Biographies of famous and innovative people – Ansel Adams, Margaret Mead, Thomas Edison, Benjamin Franklin, and the like – often show an interesting pattern.
As children, these people discovered what seems like an internal superpower – a deep focus, a passionate concentration, and an aversion to the inconsequential. They were autodidacts – learning more outside of school than within. Many were home-schooled or unschooled. Quite often, they say things like:
I have never let my schooling interfere with my education. — Mark Twain
If you want to get laid, go to college. If you want an education, go to the library. ―- Frank Zappa
Study without desire spoils the memory, and it retains nothing that it takes in. ― Leonardo da Vinci
Self-education is, I firmly believe, the only kind of education there is. -― Isaac Asimov
It is, in fact, nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry; for this delicate little plant, aside from stimulation, stands mainly in need of freedom. Without this it goes to wrack and ruin without fail. -― Albert Einstein
When very young, most children love to learn, to an amazing degree. They master crawling, standing, walking, running, and other physical skills. They acquire impressive vocabularies. In most cases, their creativity and love for learning are extinguished when they start formal schooling.
Unschooling, child-led learning, passion-based learning – however we call it – strives not to extinguish that flame, but to nurture, encourage and feed it. Under these conditions, a child’s natural curiosity and playfulness become a hidden superpower, Within months, your child can leap ahead by years – in their field of interest. When interested, children retain astonishing amounts of information.
By contrast, for most students, the factory process is a waste of time. A select few excel, while the vast majority lag far behind. Much of what is taught is not learned, is forgotten shortly after the last school bell is heard by the bored, bitter, and disillusioned child.
This is far from inevitable. (Bloom 2 Sigma paper) It is a result of a deficient process, not of deficient children.