Category Archives: school = prison

Poor Claude (Monet)

“I was born undisciplined. Never, even as a child, could I be made to obey a set rule. What little I know I learned at home. School was always like a prison to me, I could never bring myself to stay there, even four hours a day, when the sun was shining and the sea was so tempting, and it was such fun scrambling over cliffs and paddling in the shallows. Such, to the great despair of my parents, was the unruly but healthy life I lived until I was fourteen or fifteen. In the meantime I somehow picked up the rudiments of reading, writing and arithmetic, with a smattering of spelling. And there my schooling ended. It never worried me very much because I always had plenty of amusements on the side. I doodled in the margins of my books, I decorated our blue copy paper with ultra-fantastic drawings, and I drew the faces and profiles of my schoolmasters as outrageously as I could, distorting them out of all recognition.”

== Claude Monet (On November 26, 1900 the Paris, France newspaper “Le Temps” published this autobiographyquoted in: Denis Rouart (1972) Claude Monet, p. 21 : About his youth


“J’étais un indiscipliné de naissance ; on n’a jamais pu me plier, même dans ma petite enfance, à une règle.

C’est chez moi que j’ai appris le peu que je sais. Le collège m’a toujours fait l’effet d’une prison, et je n’ai jamais pu me résoudre à y vivre, même quatre heures par jour, quand le soleil était invitant, la mer belle, et qu’il faisait si bon courir sur les falaises, au grand air, ou barboter dans l’eau.

Jusqu’à quatorze ou quinze ans, j’ai vécu, au grand désespoir de mon père, cette vie assez irrégulière, mais très saine. Entre temps, j’avais appris tant bien que mal mes quatre règles, avec un soupçon d’orthographe. Mes études se sont bornées là. Elles n’ont pas été trop pénibles, car elles s’entremêlaient pour moi de distractions. J’enguirlandais la marge de mes livres, je décorais le papier bleu de mes cahiers d’ornements ultra-fantaisistes, et j’ y représentais, de la façon la plus irrévérencieuse, en les déformant le plus possible, la face ou le profil de mes maîtres.”

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School!!! Prison!!!

There is this funny/sad video I remembered seeing a while back where a group of kids (off-screen) is shown photographs of schools and prisons mixed together and they had to guess which each was. So they would call out “School!!!” or “Prison!!!”. Except sometimes it is not so obvious.

Anyway, here is the clip from the documentary, “The War on Kids”. Starting at approximately 22 minutes in with a few seconds of lead-in from a discussion with a school principal.

For what it is worth, I am very happy to be able to send my kids (since they were age 4) to a school that doesn’t look like (or function like) either a school or a prison. I guess it looks more like a really big house or something to that effect. And it works more like a small town or something like that. I say that because kids literally do what they want all day (as long as they aren’t bugging someone else.) And of course with that freedom comes the flip-side: the responsibility. It is a truly democratic school. Sudbury Valley School.

funny clip during credits: 

UPDATE: The War on Kids is available at Amazon — both DVD and streaming.
The War on Kids

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