Passion-Driven Education
By Connor Boyack

Synopsis: This is a book for parents that helps them approach their children’s education in a different way than the conventional means, by using the child’s interests and passions as the nucleus of their learning process.

Strong Points: This book is an excellent tool to inspire parents toward a revolutionary approach to learning. It hearkens back to the more natural way for children to acquire knowledge, as opposed to sitting in instructional classrooms and being compelled to memorize and regurgitate information, characteristic of modern government education, which is a failing system. It first outlines the problems associated with government schooling, its Prussian beginnings in which it was meant to create compliant automatons for the state, and its undesirable results. Then it proceeds to discuss a natural way for children to acquire knowledge, relates success stories for such methods, and provides practical examples for parents about how this methodology can be used. It is also an interesting and quick read, and does not feel burdensome. Recommended for parents who distrust the government school system and are looking for something better for their children.

Weak Points: Many parents will find implementing the practical advice challenging, because the methods and mindset behind it are so radically different from what we are accustomed to. And while the book and its message will be useful to all parents, it is most successfully and easily implemented by homeschooling parents.

Interesting: 4/5

Must Read: 4/5

Overall: 4/5

Pages: 173

Selected Quotes: “Let me be clear: structure is not inherently evil or always unhelpful. If it is balanced out with some of the solutions we will discuss later, it can certainly have its place – and even be beneficial. But structured schooling has been considered by too many people, for far too long, as the proverbial treasure map of education: if only we follow the map’s instructions, walking 50 steps ahead, then turning right and walking 30 steps, we will surely arrive at the treasure chest that awaits us. But that pot of gold is a mirage; education is not a destination – it’s a process and lifestyle.” (p. 28-29).

“If some of the most important skills in one’s life are not developed after nearly two decades of institutionalized schooling, then what was the point?” (p. 68).

“This is part of a larger issue – that of individualism versus collectivism. Under an individualist method of organizing society, each person is independent and free to pursue their own interests and desires. They have unalienable rights that are respected and protected. They control their own destiny and need only ensure that as they embark in their ‘pursuit of happiness’ they do not harm another person or violate their rights in the process. Collectivism, on the other hand, places the supposed interests of society before those of the individual; what matters is the whole, and not necessarily any individual part. A select few people are placed in charge of determining how to organize the affairs of the many in an attempt to realize the greater good.
“As it pertains to children, the collectivist mindset can be found in industrialized education systems that encourage commonality and require standardized learning. All must learn the same things and be given the same opportunities. … Government departments of education, school boards, curriculum committees – these and other centralized institutions of power and influence give a platform for central planners to create systems and processes that they can impose on the masses. Rightly did George Orwell note that collectivism ‘gives to a tyrannical minority such powers as the Spanish Inquisitors never dreamt of’ – in this case, the power to shape the opinions and beliefs of the rising generation. Parents are to be considered more procreators and breadwinners; others know what is best for the child’s future, and therefore what they need to learn.
“The individualist mindset, however, sets aside these systems to focus specifically on your unique child. Parents are considered the resident experts for their children; no elected official, bureaucrat, or financially incentivized curriculum salesman knows better than you. The needs and interests of your child are paramount, and all educational efforts should be catered to and customized for him or her. We can certainly use books, worksheets, lesson plans, and other prepared materials as a support should our child show interest, but we make sure that the curriculum conforms to the child’s interests, rather than coercing the child to conform to the curriculum.” (p. 85-87).

“The fact that such a complicated essay [as Thomas Paine’s Common Sense] was still so popular suggests that the people were not uneducated before the rise of the modern education system. But according to a survey by the National Assessment of Adult Literacy, only 13% of adult Americans have achieved an adequate level of proficiency to comprehend Common Sense.” (p. 115-116).


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