Written by Jan Hunt
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Tags: School

Sunday, 23 January 2005

It has come to my attention that there are actually some children out there who want to "home school" and don't understand the value of following a school curriculum. Here is an open letter to any child who feels that the school curriculum is not important:

There can be no question that following a strict curriculum helps to prepare you for adult life. I, for one, am grateful to have followed a strict school curriculum, as the information which I learned in my classes has proven to be so useful in my life. For example, I had two years of Latin, and although I hated it at the time, it has been immensely useful for solving crossword puzzles. And such topics as solid geometry can come in very handy if you decide to become a geometry teacher. And of course, there is always the slight chance that you will become one of the handful of scientists who will actually use geometry in your career, and why wait until college to learn it? You wouldn't want to be behind the other two guys who made that career choice.

Although curriculums have developed over many years, and enormous effort has been put into their preparation, still there may be just a few skills and interests which you may find were not covered in your particular school. After all, they can only cover so much material in 11,000 hours!

Don't worry about this; you can always purchase courses at your local community college in such minor topics as dealing constructively with anger, responding helpfully to a crying baby, performing household and auto repairs, choosing a satisfying career, selecting a compatible mate, spending time comfortably with those not born in your birth year, spending time comfortably alone, communicating clearly with the opposite sex, finding information on topics all by yourself, balancing a budget, filling out tax forms, identifying personal interests, communicating with relatives, selecting a rewarding hobby, helping a frustrated toddler, selecting a diet which meets your personal nutritional needs, successful intervention of conflict situations, negotiating successfully with those who disagree with you, and above all, finding a well-paying job to pay for all these extra classes.

But you don't have to wait until you graduate to pursue those interests not covered at your school; after you get home each day and after spending two or three hours on homework, household chores and competitive sports, there will always be a few minutes left to pursue personal interests. Remember, you are really the only one who knows what interests you, and learning takes place most readily when you are interested in the topic, so those few minutes a day are very important. Just be sure to do all your homework and sports first, so your friends won't be jealous of how you spend your time. Friendships are important too.

In fact, probably the most important reason to follow a strict curriculum is that not only your friends, but your parents and teachers won't feel resentful. They all had to follow a curriculum, and they would feel very jealous if you don't. And since you are just a child, their feelings are a lot more important than yours. So it is really fortunate that they have the power to force you to do things the same way they had to. Don't worry about this - you'll get your chance to throw your weight around with your own kids! Perhaps you've heard rumours that homeschooling kids who follow their own interests score a little higher - just a few years - than school kids on academic and social skills. Don't let this worry you.

Unlike these spoiled kids, you'll always be able to find work, because you're learning the important lesson of doing what you're told, and our society will always need people who are willing to do the boring jobs. Think how proud you'll feel, taking on responsibilities that others refuse to do, simply because it doesn't "interest" them. It's a good feeling to be needed and appreciated!

Above all, don't worry about missing a few topics. After all, where else but in school can you learn the really valuable life skills like blind obedience, blending in with the crowd, fearing authority figures, submerging bad feelings into the subconscious, and understanding the dog-eat-dog nature of reality? Stay in school and do what they tell you to do, right or wrong. How else can you grow up to be a solid citizen who doesn't make waves?

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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