I was a pretty solitary kid. I don’t think it was due to any instinctive dislike of people, but I still liked keeping my own company. I guess some introverts start out young.
One of my favorite things to do was to go hunting for fossils. At the time, I just thought it was fun, kind of like the ultimate Easter egg hunt.
Some things never change. I still love looking for them. One of the last times I visited, I found these in my mom’s yard.
|I’m not 100% sure of if these are actually fossils, but they could be coral bases. The next two are definitely impressions left by ancient seashells.|
It wasn’t until later that I realized I was teaching myself about the world around me. I was connecting to the distant past; a time when the ancient, extinct volcanoes upon which I lived were still underwater.
The thought of holding something from hundreds of millions of years ago is humbling. Just thinking about the enormity of change these impressions have survived is awe inspiring. What are the odds that I, someone whose species didn’t even exist back then, can hold what’s left of a creature that will never live again?
Then, I think of all the trouble I had with what I was supposed to learn in the classroom. I think of how much I hated going to school and how hard I worked to memorize things other kids seemed to pick up with ease.
As an adult, I realize how easily that visible struggle is translated into a perception of a hatred of learning. How can someone hate something they voluntarily filled their free time with?
I think kids really do like learning. Play is all about learning, after all. Why can’t we tap into that natural curiosity and steer it to what “should” be taught?
It is true. No child should hate learning. Education shouldn’t be something to be dreaded, especially for the very young.
While I stand by the vital importance of formal education, I also think independent study is under-recognized by the world at large.
In fact, part of the beauty of neurodiversity is in how innovative we are in how we learning. That’s part of why so many scientists, engineers and professors are dyslexic, autistic or some other form of neurodiverse.
Is it possible to follow their examples to rekindle a love of learning in kids beaten down by school?
I like to think so.