done many stretches of solo parenting).

And all those times they aren't at school, weekends and holidays - invest the days. Wander into nature, go fossicking on a beach, take them camping, find creeks and waterfalls, build cubby houses, and.. keep quiet :) they will introduce more than enough excitement by themselves.

Just my 2c


This article reads to me like pastoral romance, with little other than middle class guilt motivating its conclusions. Schools may have been founded to prepare children for the factory (that wasn't the motivation in the UK, AFAIK), but that doesn't mean they cannot change in the intervening century, and they certainly have. Etc.

Can education be improved? Certainly! However, mass home schooling is not the answer if you want to keep any semblance to current society. Most people have to work to make enough $s, for instance.


If formal education only impacted our ability to earn a living wage, then it wouldn't be a problem. The article points out in various ways that the impact of our formal education far exceeds that narrow remit. If I was to summarise, I'd say the way we teach breeds disconnectedness and resentment in a way that alters our personal lives far beyond the time at which our time at school comes to an end. Moving forward, I think we should stop the pursuit of education for the sake of creating compliant workers, and let our education reflect that humans can learn more from self-discovery than authoritarian decree.

That being said, it'll probably take decades before we can ween our society off the formal education models that are prevalent, the least we can do in the meantime is to make it less authoritarian. This clip from Michael Moore's documentary 'Where To Invade Next' shows what that can look like by looking at the Finnish school system:

http://youtu.be/1ZbGlDMF7HQ


As an anecdote, I loved reading as a kid. Won awards for reading which is a bit silly in retrospect (we don't give awards to kids who enjoy other media). To this day I fucking hate writing. I used to love writing, but if you want me to write something in 5 paragraph form you can gtfo. Every time I tried new writing techniques I was punished, so I stopped doing it all together.


One of the things we were taught in my teacher preparation program was that formal schooling has changed little in form over the past 100 years. This was brought home by a picture of a modern classroom side-by-side with a classroom from the 1910s. Both had desks in rows or groups and a single teacher lecturing from the front. The modern classroom was more colorful and I'll wager there were fewer beatings, but still very similar.


I've recently become interested in pedagogy, and certainly the stuff recommended in the books I've read (which a friend, who works in education, told me was standard, middle-of-road stuff) is much more interactive than I recall as a child and involves relatively little lecturing. If this translates to the classroom I can't say.

Look, I'm not saying the way education is delivered in $YOUR_COUNTRY cannot be improved. I very much agree it can be. But what the author seems to be advocating is some romanticised pastoral lifestyle that is unobtainable to the majority, along with a heavy doses of "the noble savage" and other unsubstantiated woo. Home schooling is a luxury. Small classes are a luxury. Tell me something that can actually be delivered to the majority of children. Do some studies to show it works. Then I'll be interested.

FWIW, the techniques discussed in my pedagogy books have effect sizes that amount to about a 2 grade level improvement and they typically require less work of the teacher. That's stuff everyone can do---if the school environment allows it.


I happen to agree with you about the author. My experience student teaching, though, showed me that for all the pedagogy I studied, the entire school system was still geared toward the same basic goals as it was in the 1900's. If you're studying pedagogy because you're wanting to enter or change the system, just be aware that the things you're learning are great ideas that may have very little institutional support.


"Home schooling is a luxury. Small classes are a luxury"

Developed countries are assumed went thru a few decades of economic growth and productivity gains. I think they should be ready for some universal, commonplace luxuries.

I think children should be first to gain those.


Sounds good to me. The electorate in general doesn't seem in favour, however.



So, I see this as a rich white gal bragging about how smart her kids are, or how smart her ways made her kids be.

Because I can't escape the fact that the "bad" education that "cinderblock schools" dispense is the only one that everybody can afford. For most kids in the world today, going to a cinderblock school is their only chance at an education and their only way to slightly improve their life situation and that of their families.

To be allowed to "run wild" you have to come from a family with a certain privilege, if I may use the word. Great if you can afford that. But to then turn around and say that everyone else is made dumb by going to school is a little on the nose (and completely missing the point).

It's a bit like saying that a Ferrari is so much better as a car than what most people drive- so why doesn't everyone let go of their silly little bucket-like cars and hop into a sexy red hot Italian supercar?

Because everyone can't afford one, that's why.


The question of privilege is an important one, and the author would do well to confront it more transparently, since it's easy to assume she and her family have had many options available to them that many people do not. But I do not think that diminishes the value of posing her broader question, which seems to be, "What kind of learning is best for our children?" From there we might ask, "What kind of society can we build to support our children's growth?" This line of inquiry might be transformative beyond merely the kinds of activities children do in school.


There's plenty of undeveloped land in this world. You don't need to be rich to find a remote area where nobody cares enough to look for you.

You do need to be rich to have convenient access to nature in exactly the doses you prefer.


>> You do need to be rich to have convenient access to nature in exactly the doses you prefer.

Yes, rather.


Going to public school and experiencing nature don't have to be mutually exclusive. I also don't think it's fair to paint all teachers and public schools as an institution with the same broad brush.

Look, if you want your kids to have these experiences, then take them to the park/woods/beach/river/somewhere. Independent thought exists outside of school.

"They don’t know if the moon is waxing or waning, if that berry is edible or poisonous, if that song is for mating or warning."

My daughter knows waxing vs. waning. She learned it at school.


I didn't read the whole article, but it seems about 10% truth, 90% natural fallacy.


Could you please explain what you mean?


Not the GP, but I believe jeffdavis is referring to the naturalistic fallacy: wherein an appeal to nature is made as a way of arguing a point (e.g. vanilla extract is better than synthetic vanillin, even though it's the same molecule). Logically there's nothing intrinsically more correct about things from nature that makes your point valid.

However, I think GP should read the entire article, because the aims of the modern education system are well documented in their intent to create compliant workers. The authors analogy of humans to Zoo animals makes a lot of sense, given that we are only Mammals, after all.




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