Who Says… Learning Starts At School?

Part of the series Who says…
Written by Léo Gaumont, published on 2014-11-10.

Are we talking about learning or indoctrination?

Building on a foundation that God is, that He created the universe and that He ultimately is responsible for our children’s being, should provide ample substance upon which to build our faith. This lengthy series will identify the secular thinking that has eroded that faith.

Bible Reference: Deut. 6:4-6

Walking with my wife a few years ago, we stumbled upon a windowless, characterless building with a sign that read “Tiny Tot Day Care – Where Learning Starts”. Understanding that preschool children were being incarcerated in that ugly building while their parents pursued careers was disturbing enough, but to claim that learning would start there, simply did not make any sense.

When does learning start? That is a tough one to answer, but it sure does not start in a day care or a school. No one knows the point at which learning starts. It doesn’t actually start at birth, but more likely while the child is still in the womb, where once the brain is fully formed, it begins to recognize sounds. After birth, learning proceeds at a very rapid pace and continues on throughout one’s life. Henry Ford once quipped that you are old when you stop learning, but it is really hard to imagine when anyone actually stops learning. We may be able to slow it down, direct or redirect it, but is it possible to actually stop it? Learning starts when conscience life begins, occurs everywhere, all the time and probably does not even end at death but continues into eternity, as the soul is eternal, which bring us to another point.

Learning is natural. There is no need to learn to learn, as learning is as natural as sneezing, coughing and going to the bathroom. While animals display some capacity for learning, most of their behavior is more instinctive than learned. Humans, on the other hand, are born with a few instincts and a great capacity for learning, which can be either passive or active. Passive learning just happens through experience. It does not take long to learn that a hot stove is not to be touched. Active learning is willfully engaged in to gather information that we want or have to learn. Neither instinct nor passive or active learning starts at school or requires a school. So why do we need that place?

No doubt, things will be learned at school, but learning could never start in that place, unless of course, we were referring to the beginning a process of directing students to think in a certain way. We should not confuse natural learning, which can best be described as gathering what we need to learn when we need or want to learn it, with being directed to learn what someone or something else wants us to learn, which is an involuntary form of learning known as indoctrination. Learning starts with life but institutional indoctrination begins at school, continues for the next twelve years or so, eventually ending with the institutional stamp of approval, the diploma.

Who says that learning starts in school? The institution that wants us all to think the same way, does.

Learning is Natural

Written by Léo & Faye Gaumont, published on 2014-06-02.

Learning as a natural a coughing and sneezing. It cannot be developed but it can, and should be, directed.

Opinions expressed in this blog are those of the blogger which, although based on a personal knowledge of the scriptures can be in error, as no one has a corner on the truth. We simply and sincerely search for it.

While having breakfast at a restaurant the other day, we had the good fortune to be sitting near enough to a young family to be able to hear the conversation of a very young girl with her parents. Although she may have been under two years of age, she communicated intelligently with clear articulation, that left no one in doubt of what she intended to say. While being entertained by her expressions and demeanor, we started discussing the the complexities of language and the ease with which most children simply cobble together the ability to communicate.

While animals have a variety of forms with which they communicate to each other, only man can truly share in abstract ways. Starting by simply crying when there were needs, this little girl must have quickly got the attention of her parents, who although they were mostly guessing, could determine what was required. This basic foundation eventually included hand gestures and body language, leading to the first word, then words, sentences, and thoughts. One of the most complicated things the child will ever learn, learned without the need for a guide, curriculum or program. When did God appoint professionals to direct this learning program? How did we do before these programs were invented. Did we learn to communicate, think and live? How could that have been possible? You would think the way people, government, church and society behaves, that learning was only invented when schools were created. Learning is natural. Education is not. Scripture directs us to train, not educate, our children. All of us were trained to do what we do, with or without the help of programs and professionals. How we were educated will determine the how and why we do what we do.

Learning comes as naturally as scratching, sneezing, and coughing. There is no need to break it down into subject parts and subparts over a twelve year period. Provide the opportunity and they will learn. Direct the program and you direct the child.

When & Where Does Learning Occur?

Part of the series Mostly Honest… Isn’t True
Written by Léo Gaumont, published on 2014-03-03.

Some of our parents have expressed a desire to better be able to identify the tricks being used to convince them to believe things that may not actually be true. This series will provide applicable examples of such.

We often refrain from being honest because we do not wish to offend those who need to hear the truth. Opinions expressed in this blog series are intended to offend those who would advance anything, other than the truth, in order to benefit themselves.

Bible Reference: Deut. 6:6-9

I heard a rather intriguing story on the news last year. It got me thinking about how we are led to come to the conclusions that we do. The story was about a northern Alberta community that was considering going to a four day school week. They would increase the number of hours per day which would allow schools to be closed on Fridays. A few questions came to mind as I listened to the story.

The first comment I heard revealed the typical response of that political party that sees everything as caused by a lack of government funding. They saw a four day school week as a travesty of government insensitivity to children’s needs. Really?

The second comment of the story indicated that this would cause parents undue hardship as they would have to find alternate arrangements for childcare on Fridays, indicating that some see schools more as day cares than institutes of learning. There may be more than an element of truth to this observation!

The third comment really caught my attention. It was stated that the greatest concern of a four day school week would be that the children would be left without opportunity for learning for a greater amount of time! If we are not listening carefully, this can easily be passed off as a legitimate concern when, in fact, it is rather laughable that anyone could come up with such a ridiculous statement. When does learning start and where does it happen? This statement implies that learning only occurs within the confines of a school. What happens as students leave the institution? Do their brains shut off? My personal experience as a twenty-five year veteran teacher is that a lot of students shut their brains off before coming to school, not when leaving! Believing that learning starts at birth and continues wherever we are until death, should lead one to understand that reducing the school week to four days would probably increase the opportunity for learning, not decrease it, as implied by this misinformed statement.

The next lengthy series of blogs will question things being advanced as educationally sound, not only by those opposing home education but also by those purporting to be advancing it.