This was published as part of the first edition of the Primer Papers, a publication created by the kids at the Primer Newsroom. Primer is building the world’s first home for ambitious kids. Learn more here and find out how your kid can publish too.
About the Author
I’m Maya and I’m 13 years old. In my free time I enjoy reading, baking, playing tennis, and hanging out with my friends. Usually, I don’t write much, but the topic of education really inspired me to do this!
Education: From a Kid’s Perspective
When was the last time you thought about your education? I’m 13. Right now, one of my main responsibilities is to be a student, and prepare myself for the future. My future. I have gone to a bilingual preschool, been homeschooled, gone to public school, taken many online classes/courses, and even a college class. Through all of these, and interacting with different types of people, I think that kids should have more say in their education.
As technology moves forward, shouldn’t our education system move forward as well? The idea of modern schooling — teachers teaching in a classroom of students, learning an organized curriculum — has been around since the 19th century. As technology and our social norms change, shouldn’t our idea of education change with us? Yet, here we are, in the 21st century, educating children in a way that isn’t even an efficient way of learning for many kids.
As a kid who’s experienced many different kinds of learning, I find that homeschooling works best for me. Homeschooling works best for me because I’m allowed to go at my own pace.I can sleep in a bit more, and I can choose to take a lot of classes I wouldn’t be able to take at a regular school. These are just some of the many ways homeschooling works best with my style of learning. While this is a good fit for me, it might not work for others. Some kids might thrive on the social aspect or the rigid structure of school — that just isn’t me. Through trying many forms of school, I’ve learned that nothing is perfect. There will always be something that isn’t perfect, but I’m still glad I get to choose the option that works best for me. Through different types of education, I’ve been able to meet kids who have different backgrounds than me. I enjoy conversing with people who have different backgrounds because I can widen my view of the world and get different perspectives on life. Speaking to others, I’ve realized that some kids would have benefited so much from being able to choose their form of learning as opposed to having their parents send them to public school. Their full potential just wasn’t being reached.
Speaking of perspective, I find this generic dictionary definition of education interesting. While yes, this definition is technically true, I’m not talking about technicalities. I enjoy looking at life from a more philosophical stance, so this definition brings up many questions. I find it fascinating that we as a society have decided that education is simply the passing or collection of information. Education shouldn’t be pre-organized before educators have even met their students. Each human being is unique, and so is their style of learning. Shouldn’t the standardized education system be prepared to alter the method of teaching for each student?
To me, education is the process of stretching your curiosity to explore uncharted territories. Education should be fun — not something kids will dread because it’s draining them mentally and physically. I’ve never really understood homework, especially when it was just a time-wasting repeat of what happened in class. Repetition is one way of being able to learn something, but I don’t need to write each spelling word out 10 times before the test! The only thing that succeeded in was making my fingers hurt. I’ve taken many online classes geared towards homeschooled and/or 2e kids — 2e, or twice-exceptional, means that they have exceptional ability and disability. They are gifted in some way but they also face learning or developmental challenges — and while these classes do give homework, it’s never a repeat of what happens in class. It’s always work that will further enhance what you learned in class and allow you to go deeper if you’re particularly interested in that topic.
I’ve been extremely lucky to have adults in my life advocating for me to follow my dreams and are willing to help me find resources to further support my interests. I hope that kids will have more adults willing to listen to them. Ask what they want to learn. Ask “how can I help?” and never “oh don’t pursue that, you’ll never make good money as a ___”. I know quite a few kids who are discouraged from following their passions (especially in the artistic/creative field) because “it won’t make good money.” Having people in your life that care about your education is so helpful. Whether it’s finding a new and intriguing class, or finding an interesting book, or even finding an amazing community like Primer, it makes all the difference. Primer has definitely opened a whole world of possibilities. Where else would I have the chance to publish an article on education? Primer’s mission is to take kids seriously, and I think that principle needs to be adopted by many educational systems.
A couple of years ago, I took a class called “Mapping the World by Heart” at Athena’s Advanced Academy. The goal was to be able to draw a map of the world without looking at a reference photo. While I didn’t reach the goal, I ended the year with some amazing hand drawn maps, immense geographical knowledge, and a profound interest in maps. This is the type of education that I think needs to be more widely used. We were able to learn about geography and different cultures, while adding the fun of drawing some really cool maps. It combined a lot of fun things, while still retaining the core material of any geography class.
Bringing fun into the classroom is one of the best ways to let kids have more say in their education. Having teachers listen to the students, take feedback, and create a fun and immersive curriculum can make all the difference. Oftentimes kids have an extremely new and unique view on the world, and I think letting kids help shape their curriculum will prevent burnout and mental health problems before they’re even able to hit their full potential. Hopefully, as new education startups and schools pop up, we as a society will help the next generations rise up and meet our biggest unknown: the future.
P.S. If you know a kid who has a creative itch, don’t hesitate to have them submit a pitch to the Primer Papers by reaching out at firstname.lastname@example.org .
If your kid has enjoyed the work or resonated with the perspectives of any of the kids published in the Primer Papers, please let us know!