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The Million Dollar Question

August 11th, 2011. Chiba, Japan.

A mix of confusion and awe as I step off the platform.

I must have made a mistake. But maybe a good mistake.

Birds caw and cicadas click gently, filling the warm afternoon air with sounds of nature. The train platform is open to the air and on the other side of the tracks is a high fence. Beyond it, a bicycle and walking path leading to a park.

Children are running around and playing in the park, but surprisingly quietly. Very Japanese.

The Worry That Your Unschooler Isn't Learning What He Should Be Learning

On Unschoolery

By Leo Babauta

It seems that many parents here in the U.S. (and very possibly in other countries) are worried about how much their child is learning by a certain age. Does my kid know everything that a 2nd grader should know? Is my kid learning as fast as other 3-year-olds? Does my sister's kid know more than my kid does?

I think the traditional school system encourages this (there are non-traditional schools that break away from it). Schools have decided that all kids need to know X, Y, and Z by age 6, and then U, V, and W by age 7, and so on. How does this get determined? Who are these oracles of education who know exactly what our kids need to know by age 18, and can predict what the future will be like at that time? It's impossible. None of us could have predicted what 2013 was like in 1999, and we certainly don't know what the world will be like in another 10-15 years.

So I've stopped worrying so much about learning X by a certain age. I've also decided it's pointless to compare my kids to any other kids. What's the point? Life isn't a race. It doesn't matter who learns what by any age -- what matters is that we're preparing our kids for life, and that they have the tools to be happy and do what they want as adults.

That's what matters.

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