Hand me a Band-Aid. Make a Xerox of that. Get some more Kleenex. FedEx that package. These are all examples of a synecdoche. That’s when one kind or form or part of a thing is made to stand in for an entire category. This is not necessarily a bad thing, except when language becomes a prison. Xerox is not the only company that makes copiers. FedEx is not the only package delivery company. We know that.
A more insidious and sad example of synecdoche is that a lot of people say education when they mean schooling.
Schooling is an approach to improving education. Another approach? Just living and never going to school. Extremely different paths, yes, but both result in some sort of education.
My definition of education is the mind I have constructed and my process of constructing it. This definition is consistent with deep nature of education as no mere collection of static facts and formulae stored on your hard disk between your ears. Your education is the sum and synergy of all that you have become. Not just your experiences, but what your experiences mean to you, and how they helped you shape yourself. (Notice when I speak strictly, I don’t say that experience shapes you. Experience can’t shape you. Your own mind shapes itself in reaction to experiences, and there are many ways to react to the same exact experiences.)
Unschoolers believe that a rich education can be gained without schooling of any kind, and certainly without compulsory schooling. Schooling, or some parts of schooling, may help, but it isn’t necessary. This truth ought to be obvious to anyone who studies how people learn, or looks at the history of education among the peoples of the world. But there are rich and powerful interests dedicated to promoting formal (and invariably expensive) schooling as the ONLY way– THE ONLY WAY– to gain an excellent education, or even a barely adequate one.
This is a terribly uneducated point of view, ironically.
Anyway, I’m going to be speaking about this at the East West bookstore in Seattle, next week. Come argue with me! (or not…)
I will talk about the Buccaneering way of self-education.