I recently asked on my social media pages, ‘What’s the biggest lie you were taught at school?’
The question got such a huge response that I wanted to put all the replies in one place.
As homeschoolers, we frequently get people asking many versions of the question, ‘But what about what they’re missing?’
THIS is what they’re missing. THESE are the underlying messages of school. Some communicated plainly, some implicit in how children are treated every day.
100 Lies You Learned from School
That you need a degree to be successful.
That I should keep quiet about negative things that happen to me, because I’m stuck here anyway.
That only white men made important contributions to history.
That school resembled real life.
That school would prepare you for life.
That school is the only place you can get an education.
Doing well in school is the key to success.
Learning could only take place in a brick and mortar, government ran institution.
That your physical appearance is super important.
That you need to be careful about being too creative.
That you can only speak when you are spoken to by someone in authority.
Never to question.
What you decided you wanted to do for a job was what you would do for the rest of your life.
School days are the best days of your life.
That higher grades mean I’m better than others.
That grades and box ticking are more important than physical and mental health.
That school is compulsory.
That my feelings don’t matter.
That my side of the story isn’t important.
That your grade determines your worth.
That children can’t have a discussion with a teacher and question them in any way.
That I would ever use 90% of the maths I was taught.
That I would never amount to anything.
That you had to learn and retain every subject to be a well rounded person. You couldn’t/shouldn’t focus on things you’re naturally good at, love, or are interested in.
That I should do well, but not too well, because others will feel threatened.
That unquestioningly doing as you’re told and conforming is how you survive.
That academics or occupations define your value to society.
That I would be ‘wasting my potential’ if I didn’t meet their expectations.
That’s it’s not appropriate to socialise with anyone outside your age group.
Making mistakes is a bad thing.
You will be completely free and happy when you finish schooling.
That getting good grades and going to university was the ultimate aim.
That boredom was normal.
That others knew what was best for me.
A whitewashed version of history.
That you need university to succeed in life.
That being shy or quiet were flaws.
That you have to be quiet and tidy to do good work.
That if all the other kids could do it, I should be able to do it too.
That some people are smart and others are not.
Conformity is good.
That I need to look the same as everyone else.
That what we were doing was normal when it is all far from it.
That I needed to be there.
That I needed to be fixed.
That the disruptive kids were naughty.
That because I did things differently, I was wrong.
That I had to rely on someone else to make any progress.
That grades would matter.
That I was learning.
That people who worked abroad were more successful.
That you have to follow their ‘rules’.
There is no other way and only stupid people don’t go to school.
That you can only learn if you sit still and be silent.
That failure was something bad.
That I have to do what others expect me to do in order to be a good person.
Everybody is treated equal.
America is the good guy.
Get a good exam pass and you will get a good job.
That peers are more important than parents.
That I wasn’t good enough.
That I am a burden.
Adults know more and are always right.
Hard work guarantees success.
That I had to ask permission to use the bathroom.
That it’s ok to be punished for how I look.
That wearing too short of shorts and too thin of straps was disruptive to others and therefore their failures were my fault.
You are not good enough if you can’t learn at the same pace.
That the pythagorean theory would be useful.
That student loan debt is the good kind of debt and won’t matter.
That it matters, and my whole future depends on it.
You can’t learn without a teacher.
That adults are more important.
To doubt myself.
That the future was more important than the present.
That I have to do what others tell me to do.
That learning happens in a classroom.
Being unique is wrong.
That school is necessary for socialisation.
To stop daydreaming.
That creativity was less valuable than academics.
That what you’re interested in doesn’t matter.
That it’s ok to be mean to others.
That children can’t be trusted.
Your worth depends on the approval of others.
Obedience is a good thing.
That the teacher is an expert.
That even if you hated school at the time, when you got older you would magically reflect on it as the best days of your life.
That learning is boring.
That play isn’t important.
That being disconnected from nature is normal.
I shouldn’t stand up for people being bullied.
That teacher’s cared.
That children need to be controlled.
That’s not the kind of education I want for my children. School does a very poor job at teaching the things they claim to, and a superb job at teaching the lies above. These have a lasting impact on people, and are the real ‘education’ of school. No thanks. It’s time they did better.