The whole process of choosing to make a radical shift in our "schooling" process has required me to step out of my comfort zone. I have had to engage in (gasp inserted here) INTROSPECTION. I have had to think about education, in general as well as specific terms. I have had to take a look at the goals of institutions as a whole as well as my own personal goals for my children. What do I actually want them to learn? What kind of thinkers do I want them to become? What do I want to encourage? How? This is pretty revolutionary thinking for someone who doesn't spend a lot of time thinking about their own thinking. (Based on that previous sentence, I think you can imagine why I avoid it. I find introspection irritating, especially those times where you don't like what you find.)
I have discovered a few things in this process. "Out of the Box" thinkers are what I would like to strive for in my children. I want them to find novel ways of coming to their own conclusions. I want them to question and create their own solutions. I want them to be innovative in their education. I want actual knowledge to be something they seek and crave for the rest of their lives. I don't want education to be something administered to them. I would rather they not treat it as a checklist of facts that is completed so that they can then go and do whatever it is they want to do.
My husband shared an article with me over the weekend written by Lucas Mearian, who heard Steve Wozniak speak at a SNW (Storage Networking World) Conference on April 4th. (http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9215637/DVR_box_is_dying_Woz_wisdom_and_other_cool_things_learned_at_SNW) This is something that I would never have looked at on my own or had any interest in reading without him pointing it out to me. SNW is not my world to say the least!
Steve Wozniak is the "other Steve" co-founder of Apple. Not being a "Dancing with the Stars" fan, I would not have known who Wozniak is, if my hubby hadn't told me. Apparently Wozniak appeared on the show. (Hmm, may not be the "Out of the Box" tone I am striving for necessarily.) At least I did know who Steve Jobs was without being told. This multi-millionaire Steve (as opposed to the billionaire Jobs) is obviously a pretty innovative guy and he and I share some of the same philosophies. Who would've thought that?
The general gist of the comments summarized in the above article was that schools do not enhance innovative thinking. Innovative thinking is necessary for technological development. Innovation does not result in an environment where everyone's goal is to get the same answers. It is not something you read in a book. It must be created from within you.
Technology development projects reward innovators with a feeling of personal pride of accomplishing something no one else has done before, and "that's the sort of thing that inspires you to believe in yourself as an inventor type, not just an engineer who knows the equation."I want my children to see themselves as inventors. I want them to find new ways to expand on their knowledge and the create from there. Who knows what they will think up? Hopefully I can find the ways to give them the tools for them to find their own answers and solutions. Obviously they will have to learn some basic facts along the way. 2+2 must always =4. They will need to learn about the Civil War and the Thomas Edisons of the world. But as we study traditional names like Eli Whitney and why they mattered, I want to throw in some others. Alice Paul, so my daughter will always fight for what she believes is right... and Steve Wozniak, so that my children will strive for the personal pride that comes from creating something new and meaningful.