“6-Year-Old Stares Down Bottomless Abyss Of Formal Schooling”

September 19, 2008 at 10:58 pm (amazing things, frightening things, funny things, injustice)

I read this article at The Onion when it came out last month, and I have been haunted by it ever since.

Shortly after his mommy, homemaker Ellen Bolduc, 31, assured him that he would be able to resume playtime “when school lets out,” Connor’s innocent brain only then began to work out the implication of that sentence to its inevitable, soul-crushing conclusion.

When pressed for more detail on the exact timing of that event, Mrs. Bolduc would only reply “soon.” At that point, the normally energetic child grew quiet before asking a follow-up question, “After [younger sister] Maddy’s birthday?” thereby setting the stage for the first of thousands of rushing realizations he will be forced to come to grips with over the course of his subsequent existence.

Madison Ellen Bolduc was born on Sept. 28.

After learning that the first grade will continue for eight excruciating months beyond that date, it was only a matter of time before Bolduc inquired into what grade comes after first grade, and, when told, would probe further into how many grades he will have to complete before allowed to play with his friends.

That last sentence in particular runs through my head almost everyday. You should read the whole thing.

In all seriousness, I hereby vow not to send my children to formal school, on the basis of that article alone.


  1. Emily said,

    Wait, how many more WILL we have to complete before allowed to play with friends?!


  2. Daisy said,


    Still so. many. more.

  3. ballgame said,

    Paul Goodman concluded that the primary purpose of the educational system was to “break spirit.” His book on the topic, Compulsory Education, is apparently available online.

  4. ballgame said,

    That should be, Compulsory Miseducation.

  5. Daisy said,

    Ballgame: awesome, thanks for the links. That (e-)book looks great — I’m definitely going to read it. I’m pretty sure Goodman and I will have a lot to agree about.

  6. Steph said,

    I’m a big fan of John Taylor Gatto. Here’s a sample.

  7. Daisy said,

    Wow, Stephanie, thank you for the link — that’s an incredible speech. I will seek out more of his writing.

  8. The Bottomless Abyss Of Formal Schooling, Part I | Revolutionary Act said,

    […] The title, by the way, comes from here. […]

  9. The Bottomless Abyss of Formal Schooling, Part III | Revolutionary Act said,

    […] the comments to this post, I was offered two invaluable links that helped to catalyze my thinking on this subject. My aunt […]

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