Standard education in America typically focuses on creating a supply of worker bees who follow orders from authority and operate within the confines that the system has set out, but lack critical thinking skills. The results of such a system which suppresses and discourages creativity and imagination appear to be having a detrimental effect on children.
"It is, in fact, nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of education have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry; for this delicate plant, aside from stimulation, stands mainly in need of freedom; without this it goes to wrack and ruin without fail. It is a very grave mistake to think that the enjoyment of seeing and searching can be promoted by means of coercion and a sense of duty." -Albert Einstein
A recent Facebook post by a homeschooling page revealed this effect in a startling screen cap of a google search for "school makes me."
"Education" in America has become so mundane and depressing that Google's frequently searched terms are populated with the bleakest possible outlook for it.
School makes me: depressed, suicidal, anxious, cry, feel stupid, sick, stressed.
Obviously, this is not what parents want for their children. However, because of the rigid and bureaucratic nature of public education, it is exactly what they are getting.
One of the most viewed Ted talks of all time was given by Sir Ken Robinson in 2006, where he explained how traditional education virtually kills creativity. Indeed, his claims were recently backed up by a NASA study which set out to find the most creative kids in the country and accidentally discovered that the education system is destroying children.
Dr. George Land and Beth Jarman were commissioned by NASA to help the space agency identify and develop creative talent. The two were tasked to research school children in an attempt to identify creative individuals from which the agency could pick to help with their many products. Land recently described his team’s surprising findings on the education system which are nothing short of shocking.
It seems American schoolchildren lose their ability to think creatively over time and it is due to public education. As students enter their educational journey, they retain most of their abilities to think creatively. In other words, children are born with creative genius. Employing a longitudinal study model, Land and Jarman studied 1,600 children at ages 5, 10, and 15.
Surprisingly, Land said they discovered if given a problem with which they had to come up with an imaginative, and innovative solution, 98 percent of 5-year-olds tested at the “genius” level. Simply put, their answers to how the problem should be solved were brilliant.
Upon entry into the school system, those numbers started to drop—dramatically. When the team returned to test those same subjects at age 10, the percentage of genius-level imaginative and innovative thinkers fell to an unthinkable 30 percent. The indicators led the researchers to believe the current educational system is to blame. Not only did 68 percent of those students lose their ability to think with imagination and innovation, the thought that only 30 percent could still do is unfathomable.
The downward spiral continued to be demonstrated at age 15. When the researchers returned, the percentage of genius-level students had dropped to an abysmal 12 percent.
Land blames the Industrial Revolution and its burgeoning factories for the demise of creativity. During that era, Land said the natural approach to teaching and learning led educators to develop “factories for human beings, too, called ‘schools’ so we could manufacture people that could work well in the factories.”
When children are forced into worker drone factories every day and all taught the exact same thing and society tells them if they fail to memorize this way of thinking they will not succeed in life—it is no wonder they feel depressed and anxious when talking about school.
With standard education failing many in society, people are increasingly turning to homeschooling in an effort to fulfill their children's educational potential.
Currently, only about 3.4% of children ages 5 – 17 are homeschooled in the United States, but studies have shown that homeschooled children typically outperform their peers from both private and public schools.
Homeschooling allows for a child to maximize their potential to become creative, adaptive, free thinkers. This, in turn, creates people who are not conditioned to think within the limited confines of an archaic and crumbling system, but who are capable of adapting and applying new thoughts, ideas, and solutions to any situation encountered.
The flexibility of being able to cater education to a particular learning style, as well as a child's particular interests, enables valuable insight.
When conformity and rigidity are replaced with free thinking and innovation, the results can be quite stunning. Such was the case with 13-year-old Logan LaPlante, who left the public education system for a homeschooling program specifically tailored to his interests.
In a viral Tedx talk, Logan explains how he has hacked his education to work toward his goals and take true ownership of his destiny. Society would do well to heed the advice of this brilliant child.