Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Holistic Education, An Introduction - Part 2

In order to allow for family time during this vacation week, instead of our usual variety of postings we will share an introduction to the ideas behind Holistic Education from Holistic Education, Inc.

Why Holistic Education?

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.

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