Becoming Free Thinkers In A Society Of Sheeple

 

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In a society of Sheeple, we spend more than 90% of our lives doing what we are told. We follow because we are taught to follow, not to lead. No matter what we decide to do with our lives, we will always have someone who is telling us what to do, when to do it, why we need to do it, how to do it, and where we should be doing it.

We are taught from the moment we can talk until we start Kindergarten, that asking questions is the best way to learn about something that we do not know. At some point while we are in school, that awareness changes from it’s ok to ask into shut up, sit down, do as I tell you, and stop asking questions. It becomes the life-long version of; “Because I say so, that’s why.”

 
Every parent dreams of having a unique child, right up until that precise moment when the teacher sits you down and explains that your child just won’t behave like the other children. You are told that your child will never be able to function in a healthy society when they are adults because they cannot seem to follow along like the other children do. You are then advised to get your child checked out by a medical professional to be medicated for the mental defect your child has that keeps them from doing as everyone else does. With or without a medical diagnosis or pharmaceutical medication; your child is now officially labeled as “different”, “unable to follow simple directions”, a “trouble-maker”, “difficult”, “learning impaired”, and “unteachable.”

I know this scenario very well from my own childhood. I could never really follow along with what everyone else was doing. The teachers always said that I had potential but, that I was basically a dreamer. They insisted that I will never accomplish anything worthwhile, because I just couldn’t do what I was told to do. My father’s word for that was, “stupid”. He didn’t realize, much like the teachers who were trying to teach me, that I wasn’t a follower. I couldn’t learn like the others because some of what they were teaching me I knew was bullshit. Some of what was being taught wasn’t advanced enough and I got bored easily because of it. And some of what was going on had to do with the terrorism I was experiencing at home on a daily basis. In other words, for me to be able to succeed in learning I needed to be taught the things I didn’t know by someone who was willing to learn what they didn’t know from me.

 

When I had my own children I did what every other parent does, enrolled them in a public school. My daughter started in Kindergarten and my son started in Pre-school. I was the epitome of school-mom. I drove them to school and picked them up every day, from the exact moment my daughter got bullied on the bus by a much bigger and older girl who wouldn’t be reprimanded by the school or bus driver because well… there was no way the driver could possibly watch the road and see the bullying that was going on, so it never happened. I went up to the school every day at lunch to eat with my children and their friends. I participated in all field trips and events pertaining to the education of my children. I sent snacks for their classes, hand-made snacks… that was allowed in that school, not like in so many others these days. I helped my children with homework every single night before bed. I worked just as hard if not harder in school as my own children did.

It didn’t take long to find out that my daughter had a reading problem because she had a seeing problem. From birth she had an eye that is blind. (Now they know it to be astigmatism, lazy, a congenital cataract, smaller jagged pupil along with the blindness.) Everything she “sees” from that eye is too blurry to really make anything out. So after eye exams, she got glasses. The glasses did nothing to help her reading problem though, so she was enrolled in a special class to help her with reading. Yet, Kindergarten through 2nd grade she struggled to read. Come to find out, right before we moved out of that school district, that her reading teacher was a nasty ogre of a woman who enjoyed bullying children by yelling at them for not being able to read. When I brought this to the attention of the principal and the teacher herself, they decided to go down the road that I was a bad parent because my daughter had missed several days of school that year. Why did she miss several days? Because she had recurrent bouts of tonsillitis which eventually led to the doctor removing her tonsils. Every single absence my children had were excused, since I had the medical documents to prove it. But, when it came down to the wrong doing, the school preferred to blame someone else instead of addressing the real issue, a teacher who doesn’t belong teaching.

This did not deter me though, because I still had faith in the school system. After all, I went to school and I graduated from school. It is what everyone does, right? It wasn’t until we moved to another state and both of my children were diagnosed with disabilities did another issue come up. We were new to the area and new to these illnesses my kids were diagnosed with (just finding out my daughter had Hashimoto’s and my son was moderately/severely deaf) and therefore we needed to have them seen by specialists. Well, needless to say to any parent who has dealt with a disabled child, seeing specialists in a Children’s Hospital is a very time-consuming event. And since these hospital’s see an entire city’s worth if not state’s worth of children, the appointments are limited and you go when they tell you or you don’t get seen period.

Once again I found myself being harassed and blamed by a school official for my children’s absences. Although there I stood with doctor documentation in my hands, I was still threatened and bullied by someone who I am supposed to trust to teach my children. I had had quite enough of that after only 2 months of them being in school, and considered homeschooling. While in the local library researching the state laws on homeschooling, I ran into a woman who homeschools and wrote a book. It was a sign! After speaking with her, my mind was made up and my children were pulled out of public school the following Monday by certified letter.

It took less than a year for me to find out that my children and I were not the “schooling” kind. And the longer I chose to teach my children in my home, the more my family, who was not living anywhere nearby to us nor knew anything about what we were doing or going through, worried. Why? Not so much because I wasn’t a licensed teacher, although that did come up occasionally, but because it was not the way that the world expects you to do things. I was stepping far outside of the norm and that scared the Hell out of them. However, the more I researched, read, and practiced this “unusual” way of learning; the more I found out that we were not a homeschooling family but actually what is known as an unschooling family. My beliefs about how a person learns, fell into the unschooling category perfectly, unlike the more religious reasons most homeschoolers have. So instead of forcing my children to learn subjects by grade level or solely what I believed in, we starting turning everything in our daily lives into a learning experience.

The more I unschooled my children and myself, the more we thrived in learning and as a family. In aiming to teach my children, I have been taught. We learn everything that we’ve always wanted to learn and we do it together, each one of us interchanging between student and teacher. We don’t believe that you can only learn certain things at a certain age. If we want to know about something, we learn about it. There are no whines, complaints, or not doing of the work because it isn’t work and it isn’t school… it is life, our life, and not one second of it is wasted. Every single moment of every single day spent learning freely without restrictions and timetables. Learning all that the world and life has to offer us by becoming free thinkers in a society of Sheeple.

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22 thoughts on “Becoming Free Thinkers In A Society Of Sheeple

    • InJensMind says:

      Thank you Corinne. I’m sure those who are over-the-top competitive will most likely stick with the way they’ve always done it. The whole concept behind unschooling is to help and allow your child to learn in their way, not the ways others think they should. I hope that more parents in India and all around the world get to a place where unschooling can be used more freely. That way more children will grow up loving to learn and become adults who continue to learn because they still love to learn.

  1. Adriene (Sweepy Jean) says:

    Really interesting, Jenni. I had never heard of the unschooling philosophy before and looked it up a bit. Good for you for finding a way that works best for your children and daring to do things differently.

    • InJensMind says:

      Thank you Adriene. As I was sitting here writing this, it did cross my mind to add more about what unschooling is for those who aren’t familiar with it. it’s becoming increasingly more difficult for me to find things I want to write about. It’s also becoming more difficult for me to keep word count under 2000 words a post.

      I always wanted what was best for my children. It just took longer for me to let my voice out than I’d like to admit but, better late than never. When I took my kids out of school is when I learned a lot of things about myself that I didn’t know. As time has passed, almost 10 years now, I’ve found out even more about myself but, also loads about my kids. They couldn’t thrive under pressure. Really, who can become the best them, under constant scrutiny and criticism?

  2. Scattered Musings of A Creative Mind says:

    As a mother of 5 and almost 4 grandchildren. I completely understand how the “public school system works” I had often thought of home schooling but wasn’t brave enough. This is the first time I’ve heard of unschooling. I am definitely going to look it up so I understand it more. Very lovely post Jenn, thanks for sharing with us.

    • InJensMind says:

      Thank you Deb. I think homeschooling runs through many parent’s minds at some point in their kids academic lives. But between society and the media, parents can become anxious about taking that step because it’s not what people do. Yet, here in Missouri, the homeschooling numbers are very high. That’s because the schools here are some of the worst in the whole country. The school I took my kids out of was shut down for being the worst Elementary school in the local area. But, I was suppose to send them there? No thanks. The biggest problem we have in this country and maybe the world, is that we force our children to be great. And if and when they break under that stress we belittle them, compare them, or label them as failures. Children and adults can all love to learn if they are taught how to learn in a way that doesn’t make them feel like they are forced to learn. Good luck to you in your query and have fun with this grandbabies.

  3. Tameka (BloggerPoet) (@Tamstarz) says:

    What an interesting topic. I just wrote about learning on my blog, but in a different capacity. I was always the geek who loved school, not only because I loved learning, but also because I was being terrorized at home too and being out of that environment allowed me to shine and thrive. It’s cool to read about how other people learn and I admire you for doing what is best for your children. I rather like the notion of unschooling. Even though I didn’t have any major issues in the classroom, I think parents need to exercise any and all options they can in order to create a positive space where their children can best learn and grow.

    I hope you’re documenting your learning and teaching experiences Jenni, because you could write a book that I’m sure would help other parents who are interested in homeschooling/unschooling.

    This was a great read!

    • InJensMind says:

      I kind of felt the same way you did about school. I thought going to school, having friends, playing sports… would help me escape the tyranny in my house. But, when I started school I was always fighting and in trouble. Not as a bully mind you, I was small and always felt I had to defend myself. It was the only place I could defend myself. When we moved to a small town where everyone knows your business I became terrorized by those who should have been protecting me from all I was going through at home. Even with 5 days a week school counselor time, still not being protected by someone sworn to protect the innocent. It taught me a lot about life early on. When I got to H.S. I found comfort outside of school in the form of Vocational Training. I didn’t like the class but, I liked the people. They welcomed me and I could thrive there.

      All I know is when I got pregnant, all I could think was how can I protect them from everything I had to live through. Some people believe if you protect your kids too much they can’t function as adults because they don’t know how to handle the things they’ve never lived through. I’ve found out now that my kids are teens that they not only know how but, also are very articulate in their addressing of the issues. I’m very proud of being the one who helped them do that.

      And yes I am documenting all I can. One of the reasons I write this blog with posts that always pertain to my life is for them to have memories cemented forever and for others who don’t know me well to get to know me through what I’ve been through. One day books will be written about my life and the lives of those in my life.

      Thank you for visiting Tameka. It’s always a pleasure to see you comment. Have a great weekend.

  4. Martha Orlando says:

    I am so proud of your decision to homeschool or unschool, rather, your children. If circumstances hadn’t forced me to have to work, I would have done the same thing with mine. Ironically, I was a parapro and then a teacher for years. However, in my state of Georgia, teacher unions have very little influence. In those instances you described above, I’m betting the teacher unions ran the show. That’s when you run into incompetence, arrogance, and more interest in keeping a job than truly educating the children.
    This was such an enlightening read, and I hope all the parents who see this will stand up and take notice.
    May God continue to bless you and your wonderful family, Jenni!

    • InJensMind says:

      Thank you Martha. I don’t know about teacher unions, all I know is most of my life I have ran into teacher’s that have no business teaching. Now, maybe the problem is the work they do and what they put up with for little money that makes them bitter to the point they treat all children the same… who knows. But, I am the kind of person who believes in doing what is right because it is right; not for praise, not for money, not for eternal life in paradise, not for your desires… you do it because it is right. Teaching children should not be one of the things that we should be doing a mediocre job of. That goes for teaching them and for raising them. Although for me, it means the same thing. I’m sorry you didn’t have a chance to take this route. There are ways to be the influence children need and still go to work and/or send them to public school. Most parents just don’t know how to balance properly. I know because my husband is one of those types of parents. His focus is on trying to give the kids things that money can buy, instead of giving them things they can use for life. He does his best mind you, he is just misinformed like so many others because he was raised as a sheep too. Hope you have a wonderful weekend and thanks for visiting.

  5. crazylady says:

    Oh my!! When I first started reading this I was SCREAMING in my head.. UNSCHOOL!!! You are an UNSCHOOLER by nature!!!

    I don’t homeschool or unschool at this time, but I do teach my kids you don’t learn what you need to in life at school. My health prevents me from bringing them back home (yes, I did unschool once upon a time).

    I have happy tears for you and your family!!

    • InJensMind says:

      Hello crazylady. Thank you for coming over here and joining in on the conversation. Yes, unschoolers can definitely pick out their kind with ease, can’t they? It’s those same beliefs that shine through no matter how hard one tries to stay out of the spotlight. I am thankful for what happened, because if it hadn’t been for the occurrences leading up to me pulling my kids out of school I would have just let them be raised that way. I cannot thank the Universe enough for giving my children the opportunity and me the strength and knowledge to give them a lifetime of knowledge and a voice to back it all up. Thanks again for visiting and I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

  6. debra elramey (@elramey) says:

    Jenni, what a wonderful story of how you set your children free from the sheeple. BRAVO!!! Love the Einstein quote, and have it on my blog 😉

    Thought you’d appreciate these quotes:

    “I suppose it’s because nearly all children go to school nowadays, and have things arranged for them, that they seem so forlornly unable to produce their own ideas.”
    Agatha Christie

    “We who are engaged in the sacred cause of education
    are entitled to look upon all parents as having given hostages to our cause.”
    Horace Mann

    Oh no you did-d’t Mr. Mann 😦 Not giving our kids over to be hostages to your sacred cause.

    Why don’t you join some the unschool groups and share your story? Check them out.

    http://www.facebook.com/groups/homeschoolingunschooling/
    http://www.facebook.com/groups/303347574750/
    http://www.facebook.com/groups/25856326124/

  7. Ray says:

    I am very glad I stopped by today. I have always felt out of place in our school system growing up. The original concept of public education was to get the children smart enough for factory jobs.

  8. Ron says:

    Jenni – Very profound! I am not familiar with “unschooling”, but I know in raising my son I offered him every opportunity to see life from as many perspectives as possible without judgement…only curiosity and understanding. Labels are toxic, and none of us should allow ourselves to be pigeon holed oa feel odd because we don’t follow a common doctrine. I love the post and I am glad I stopped by.

    Be well,
    Ron

Stand upright, speak thy thoughts, declare The truth thou hast, that all may share; Be bold, proclaim it everywhere: They only live who dare. -Voltaire

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