YouTube vs University
You don't get a certificate from YouTube, but you do get one from University, but does it really matter? Is it more important to have a piece of paper, and does that improve your chances of being successful in your chosen field?
I mean, an interesting question is an understatement. Somehow, again, it falls on my lap just like many others of the questions @eco-alex comes up with.
Yeah, I have degrees. Like so many others, my school, society, and parents taught me that it was essential to have a piece of paper with achievements written on it in order to be something in this world. The associate's degree, hospitality, was the one where I probably learned the most since it involved a great deal of practical work, but nothing I couldn't have done without the degree, especially since both my parents and brother had been working in the field for many years. University? I managed to have fun at times, but mostly I was there because I didn't quite feel like finding a full-time job just yet. And again, nothing I wouldn't have been able to do without going into class. The very best thing I have done right after that time was to travel and see a little bit of the world. That experience was the most valuable in any way and when I got back to Holland, jobs were literally thrown at me because employers also seemed to see it that way.
Then, much later, I took the course for hypnotherapy. But this was something I really wanted to do and was interested in, so I loved every single minute of it, and became passionate about the subject.
OK, so it might be a bit hard to become a plastic surgeon or a cardiologist just by watching YouTube videos.
But would it really be impossible to learn whatever you set your mind to in your own time and place?
Learning while in university means a lot of self-study anyway, without teachers telling you exactly what to do. Nowadays the information can be found in books and online, when I was in university there was internet, but it wasn't used for school work just yet, so I completely depended on the library and our book list for information.
Doctors, lawyers, and other professionals learn most of what they need to know from others that tell them about their experience, from books written by doctors and lawyers before them, teachers who learned it from those same books and their teachers and so on. True, it is probably impossible to acquire an internship at a hospital when you flap your internet course results in front of their faces unless the hospital is not on the map anywhere.
But I truly believe that with today's huge amount of easily-to-acquire information, people we can talk to online, and an evergrowing online database, it will in the future definitely be possible to learn just about anything you set your mind to, without ever setting one foot in any classroom.
As a radical unschooling (homeschooling) mom, I can attest to that. Kids can and will learn if we let them.
If we don't drag them into
concentration camps schools, day in, day out, and force them to sit there for hours on end and listen to information they're mostly not even interested in, and has been chewed up and spit out many times over.
Information that is oftentimes outdated, not always accurate and basically exactly the same everywhere there are schools.
Critical thinking is not only not wanted in most schools, but it is also shunned like a bad case of the flu.
The authoritative way a lot of teachers and school, and even parents, behave when it comes to 'their children' is simply not working anymore. It probably hasn't been working since the '70s if you ask me. Children are not anyone's property. Yes, my children are my children, but they are their own little individuals, with their own minds and brains, and they are very well capable of making great decisions on their own account. If we let them.
Our experiences in child-led learning
My youngest son, who recently turned 5, has had many ideas about how he wants his life to be. I've heard the 'usual' policeman, firefighter, and even pro wrestler pass by. The superhero was also quite high on his list. However, one day he came in and said:
"I KNOW what I want to be when I grow up! I want to be a digger!"
"Wow, that's amazing! So what will you dig for?"
"Well, dinosaur bones of course!"
He's had a keen interest in dinosaurs and fossils ever since he could crawl.
He knows every damn dinosaur's name by heart, even the ones I can't even pronounce if I tried.
How? By watching videos on YouTube.
He knows things about the animal kingdom that I had never even heard of.
All from watching David Attenborough and other animal programs online and by 'reading' the many books he has.
His new favourite book is, amazingly, a book that his older brother dropped and never looked at again.
It's earth science and human history. He doesn't read the words, but he definitely understands what it's about.
And slowly but surely he is teaching himself how to read, by listening to me or his siblings read, and by just looking at the text in the books. It's amazing what a child is capable of when they're interested in something and when we let them.
Maybe next year he'll want to become a painter or a car mechanic, or whatever his great, free mind comes up with. And maybe he'll stick with 'dinosaur bone digger', who knows? The best and only thing, in my opinion, I can do is to support him in every way he wants to go and to make sure he knows he can do anything once he puts his mind to it.
My eldest son, who will be 10 in October, has had a keen interest in anything that has anything to do with computers since he was 5.
As with many other boys his age, he loves his games and he's getting damn good at it. Heck, I used to think I was quite good myself, but his little fingers surpassed me in agility and speed a long time ago.
He's teaching himself coding. All of it online. He's surpassed me in that too, because to be honest, I really haven't got a clue what the hell he's talking about half the time.
For the past year or so, he's been telling us that his dream is to either make games for a living, or to play games.
Why not both? With all that is already here today, and all that is still on the books for the future in regards to technology, it's very well possible. I mean, there are 4-year-old YouTubers making more money in a year than I've ever even seen in my whole life! Those things were only happening sporadically when I was going to school. Only really when a child had success as an actor or maybe as a singer.
He's also very creative and his drawings are simply amazing. Oh, and did I mention that he too, taught himself how to read?
Hehe, by now you must be thinking: "Wow, that mother is simply the laziest mother alive. Not teaching her children anything. But I do. Yeah, I'm lazy too sometimes, just like every other person. Sometimes it's quite convenient that they decide to do something for themselves so I can work. In our house, it just has to be that way, because I work from home so I will have to work with the kids around that schedule somehow. Hey, half the time I really don't know how to work it all in a day, but that's OK. The house is clean but messy. I don't always wash the dishes right away. My children, keeping a roof over our heads and food on the table have priority. The laundry and dishes are not going anywhere.
My youngest daughter, just 11 (going on 42...I call her 'Mom') loves to dance. She's good at any sport she takes on.
She plays Gaelic Football, and also played soccer last year, but now decided to drop Gaelic and just play soccer next season.
It doesn't matter, she loves both and is good at what she sets her mind to.
She has dance classes, but the best of her dances come from a lot of practice and...YouTube videos.
Man, there hasn't been a video she hasn't watched. Ballet, modern dance, hip-hop, you name it: she's seen it and tried it.
She's made up her own choreography for a talent show at a homeschool gathering we went to recently and she and her friend performed on stage after only an hour or so of practice. It was perfect!
Here at home, she's always listening to music and singing. It doesn't always sound perfect, but as long as she enjoys it, I tell her she sounds great. The greatest singers aren't always perfect either. Even to my surprise, she sang at the talent show (she was too shy last year) and she was pretty damn good!
Recently, she's picked up something else she really enjoys doing. She's making little animated videos with background music.
In one week only, she's posted 4 of them on YouTube (yes, Dtube will be done too!). OK, she doesn't have a lot of followers, or even likes, but we all started somewhere didn't we?
And my eldest? Not a clue what she wants to do with her life just yet. And she doesn't have to. She went back to school when she was 15, met her boyfriend there and ended up not liking the place too much. She decided she wants to finish it, just to 'get the diploma', but she also realized that she really didn't need to go there to learn what they 'teach'.
She and her boyfriend want to travel, see the world, and I'll be the last person to tell them not to.
Meanwhile, he also made an account here, he just hasn't figured out what to do yet. It will come, all in time.
My daughter will be 18 in January and aside from the urge to travel, she has many interests. She loves photography and has a great eye for the perfect scene too. The other day we were talking about painting her room, and she came up with something that was absolutely incredible. We still have to test it and see what it will look like, but I think it will be amazing. The creativity is there, something that's not taught in any school.
My chat with a life-long unschooler
A few weeks ago at the homeschooler gathering that we went to, I spoke to a young man in his early twenties who was organizing and leading the talent show.
It was quite interesting what he had to say. He told us that he went to school, only for two years, the final two of highschool.
When asked about that, he said that the only thing he had learned from that experience, was that he really didn't have to go there to learn what he learned. He was happy to have the experience because now he knew that he didn't miss anything. After this, he decided not to pursue college and go his own way. From an early age, he had been interested in music and after a few basic lessons, he taught himself how to play the guitar and drums. Now, he was working part-time at a cafe, a job that he enjoys, and he gives guitar lessons. Aside from that he and his (also homeschooled) brother are working on their own music recording studio, and they give workshops as well as help others to record their music.
They just recorded, produced and launched their first album. When I asked him: "Are you doing what you love?" He smiled and said: "ABSOLUTELY!"
School and university are not that bad...
I guess that school/college/university isn't all that bad for everyone. The one thing, however, that I feel is pretty bad, is that the emphasis is on grades and results. If you have a C or D, or even worse, you need to step it up to try and get that B or A. The other way around, a perfect A-student probably feels a lot of pressure to keep those A's.
It's a lot to live up to and it's a system that sets students up for failure. After all: when did your D's ever turn into A's without a huge struggle, if at all? And if they did, how long before those grades fell back again?
Without that perfect score, you were probably told, you won't get very far. Really?
The result-oriented school system with all those grades is basically teaching children, as they've done for over a hundred years, that if you don't get good grades, you're a failure. An 'I can't' branded in their minds. And that is something they carry with them throughout their lives. Maybe most don't realize it, but they do. When those C and D students then try to pursue anything at all, this 'I can't' attitude follows them, and even if they manage to get a good job, they will most likely feel like a second rate citizen for a long time, if not forever. "I can't afford that with my wages." "I can't learn anything else, I am stuck here." This simple phrase "I can't" would be everyone's downfall.
Now, what if we take that student, that feels too much pressure in school and let him or her learn at their own pace, from the comfort of their own home, and subjects that they are really interested in? What do you think will happen?
Has it ever occurred to you that maybe you'd get someone who finds their true calling? Something they will love to do and because of that, they will excel at? Not everyone is a straight-A student, and not everyone wants or needs to be. In fact: I'd even go as far as to say that no one needs to be if we let them learn what they want to. Because if they learn what they really want to, they will become passionate about it and with that they will become experts in their chosen field. Just imagine if everyone would go to university and no one would want to become plumbers, or electricians or car mechanics.
I've heard this woman on Dutch TV once say: 'When I walk out the door, and my car doesn't start, I really want that amazing mechanic to help me out and not the guy with his college degrees." True, right?
Of course, self-led learning, unschooling, homeschooling or even radical unschooling isn't for everyone. I feel amazingly blessed that I can make it work for us. I work from home, so I can, many others don't have that luxury and I am well aware of that.
However, coming back to the subject of University vs YouTube, I will have to say that we can learn almost everything online.
I know for a fact that there are developers out there, that didn't learn everything they know in school, but are still producing amazing work. There are many people who started with nothing, and no diplomas, who purely because they had an interest that became a passion, have now become successful in whatever they pursued. When I look at my son when he draws, from the mind, he draws what he sees, or experiences and not what any teacher tells him to draw or how to draw it. When he wants to know more about techniques, he will find it online. Without the pressure...
Personally, I've fixed some of the plumbing around the house by watching YouTube videos.
I know how to tend to our vegetable garden by watching videos and reading other people's stories online. Most of what needs to get done with any of our computers, I do it with my good friend Google and even the car has some internet inspired repairs done. You name it, and you'll find it online. "How to become an entrepreneur" is usually not taught in any classroom, and some of the most successful entrepreneurs never even set foot in a university. When schools teach that not being a straight-A student makes you a failure, they surely don't teach how to follow your passion, or how to become successful. There are very capable maths teachers, language teachers, music teachers and even medical doctors online who love to share their knowledge and upload their videos on YouTube.
And even though there will still be some things we can't learn online, I think that even learning to become a plastic surgeon through these media is not too far in the future. Not far at all.
The people in this video agree...
Thank you for reading!