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Learning to be Happy

As we come out of the Thanksgiving holiday, it seems appropriate to touch on one of the many things that I'm grateful for: a job and a career that I really enjoy. Growing up, my father always complained about his job, but I naïvely thought that was an anomaly. As I get older and come into contact with more people, I've begun to realize how unusual my own circumstances are. When people ask me what my hobbies are, it's sometimes hard to come up with something separate from my job, but when you love what you do at work, why wouldn't you want to keep on doing it at home? It's not that I'm a workaholic, but it's just that programming is fun and it makes me happy.

After coming across a few articles today, namely "School Isn't for Learning" and "A Brief History of Education", it struck me that it's likely my homeschooling has contributed to this mindset about work. I feel strongly that homeschooling played a large part in my academic success and career path, but I had never considered my own education to be particularly aberrant. When compared to alternative schools like the Sudbury Valley School, my own education didn't contain elements of self-guided learning in the topical sense, but it did teach me how to be an independent learner.

I've always been fascinated by the history education and its origin as a mind-control mechanism for youth who would go on to fill the factories of the industrialized world. Lately, I've taken a secondary interest in modes of education, since my kids are fast approaching the age when we'll have to start making decisions about their own education. It's my hope that I can provide them with a learning environment that encourages them to explore the things that interest them, and drives them to pursue knowledge not because there will be a quiz next week, but because learning is fun and it makes them happy.

School today is the place where all children learn the distinction that hunter-gatherers never knew—the distinction between work and play.