Start School Later

Enrolling children in school based on age is a flawed practice. It is unfair to presume that all children are at the same developmental level based on age. Some would benefit from beginning school later, while others may be ready to skip ahead. Personally, I don’t know when I should have been enrolled in school, but the entire time I was there was the wrong time.

It’s not that school work was ever too difficult for me. Except for the more complicated kinds of math. That shit is still more than I ever want to deal with. There were classes in school where I could have probably skipped ahead. Things involving reading and writing, I’ve always been pretty good at those. Not counting actual handwriting; a more slapdash hybrid scrawl you’ve never seen.The rigidity of the school system is a detrimental minefield. Rather than going into a class based on age and taking the same prescribed classes with everyone else in your age group, it makes far more sense to take classes based on your specific level of ability. For example, I could have been taking what are currently 12th grade English classes and 6th grade math classes concurrently, perhaps while in the equivalent of the 8th or 9th grade. It should be acknowledged that people are better at certain things than others and their educational careers should be adapted accordingly. Giving children bad grades and letting them progress doesn’t help anyone, and having conditions which lead to children dropping out damn sure doesn’t. We shouldn’t be forcing children into uniform curricula and making them feel bad when certain fields are too difficult and bored when others are too simple. Education should be tailored and taught according to every person’s particular level of ability.

But I’m not even talking about any of that. It’s a great idea that should be adopted by schools worldwide, but it’s not what I’m talking about. What I’m talking about is the simple fact that I was not ready for school. At no time during my decades in school did I feel ready for it. I hated school. School was a daily ordeal of unending horror, though honestly most of it wasn’t actually that bad. It’s that at the time, as the kid I was, I couldn’t handle it, and it caused me terrible depression and anxiety and made a misery of my life. Through my teens, school was a significant contributing cause of my chronic suicidal ideation and acts of self-destruction. There were other factors at play, but removing school from the equation would have helped considerably.

It’s only now, in my early-mid-thirties and in grad school, that I feel properly ready for school. I am a better student now than I ever was between the ages of five and twenty-three or twenty-four or however old I was when I graduated college. I put in more effort now than I ever did before. I have so far finished and turned in every assignment ahead of the deadline, sometimes weeks in advance, and the lowest grade I’ve gotten so far was an A (96%). I have improved so greatly over my former self, and grown to actually give a true fuck, that it bothered me that I didn’t get a 100% on that paper too.

Granted, I’ve only been in the program a few months now. Though I’ll do all I can to avoid it, it is possible that the difficulty or tedium levels will increase, harshing my buzz and slowing my roll. The fact that my classes are entirely online also helps. My patience for sitting in rooms at scheduled times, listening to someone who isn’t a comedian talk for an hour or more, is still low. If I didn’t have the freedom of fully online classes, I’d be less enthusiastic. Which goes to show that I should have probably never been in in-person classes to begin with, or at least not so many of them. I do a lot better when I’m not forced to be in a place and around people not of my choosing. And I know there are a lot of people like me, or people who have other particular traits, tendencies, or quirks which preclude them doing their best in traditional schooling environments. More than that, I know that everyone is different, and everyone becomes ready for things at different times. The school system must recognize this and adapt to individuals’ particular pace and abilities.

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