An Introduction, Page 2
Parents, in increasing numbers, are seeking
alternatives to mainstream education. Few could criticize the
commitment to academic excellence that most schools and teachers
have and work hard to actualize. But more and more parents realize
that just learning academics is not enough, and they see young
people in their communities suffering from a lack of needed
learning, and society suffering as well.
Parents worry about the negative social influence
they see affecting their children. Parents see themselves having
less impact on their children's behavior, relationships, and
attitudes than the media and marketing which directly targets
children. As a result children's senses of themselves and self-images
are under pressure. This pressure is expressed in:
- Increased competitiveness in many aspects
of a child's social life, such as sports, out-of-school activities,
and of course, school.
- Obsessive concern for their "look,"
from their body shape to their clothes.
- Violence in many forms, from the physical
to the psychological and emotional.
Parents are also worried about negative learning
attitudes they see developing in their children. Parents saw
their children as infants eager to learn, and this eagerness
dissipated as these same children's schooling increased. Learning
becomes a necessary chore, driven by rewards and punishments,
and too often devoid of direct meaning in their children's lives.
Many parents also look at our current society
in which social problems seem to be getting worse; in which
those considered successful are too often greedy, corrupt, and
brutal; in which families and communities seem increasingly
dysfunctional; and they ask, "Why aren't we as humans learning
what we need to know in order to live good and meaningful lives?"
It doesn't appear that we will learn such
things from learning more mathematics, literature, or history.
Parents see the need for their children to learn these other
things as well as academics, and they look for schools that
give time, attention, energy, and resources, to such learning.
Parents generally do not come to holistic education from philosophical
musings, but from a perceived need for their children that they
feel is not currently met.
3: What Do Children Need to Learn?
4: Helping Children Learn
is to bring about an integrated individual who is capable
of dealing with life
as a whole.