Freedom to Learn

If you have read any of my past blog posts, you’ve noticed that I mention one reason that I don’t particularly like going to school is the whole freedom-limiting aspect. But what do I mean by that? Let me articulate and expand upon one aspect this vague idea that I refer to over and over again – Freedom to Learn.

Working at a coffee shop two years ago with Isaac and Jadyn while my parents attended an event.
Working at a coffee shop two years ago with Isaac and Jadyn while my parents attended an event.

In my mind, homeschooling was a synonym for freedom. I could look up anything I wanted, any time of the day. I’d take breaks every once in a while to research a topic or an idea that I had wanted to know about, and occasionally write about them, such as this post from a while ago that I wrote about various phobias. I simply was interested in the hilarious and unique names for different phobias that I didn’t even know existed. As a result, I discovered the name of the one phobia I had and currently have: Ichthyophobia, or the irrational fear of fish. It’s always been a weird aspect of myself, as I’m not irrationally scared of anything else, and I’d rather have spiders crawl over me than jump into a lake with a fish. Anyways, back to the topic at hand.

I learned a lot more than just that, though. Every once in a while, I’d randomly stop my work and go learn something, some of which turned out to be beneficial to me later in life. Once, when I was learning Pre-Algebra through Khan Academy, I decided I wanted to learn basic trigonometry. So, I switched out of the Pre-Algebra tab and selected the Trig course. After an hour of work, I ingrained in my brain the trig functions and their uses. At the time, mom thought that although I was learning, I should be getting back to my actual work. Turns out, all that work wasn’t for nothing… Recently, in my Geometry class, we’ve been learning the basics of Trig, and my prior knowledge of the subject allowed me to drift off and rest in class for a few days and not miss anything I didn’t already know.

As I learned new things, I found myself memorizing things with only a few minutes of practice, which helped my acquisition of knowledge greatly. I can still recite 40 digits of Pi after not practicing for over a year (3.14159265358979323846… I’m not going to continue that), remember exactly what pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis is and how to pronounce it, and list off my favorite cryptids (I did a two part post about this in 2014, which you can read here).

My point is, while school provides many new ideas to ponder and write about, it’s limited in that the teachers and administration choose what I learn, rather than myself. I learned so much from homeschooling that wasn’t actually part of my curriculum, such as how to make money from YouTube, the best buying and selling prices of various iPhones on eBay, or how to create my own non-electric, non-steerable and wood-made go-cart (Yes, I did that, and it was extremely fun being pulled by a friend on a bike down the street, racing against other kids).

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