I assume you're probably questioning the direction of this post, doubting it will impact you, and you're probably skeptical about what “crafting your own education” means anyway.
That is, if you’re like me.
If any (or all) of those statements were true for you, I encourage you to continue reading. You are the type of person I write for.
"I am absolutely convinced that meaninglessness does not come from being weary of pain; meaninglessness comes from being weary of pleasure. And that is why we find ourselves emptied of meaning with our pantries still full." - Ravi Zacharias
I believe that every individual has more potential and more power than a majority are told or believe growing up.
Society is dull.
People live a life of balancing crazy schedules, numbing routines and following in line. Sound familiar? It should. This is what has been deemed as "reality". This is the so-called "life" we are told to live.
The good news is you don't have to feel trapped.
“Excellence is to do a common thing in an uncommon way.” - Booker T. Washington
If you've decided to change the way you do education, understand there's not just one way of doing it.
I'm not talking about your options of schools to pick from. (Or the option to go to public school, be homeschooled, get tutoring... whatever.) I'm talking about education as tailored to fit you.
I'm not sure why schools are of the notion that education has to be a "one-size-fits-all" process, but that's a lie. The sad thing is that even those who may recognize an issue with the system this still feel pressured to educate themselves in the same way. Frankly, that sounds like torture.
Education should be something you enjoy and that you do for yourself (no one else).
"Separate schooling and education into compartments, and useful distinctions jump out at you: schooling is a matter of habit and attitude training. It takes place from the outside in. Education is a matter of self-mastery, first, then self-enlargement, even self-transcendence - as all possibilities of the human spirit open themselves into zones for exploration and understanding." - John Taylor Gatto
"Self-mastery" which leads to "self-enlargement" which leads to "self-transcendence". That is the key, and you will never accomplish any of these with schooling alone. You must make a mental shift.
How? Here are some tips:
1) Choose to set aside time, every day, for real, intense, and focused learning. 1 hour, 3 hours, 5 hours... Whatever you can, but it must be a priority.
2) Start with what you like. (This is the self-mastery part.) Is it art? Science? Philosophy? Psychology? Whatever it is, start there. If you're not sure, that's perfectly fine! You're not limited. You have an incredible amount of options.
3) This is more than the fact-memorization you do in school. Treat this time and dedication as more of an art. Whatever you learn, learn it like an artist. Observe, dwell, create, and share - these must be included in education.
4) Eventually, after lots of learning and trying things, you will find a subject you just can't give up. (Or, maybe a few.) Once you find yourself in love with something, run with it. Dive really deep into the subject. (This is the self-enlargement part of the process.) Learn from the greatest in the field, learn all of the opposing arguments, learn how it affects you, the world, society, etc. Go really far with it.
5) Remember, this will take time. But, what you'll find is that you will fall in love with learning a subject, and that love for learning will start to bleed into other subjects. It will start to change your worldview and your way of life. It won't happen overnight, and you will struggle, but it will be worth all of the hard work and dedication.
Crafting your own education, is, crafting your own life.
Here are some books that will help:
1 - "Up From Slavery" by Booker T. Washington This man was born into slavery in 1856. This is his journey of breaking out of bondage, getting an education, and eventually, opening a school. It's one of the most inspirational books I've ever read.
2 - "A Thomas Jefferson Education" by Oliver DeMille If you are struggling with this method of education, this book will help you with all of your doubts and questions. Making a shift was difficult for me, and it took almost a full year, but this book will provide you with some guidance.
3 - "8 Great Smarts" by Kathy Koch Yes, this is a book written for parents for raising their children. BUT, I promise you will gain some self-knowledge from it. For one thing, most of us had to go through a one-size-fits-all system, and our full potential wasn't nurtured from the beginning. To make a shift in education, getting a grasp of yourself, your strengths, and your weaknesses, will make all of the difference.
In addition to these three books, I highly recommend you study up on your personality type. This will not only educate you about yourself, but it will help you understand the ways in which your brain is motivated and takes in information.
I hope this idea of doing education differently excites you. Sure, I imagine you probably have questions. (You can email me if you'd like.) But, don't worry so much about the bigger picture. Start small, and craft as you go along.