4/28/2006

School labels

The longer we're free of the school system, the more I see things differently. Like for example, the labels "gifted" and "learning disabled".

My two oldest had the "learning disabled" noose hung on them for many years while in school, even before the adoption. My youngest was the opposite..."advanced" was something I heard a lot from the teachers, when she was in school.

But disabled as compared to what? Gifted by whose standards?
Aren't they in fact just being themselves? Why does the school system think we all have to move through life at the same pace as others our own age?

I don't know anything about cars, except how to drive one. I don't know a Toyota from a Mazda, let alone all the different models. I don't know what a carborator looks like, I'm not sure what it's function is and I don't think I even spelled it correctly.
My son does though. He knows much more about how a car works than I do. He can look at most cars and tell what model it is and he knows the names of all the new cars that are coming out. He knows what the names of most car parts are and their function also. Does that make him gifted and me learning disabled?

My middle child knows a lot about horses. She knows how to ride them, feed them, groom them. She knows the names of the different breeds and is learning how to train them. Me? I know nothing about horses except that when I get to close to one, I sneeze. Is she gifted in horses? Am I learning disabled in horses?

Children are rewarded with the gifted label when they can learn within the way the schools are designed for them to learn. Children are degraded with the learning disabled label when they don't. That has nothing to do with the real world. When a school fails to teach a child they way that child needs to be taught, the child is labled a failure, when in actuality, the responsibility should be on the school.

If my youngest was still in school, she'd be beyond children her age, but is she gifted? No, she's just being herself. She's exactly where she should be, just being Jacqueline.
As a matter of fact, I'm thrilled for her that she'll never be labeled "gifted".
I would never want her to think that living down to (not living up to) a failing, broken down school system is what makes one "gifted".

I want my children to respect their individuality and go through life at their own pace, not being compared to others.

I'd like to share this post from Ren Allen. I had saved it from an unschooling board a couple of years back.

About the intelligences thing...I too, get sort of fuzzy brained trying to wrap my mind around certain math concepts. It is NOT one of my strengths for sure. But I am extremely artistic and creative. When I began truly unschooling it dawned on me that we often label kids "learning disabled" when they can not process math or reading/writing skills well. But if a person can not draw or paint that is just fine with everyone...it's just not "one of their talents". We label certain skills talents and others as necessary. I laughed and told a friend she must be learning disabled because she can not draw and I can! It was a joke but she got the point about how we label certain talents and promote them above others'. Not everyone needs much math....not everyone needs to be an incredible writer, we all have our unique path to follow....and on this path we have chosen ALL skills have value. Not just the academic ones..

Reason # 436 to take your kids out of school and get them into the real world! :-)

Condensed version posted on Helium

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2 comments:

Ron R said...

Carburetors are no longer used in cars. Their function was to convert the gasoline to an airborn mist and mix it with air. The mixture was then pulled into the engine for combustion.

Excellent post.

Joanne said...

Thanks Ron! I had no idea. LOL
I'm glad you liked the post. :-)