Free to Learn really made me question and look at my beliefs about child development and education. I was always a serous child and was encouraged to be responsible and learn. I was praised for being beyond my grade level and acting like an adult. Acting like a child by laughing, playing and doing something with no purpose other than fun was discouraged. This isn’t a unique story. This is what most kids experience. Peter Gray’s book talks about how America is a democracy, but our school system is not. Children have no say in what they learn, and schools have become prisons. There are numerous studies proving kids learn better through play, and yet kids have less and less time to be kids and spend more and more time doing homework. The Sudbury Valley School in Massachusetts was founded in 1968 as a democratic and free school. There is no curriculum, no class schedule, no grades. All learning is self-directed. Children can play games, bake cookies, read stories to younger children, or even leave campus to learn something they are interested in. There are no tests, no homework, and no required reading. These kids go on to college and any number of careers with a very different mind set than most children.
This book made me rethink everything about school. Every time I thought, well what about this or that, the author had a study and data that debunked the common beliefs about education. After reading this book, I would never send my child to public school. I have always loved to learn but I hated school. I was bullied, called names and generally harassed almost every single day, and the way in which teachers taught was not the way in which I learned. I did have some really excellent teachers, but for the most part I had to do a workaround in my head because my learning process was so different than what was taught. Most kids do not have that option. They spend all their time struggling just to do the assignments, and they never get around to pursuing what inspires them. Your child may be the next Monet. But he’s too busy trying to learn calculus instead of taking an art class because it’s more important for getting into college. Most kids get discouraged and never reach their full potential. If we had more schools like Sudbury Valley, I really think more would and the world would be a better place.
Thanks to a friend who’s taking a Human Sexuality class, I’ve been introduced to some amazing books. The Clitoral Truth is a book that every woman needs to read. The emotional and physical aspects of sexual pleasure are never covered in biology or sex education classes. Mostly, you get the basics of the reproductive systems, and everyone glosses over or ignores the rest out of embarrassment or fear of angering some conservative parent. I didn’t realize how ignorant I was about the anatomy of my own body until I read this book. The female genitals if they are discussed at all in biology classes are only referred to as part of the reproductive system. The only organs that are usually mentioned are the vagina, uterus, ovaries, and Fallopian tubes. The clitoris is never mentioned because it’s not necessary for making a baby, only for pleasure. What most people think of as the clitoris is only just the tip of the iceberg. There is basically a corresponding female sexual organ for every male sexual organ because the genitals come out of the same fetal tissue. The little nub that everyone thinks of as the clitoris equals the head of the penis. There’s a whole other world under the surface and women and girls need to know.
Female sexual pleasure is not discussed in the majority of households in the world. Teachers in Taoism and Tantra knew that sexual pleasure is essential to physical and spiritual well being and considered it to be a pathway to enlightenment Even in areas where Taoism is still practiced, the concept of Sacred Sex has largely been lost. With all the religious conservatives in this country, there’s no way any of this will be taught in schools anytime soon, so it’s up to women to educate themselves and their daughters in the pleasure of sex and the human body. To me your sexuality is a vital part of you. Orgasm is about as close to God as you can come in this physical realm. Anyone who says differently has never had a good orgasm. If you cut off your sexuality, you’re crippling your own spiritual development. I’ve always been an advocate for learning and exploring everything so that ignorance and the fear that normally accompanies it do not control your life. This book is a good place to start.
It’s taken me way too long to post these pictures. A while ago I took a trip down to Adams Blvd near the USC campus. I’d heard about the amazing houses on the street that used to be referred to as Millionaire’s Row. It was home to the city’s elite before Hollywood and Beverly Hills were built. Beautiful mansions from the early 20th century can still be seen, though they’ve all been repurposed for other uses. Some are part of Mount St. Mary’s College, others are now USC student housing. Sadly, many others are falling apart and have lost the elegance and grace from times past, but there are still some examples of various architecture styles including Victorian, Craftsman, and Spanish Colonial Revival. I also couldn’t pass up taking pictures of the great buildings at USC.