[permaculture] Home education/sustainable systems

E. E. Mitchamore Jr emitch at att.net
Thu Jul 13 10:39:34 EDT 2006

I note that most of you contributing to this thread are relatively young.  That should be a tip-off to the possibility that the education system changed (not for the better, I think) in the '60s and '70s.

Growing up in a small town in Central Texas, I had the same first-grade teacher that my mother had (she's 32 years older than I - I was born in '44).  That first-grade teacher taught me the alphabet and how to count.  My granddaughter (2.5 years old) can count to 20 or more and knows the alphabet - more than I knew at twice her age.

On the other hand, the education system in those days (1950 - 1968, BSME) somehow taught me to love reading and learning, which I continue to this day.  Perhaps in spite of their public school experience, our kids (now 25, 28, 30)  continue to read, study and learn, recognizing that it's not only necessary, but fulfilling.

E. E. "Mitch" Mitchamore
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Kai Vido 
  To: permaculture 
  Sent: Thursday, July 13, 2006 8:55 AM
  Subject: Re: [permaculture] Home education/sustainable systems

  Hi Tom,

  Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences. My two sisters and I had the good fortune of
  being home-educated and/or self-taught. Like you, I was reading at age 4 and have been a voracious
  reader for nearly twenty years. I was rasied and still live on a "subsistence" farm, where we use
  organic methods and try our best to live lightly upon this Earth. I feel that the most important
  aspect of my education has been my relationship with the land, the people, animals, and plants
  around me, rather than at the desk. The "book-larnin' " is certainly important, but a balance must
  be found, and this is one element missing from the public education system. Your analogy relating
  our childrens' education to the food we eat is particularly poignant. Often I have heard parents
  say, "I wish we had the time to home-school, but we can't give up the second income. We're saving
  for their university fund, you know." I shake my head in disbelief. Allowing corporate- and
  government-funded interests/mindsets to determine the course of a person's education, and indeed
  shape their entire life, is perhaps the greatest mistake made by "alternative-minded" parents,
  with farther-reaching effects than even the food we eat or the car we drive. Not to degrade those
  two pivotal choices, but an MBA is of limited value if one hasn't the survival skills (food
  production and preservation, eco-home and eco-farm building, and most importantly community
  co-operation - interdependence, folks!) when the cancerous political and economic structures
  tumble. And tumble they will, be it in two years or twenty, so it is up to each person and each
  community to build systems which can weather the storm and create the future.

  >>Home-schooling or small-scale, community based education seems to me the 'permaculture way.'


  --- Thomas Gorman <tom at honeychrome.com> wrote:

  > 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!
  > Tom
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