(I had just realized that I forgotten to put the title in for this post !)
The lack of frequency in posting this year has a lot to do with the fact that I think whatever needs to be said has already been said in one way or another. I have also moved on with other things in my life which I have found to be more fulfilling and more meaningful and I think it’s simply a reflection of my personal growth. This adventure with “unschooling” was a necessary component in my learning curve towards understanding the needs of the Future of Education and I have found both my path and my blueprint for what that future holds. I will see your kids in 10 or 15 years from now when that reality unfolds for them. Don’t ask me what the future holds for education – you’re not going to believe it anyway as you step into it with trepidation. I have done my observations and I am very clear about what that future looks like in terms of education and the economy and since none of us can predict the future we must draw our own conclusions based on our observations and contemplations.
Today I received a message which was in response to some things I posted on a private facebook page. The reason I want to respond to it is because I have received other emails which allude to ideas people have about me which are simply not true.
Some of them include :
- that I own or will own the co-op (for all you know I’m not even going to enrol my daughter in it once I help you guys set it up) or that it is MY plan.
It is clearly my fault that I did not make the distinction between “being the Voice of people to post a shout-out” and “advancing my own agenda.” Well, first of all, there is no agenda. I am a lot more ambitious than what the entire “homeschooling” or ESL thing can offer me. I’m about ending world hunger and creating lasting peace on earth and preparing the world for The Coming of the Next Messiah and Armageddon! Some co-op in Penang is simply not going to do that.
Whether or not the co-op pans out it’s really not a gain nor a loss for me, personally. But it is for the dozens and dozens of people who keep writing in for advice, guidance, to meet other like-minded people, to have a place where they can share resources and minimize the “costs” of homeschooling, to have activities they can do together as a group, etc. My rice bowl doesn’t depend on the materialization of this co-op but I get messages like, “Sorry your planned co-op did not work out.”
I think people fail to see that the idea behind a co-op is that it is never and should never be about one person’s agenda but a coming together of a collection of souls with a shared vision and a focussed purpose. Perhaps a more accurate way of wording it would be, “It’s unfortunate that the people of Penang have not been proactive and committed enough to create a formal network around something they claim to have a shared vision of.”
A lot of the hesitation and lack of ability to organize that I have witnessed stems from this mentality that we need authorities, experts or leaders to spoonfeed solutions to us before we can take any kind of concrete action. People simply don’t have that faith that they have it in them to initiate, take action, create from scratch, have originality and commit to creating results. A lot of people I meet still have this mentality that Failure and Success are absolutes rather than realities that we create, that we manifest. This is a severe weakness of Malaysians – people who don’t go out and carve their own niches, their own fortunes, their own freedom, their own choices. Malaysians contemplate on problems that will arise rather than grow bigger than the problems and have an attitude of, “Whatever comes up for me I will handle it because I have the ability to manifest any results I want.” Of course there will be challenges. Have you ever heard of a self-made anyone who has never met challenges that they needed to overcome?
Here are other misconceptions about me / the co-op that I’d like to address :
- that I am “pro” homeschooling and am against schooling.
- that I advocate exclusive homeschooling / unschooling (that there is ONE way of doing it that is better than another)
- that what I advocate is “extreme” and “unbalanced” and not everyone can do it.
- that I diminish the value of friendships and networks of association
- that I promote homeschooling
However, one particular point is true : “May be you have put too high expectation on this group as well as the society.”
How about this :
Maybe people have put too low expectations on themselves and are satisfied with creating goals so small, benchmarks so low that they can be sure to reach them.
And we say we want our children to grow and be brave and be self-directed and courageous and creative and able to soar like eagles.
I don’t think I can blame myself for having expectations if you read the kind of emails I get and hear the kinds of stories I hear all the time of parents who feel as if they are going to cave in from the pressure of feeling like failures in not being able to do something to secure their children’s future in terms of an investment in education. They’re asking for an alternative that is not a “tuition-based, daycare kind of homeschooling where kids are boxed up in cubicles doing school minus all the infrastructure support.” They are asking for an alternative that is not them all on their own.
I can’t blame myself for having expectations but I can take responsibility for being willing to meet up with and listen to people and I can take responsibility for my short-sightedness in actually believing people know what they want in life.
Now let me address some of the bullet points that I made above.
I am pro-homeschooling
Yo, I am not a lobbyist for anyone, yo! I’m not a puppet for any political or whatever organization to be pro-anything. If I am selling you something I will be pro-something and I will be very explicit about what I’m going to sell (which, if you come across me on other sites selling some programs or products you will get what I mean.)
If anything, I am pro-choice, and in this case, it would be, “If you think Industrial Schooling isn’t going to work for you, I’m just letting you know you have the option to make the same choices I have.” – That’s all.
I am not asking anyone who is a fierce advocate of schooling to not school. Don’t you think I have MORE friends who are pro-schooling than I have “friends” who homeschool? My homeschooling friends are online. My real-life friends know I don’t school my daughter but they have never had an issue with me. Yes, they ask some preliminary questions but they just trust that I know what I’m doing and they see that it’s working out for me.
If I were pro-homeschooling I’d be asking everyone I meet to pull their kids out of school – but I don’t! I only ask those who are complaining and whining to just pull the plug if they smell burning flesh. (“Oops, I have been sitting on a lobotomizer!”)
I don’t go head-on with people, who think Industrial Schooling works, just for the fun of it. I have an actual life, you know. I don’t go around stamping my agenda on everyone I meet. But if and when I do meet people who are complaining from New Moon to Half Moon to Full Moon I will tell them, “Look, here’s how I see it and here’s what I used to inform my decisions and if it adds clarity to your journey, take it, if it doesn’t, just go on and find your own path.” If people are not on the same page with me that is fine. But what annoyed me recently are people who claim they want to find answers and be on the same page but do not share and do not take action or contribute in any kind of intellectual exchange.
I advocate exclusive homeschooling / unschooling (that there is ONE way of doing it that is better than another)
If you ask ME how I DO homeschooling I am going to tell you how I do it. But I have never insisted that you do it the way I do it. I keep telling you that it’s ORGANIC. I don’t even insist that my students learn in any particular way following any particular format or syllabus – why would I advocate a particular style over another?
Or have people gotten me confused with the other “research” they have been doing out there? Projection at work, perhaps?
What I advocate is “extreme” and “unbalanced” and not everyone can do it.
“Are people out there seriously thinking this?” Are people seriously thinking that I am lost on the basic tenet of unschooling – which is all about individualization and customization and following one’s own bliss and to allow unfolding and God’s hand to lead? Are people looking at me and the way I do it and say, “I can’t do it that way.”
Nobody told you to! I once had a parent tell me, “Well, I realize why you can homeschool and I can’t because you have experience dealing with children and your child is self-directed.” I don’t want to call it out as I am hearing it but it sounds like a Big “E” to me.
I think people who say that about people like me totally failed to notice that people like me went into teaching WITHOUT any experience in teaching but a simple declaration that I am going to put all of me into it or that it is my self-directedness in being willing to fail and being willing to hack anything that comes my way that my daughter models after. (She also models after my less desirable traits but that happens with or without homeschooling anyway.)
I diminish the value of friendships and networks of association.
Two things : (1) Personality. Some people are simply more extroverted than others and both timing in life and environment brings out different levels of introvert/extrovert in any given individual. In the Public Speaking Self-Confidence course I’m conducting you’d be surprised that who you think is an “introvert” can actually come across exceptionally convincing in public speaking and who you consider “extrovert” may just wind on and on and on (like most public speakers do.)
(2) Modelling. If you as a parent are sociable your children will learn from you the rules of engagement : what is safe and what isn’t, how to make good calls in judgement, how to engage people, how to resolve conflict when it arises.
Put those things together and they are self-explanatory in how people end up being friends with one person over another as well as dissolves the mystery of how two random strangers can become the best of friends.
Here’s my way of “making friends” – I only befriend those who are sincere and make their agenda known to me. And this is sometimes difficult for a lot of people because they don’t even know themselves and what they want in a friendship or life in general. There’s a saying that to fly with the eagles I can’t swim with the ducks. The reality of life is that I cannot please everyone all the time so all I can be is myself and people can take what they want and leave the rest.
And maybe you’re different. Maybe you’re someone who doesn’t like to rock the boat too much or mess with the status quo and that’s OK to be you as well.
Caveat Emptor :
Just because I take a stand in polarizing my thoughts and philosophy it does not mean that your own thoughts and philosophies are now under threat or needs to be null and void. That is what writers / philosophers do : they juxtapose. They bring a thought to a collective so that people question their own position on that scale of one polarity over another.
I have to take a stand because it is true for me. I have to polarize on one side. Then it is up to the other people on the other side to polarize their thoughts and the people in the middle – the herd – they are supposed to work through their layers and find which truth resonates for them.
Polarization is like holding a tight rope real tight at both ends so that other people can walk that tension and find their balance.
A few days ago I wrote on my facebook status that “balance” is not synonymous with hesitation, mediocrity, being in one’s comfort zone and an excuse to not take chances. Since this is not a Buddhist, philosophical or metaphysical blog I will leave it up to you guys to figure out what Balance really is about.
However, I will give you a clue on how Balance shows up in life : When you are balanced you have perfect clarity about what you are doing and where you are going and how exactly your results are going to manifest. It will show up as self-confidence, inner peace, clarity, acceptance, faith and personal power. When you are Balanced you will not be full of indecision, procrastination, hesitation, fears, doubts, second-guessing yourself. (I know what you’r asking in your head : do I have all of that? I will humour you at the end.)
Balance is a Point – a position, a tuning fork. Like a guitar the moment it is out of tune you will know and put yourself back into a place where you be in alignment. That is Balance. A person with an “extreme point of view” can have a much more perfect balance in life than a person who is always dancing to the Pied Piper’s tune. If Buddha or Jesus or any other Messengers of God had never gone to the extremes they had had to endure they would never have found the Point in balance.
I cannot speak of something I have not experienced which means I can only speak of things I have experienced! I have experienced both being balanced and unbalanced and, as I heard in one chick-flick, “Sometimes to be balanced is to become unbalanced.”
Just bear in mind that everything I write on this blog is about me polarizing a stand and it does not make ME right. It is about what is true for me and what created the results in my life. You have to think for yourself and not quote or complain about me for being who I am that works for me. I can only share what works for me. You too are allowed to be who you are and either model after someone who has had something that worked for them or enrol yourself in the School of Hard Knocks. I know I did! And all I’m doing is to share my experiences because a lot of people never graduate from the School of Hard Knocks and simply got knocked out.
We have to move beyond this mindset of creating Absolute Authorities. No one is an Absolute Authority. A lot of things that people think about what I write isn’t really about what I write but merely a projection of what is going on in their minds.
Just thought I’d put it out for the record as something for people to chew on so that they can recalibrate and rethink on a new tangent.
I wish you a very good week ahead. I have a floor to mop and a shower to take.