This space belongs to matters of learning. I cannot stop getting surprised at how many people need an explanation as to why learning really matters. I mean real learning, not in the sense of being dumbed down in order to get an �education� in order to be able to cope with being bullied at work. Because apparently that’s what most people expect �real� grown-up life to be.
�What school does your child attend?� I am often asked.
�We are following child-led, self education,� I respond, always aware that this is an invitation to ranting and aggressive insistence that I �cannot do this�. But when one follows one’s conscience, aggressive ranting or not, one cannot lie. It is extremely rare that my interlocutors, most of whom had never met an unschooling family, would seize the opportunity to hear a rare position on learning such as mine. Instead, even the most polite and soft spoken instantly turn into aggressive monolocutors who try to convert me to mainstreamism because they assume that my decision stems from ignorance of the commonplace reasons for shutting children out of real life in prison-like schools. They slam me with the banal and ignorant argumentation that my child needs to be socialised in school, because that’s where she will learn how to deal with bullying (be bullied or become a bully herself), which they call �real life� and to cope with orders and coercion from �above�, which they also refer to as �real life� otherwise she won’t be able to �work�. The nicer kind offer themselves for examples:
�I could never home-school my kids,� they confess eagerly.
Here I begin to understand why Sasha supports the child-free cause: if people can’t be there for their kids, they better not have them, he says.
�I don’t get along with my daughter,� mothers often tell me. �School is good for her because she learns discipline, how to do homework and endless repetitions. What? No of course she doesn’t learn from doing meaningless tasks, but it’s important if she is to succeed in life.�
I see Sasha’s point on the child-free position even clearer now: �Of course, if you want her to succeed in doing meaningless work, then schooling is the best way to achieve this goal. Thank you, but we want our daughter to get a different sort of fulfilment from her work�.
Therefore, we decided to offer space for people who are not afraid to get along with other people, particularly their children. Otherwise, how can children learn to �socialise� if their own mothers can’t get along with them? Since these people have been to school, it is obvious that schooling has either failed them or on the contrary has succeeded in its hidden agenda to separate and alienate people. In this space, we welcome people who refuse the bullied and bullying, authoritative social model for themselves and for their children. This space is for people from all walks of life, who have the passion to always move towards the flickering truth of the stars, accepting darkness and light as an eternal play between knowledge, ignorance, passion and life.
It is our belief that true learning has no boundaries. It is not limited by age, race, or social categories. It comes from an inner desire to know oneself and the world. Harmony comes as a result of such knowledge, which cannot be taught, only sought. Teaching, on the other hand, is the subjugation of others to the �master’s� position and view of the world. Teaching involves the exercise of power of the �teacher’s� knowledge over the knowledge of others. It inevitably exercises power within a hierarchical model of social relations and alienates the pupil from her own knowledge. Teaching institutes dissonance.
We welcome you to this space. We value you as readers and hope that you will contribute to this project with relevant announcements, links, or your own experiences and expressions that will shed light on the mechanisms and the joys of learning of young and old.
All the information published here is available for personal growth or for citation in written or other projects. It is protected by copyrights. You are to ask the permission of the authors and will cite us properly if you are to use these pieces for your own purposes.
Welcome and enjoy!
Layla AbdelRahim, January 2007
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