[permaculture] Sustainability and invisible structures

Thomas Gorman tom at honeychrome.com
Thu Jul 13 08:37:50 EDT 2006

I believe that parental involvement is the single most important  
thing in the education and formation of kids.  I feel like pretty  
much everything of meaning and importance I learned growing up I  
learned from my parents!  I wasn't home-schooled per se, but my  
brother, sister and I were all reading before we entered kindergarden  
and were surrounded by the educational and creative tools at home,  
made weekly trips to the local library and regularly visited museums,  
etc.  It was largely unstructured- our interests were pretty much  
allowed to run riot.  And it isn't a case of a luxury of American,  
white middle-class upbringing:  I didn't know it at the time (having  
too much fun to see it!), but we were always at the poverty level,  
moving around a lot and generally living in rural areas.  It did  
present some feelings of alienation and confusion when in school- our  
level of education and awareness was invariably advanced beyond most  
of our classmates, but that was (and is) more than offset by family  
relationships- by mainstream standards we are a 'freakishly' close  
family, and I wouldn't trade that for anything.  And I do remember  
there were times when my parents debated pulling us out of public  
school and attempting to home-school us, but decided they both  
couldn't afford for one of them to not work at all, and they thought  
the socialization was a good thing (I think if they were to do it all  
over now, they would home-school, having concluded that for the most  
part the 'socialization' aspect of school isn't worth the time spent  
there!).  Every home-schooled kid I've ever met has been far more  
well-spoken, mature, inquisitive, interesting and interested than  
their 'normally' schooled counterparts.  Think about it- the  
education of your own child is going to mean more to you than to any  
one else, even the most devoted school teacher.  To my mind, sending  
a kid off to school is like pulling boxes of processed who-knows-what  
off the shelves at a big supermarket- you really have no idea what is  
in that 'box,' where it's coming from, etc.  Home-schooling is akin  
to tending your own kitchen garden full of whole, real, foods.  Or  
put another way, you don't want to feed your children processed,  
agribusiness-dominated and unwholesome food, so why feed their minds  
the mental equivalent?  Home-schooling or small-scale, community  
based education seems to me the 'permaculture way.'

Disclaimer: we don't (yet) have kids of our own, so it's easy for me  
to say what I think........  I don't yet know from experience how  
hard it might be!

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