Thursday, December 15, 2011


If I was to give a speech on nonviolence, because I'm a gamer, I would say it like this: You can beat any game the system throws at you. The problem is though, if you are violent to defeat violence, the system is still the winner because violence was their goal in the first place. The way to beat the system is not to play their game. And as soon as you stop playing their game, you've won.

All you have to do is live the better example, live nonviolently and make your life very loud so the system can hear you no matter where you are. So basically, advertise the fact that you are nonviolent. Obviously the books I'd recommend on truly living nonviolently are: Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Love by Marshall Rosenberg, Instead of Medicating and Punishing by my Mom, Laurie A. Couture and any speeches that Gandhi wrote. These would set up a pretty good basis and start you off on a literary path of a whole host of awesome people.

People have been saying for years and years and years, "Nonviolence!", but its only been really recently, with my Mom being one of the forerunners, of people seeing nonviolence and compassion towards children as a way to save the world.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I'm Not Cut Out For Irrelevancies- But Then Again, Who Is?

I’m not cut out for irrelevancies. Anything of an artistic nature is of some interest to me, as opposed to the strict and rigid numbers I find myself working with in order to satisfy the government mind. I know their reasoning as well- these complex, cerebral numbers and equations are fed to me in an attempt to debilitate my heart and soul, to flush out the love and the passion for my expressive endeavors. My refusal to give up my art and succumb to the expectations of the dictatorial system proves to be a problem to the overall cultural machine- not because I alone assert my autonomy to the state, but because I am one of many individuals who see fit to live and grow as their instincts guide them and shirk the system's bindings and chains.

I am speaking about the vast differences between traditional schooling and Unschooling. The rigidness in traditional schools is specifically designed to stifle the natural creativity within children. The state requirements put on homeschoolers and unschoolers is for the same purpose. As an unschooler, I find myself continually frustrated with these state requirements.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

What Children Really Want to Tell Teachers

This is my second response to Ron Clark's article, What Teachers Really Want to Tell Parents. My Mom, Laurie A. Couture, also wrote a response to his article, What Parents Really Want to Tell Teachers. This is what I say from a child's perspective to Ron Clark and to teachers like him.

Ron Clark: “So, what can we do to stem the tide [of teachers leaving the profession]?”

BRRC: Why should we stem the tide? If all the teachers leave, there would be no school and if you really stop and think about that, think of how wonderful it would be! People need to gives kids a child-centered life- And you can't do that in school! Even at my friend's arts charter school they say, “The first year you're in love. By the second year its not as good as the first year. By the third and fourth years you're like, okay, graduate me, I'm done! You hate it.” If it wasn't for the arts charter school, my friend's only other option would be the public high school.

Ron Clark: “What do teachers really need parents to understand? For starters, we are educators, not nannies. We are educated professionals who work with kids every day and often see your child in a different light than you do. If we give you advice, don't fight it. Take it, and digest it in the same way you would consider advice from a doctor or lawyer.”

BRRC: That sounds like a perfect set up for a really abusive situation. That sets it up so that the teachers who teach for the power trip (those really mean spirited teachers who never got over their own school experiences) can use kids in any way they want with out getting in trouble from the parents. If the child tries to say anything to the parent, the parents could say, “Well, we were told to listen to the teacher!” The teacher can do whatever they want to the child and the child has no voice, no ability to protect himself. The child having no voice in a situation where the teacher is controlling and saying negative things about the child to the parent sets up a situation for a lot of hatred from the child towards the teacher. It sets up the family dynamic of adults against kids in this crazy fanatical world that Ron Clark is creating with his article. 

With adults vs kids, child says “A”, teacher says “B”, parents say, “Well, we're supposed to listen to the teacher!” That's really, really bad because the child has no one to turn to because he can't turn to his parents... and his friends are in the same boat! With all of the kids in the same boat you have peer harassment where the kids are divided amongst themselves, as well, because of the school environment. Kids are kids and will react to their environment in a perfectly appropriate manner. It's the adults that we need to worry about.

About the “doctors and lawyers” comment- There is that stereotype that sometimes proves true- “Those who can, do, and those who can't (or won't), teach.” Traditional school teachers have set themselves apart from children, parents and society by becoming teachers and being part of a system that kids hate and that is wrong on every level.

Ron Clark: “Trust us. At times when I tell parents that their child has been a behavior problem, I can almost see the hairs rise on their backs. They are ready to fight and defend their child, and it is exhausting. One of my biggest pet peeves is when I tell a mom something her son did and she turns, looks at him and asks, "Is that true?" Well, of course it's true. I just told you. And please don't ask whether a classmate can confirm what happened or whether another teacher might have been present. It only demeans teachers and weakens the partnership between teacher and parent.”

BRRC: “Trust me.” Is that not creepy or what? That's like the winning line in every horror movie! Is he trying to incriminate himself? Seriously, doesn't anyone look at that? That has, “Don't trust me” written in big fat red letters! May I ask why it's a bad thing that parents want to protect and or defend their kids? That's nature at work! By denouncing that as “exhausting”, troublesome and wrong, the school system is finding just another way to demean nature and stifle natural responses like they already do to things like, gee, I don't know, going to the bathroom, getting up and moving, PLAYING, eating when hungry... And now its also going to be, “Don't defend your kids, Parent”? There are already enough clueless parents that already do not defend their children- Why are we trying to create more of that? IF ANYTHING, if there is to be a school system, why is it not teaching us what nature intends for us to live? Why doesn't school “teach” us how to live in a harmonious way, spiritually, emotionally, physically and with rest of the world?

Ron Clark: “And if you really want to help your children be successful, stop making excuses for them. I was talking with a parent and her son about his summer reading assignments. He told me he hadn't started, and I let him know I was extremely disappointed because school starts in two weeks.
His mother chimed in and told me that it had been a horrible summer for them because of family issues they'd been through in July. I said I was so sorry, but I couldn't help but point out that the assignments were given in May. She quickly added that she was allowing her child some "fun time" during the summer before getting back to work in July and that it wasn't his fault the work wasn't complete. Can you feel my pain?”

BRRC: I'm feeling pain alright, but it ain't yours! I want to talk to this guy. I want to get into a massive debate with him! If I were raised differently, then my verbal reaction to him would be lots of profanity inappropriate to an article because what he is saying is so ridiculous. Every human should have empathy: “Yea, this kid has been locked up in this environment for ¾ of a year, I think I can totally understand that at the beginning of the summer he is going to need some free time and then, oh, I'm terribly sorry with what ever happened with the family. That's OK on the assignment, you can skip it.” (Personally I think there should never be any assignments in the first place. While we're at it, let's overthrow traditional schooling as a whole.) The pain I'm feeling- I'm feeling so sad for that boy having to deal with such an obnoxiously unemphatic teacher. The fact that this is not one but many teachers' view points frightens me very much.

Ron Clark: “If you don't want your child to end up 25 and jobless, sitting on your couch eating potato chips, then stop making excuses for why they aren't succeeding. Instead, focus on finding solutions.”

BRRC: That just sounds like an ignorant statement. The only way I can see someone getting to that point of just sitting on couch eating potato chips is if they go to a traditional school and have all their passions drained out of them. I'm sorry. Just sayin'.

The road to success as I see it is being able to explore all of your wonderful passions as a child by playing and doing what ever your heart wills you to do, and then doing that as an adult.

Ron Clark: “Please, take a step back and get a good look at the landscape. Before you challenge those low grades you feel the teacher has "given" your child, you might need to realize your child "earned" those grades and that the teacher you are complaining about is actually the one that is providing the best education.”

BRRC: Well, I beg to differ with that because if the child is having a low “grade” then isn't the education being provided of questionable quality? If it was the “best education” a.k.a, absolute freedom, playing, enacting your heart's passions, then would there really be a “bad grade”? You can't fail at your passions! You can only succeed with your passions...

Ron Clark: “My mom just told me a child at a local school wrote on his face with a permanent marker. The teacher tried to get it off with a wash cloth, and it left a red mark on the side of his face. The parent called the media, and the teacher lost her job. My mom, my very own mother, said, "Can you believe that woman did that?"”

BRRC: I feel bad for that woman, too. I mean, that's not right that she tried to help out and she loses her job over it. However, maybe we should be looking at why people take something like that so seriously. Perhaps it is all of the abusive teachers who have harmed kids that have caused parents to become so freaked out about situations like the one above mentioned.

Ron Clark: “If your child said something happened in the classroom that concerns you, ask to meet with the teacher and approach the situation by saying, "I wanted to let you know something my child said took place in your class, because I know that children can exaggerate and that there are always two sides to every story. I was hoping you could shed some light for me." If you aren't happy with the result, then take your concerns to the principal, but above all else, never talk negatively about a teacher in front of your child. If he knows you don't respect her, he won't either, and that will lead to a whole host of new problems.”

BRRC: It really sounds as if teachers are the parent figures. That's just setting the situation up so that no matter what a teacher does, ill intent or good, the child who reports it is always held in question and always held in the wrong. I mean, doesn't anyone else see that as sketchy? If I was a child in school in that situation, I know that I would feel pretty dehumanized and I'd feel a lot of hurt in my heart because my Mom is supposed to be MY champion, not the teacher's. I would feel distanced, very betrayed, and “Well gee, I guess I don't matter.” It's just wrong on so many levels.

Ron Clark: “We know you love your children. We love them, too. We just ask -- and beg of you -- to trust us, support us and work with the system, not against it. We need you to have our backs, and we need you to give us the respect we deserve. Lift us up and make us feel appreciated, and we will work even harder to give your child the best education possible.”

BRRC: Again with the creepy comments, saying, “Trust us, support us”! I can just picture this sketchy looking character with a big grin saying, “We know you love your children. We love them, too. We just ask -- and beg of you -- to trust us, support us and work with the system, not against it. We need you to have our backs, and we need you to give us the respect we deserve.” The fact that this is a real life person saying this is the scariest thing of all- This isn't just some parody of how bad the schools really are! With everything I know about how bad the school are, from the bathroom denial issues to peer harassment, to the work to just the very power-trippy controlling environment- The fact that then this guy is trying to earn the support of the few parents out there who still want to protect their kids (despite putting them in school in the first place) is really freaking scary!

If I were in school and my Mom listened to this I would be completely lost. I am completely speechless when I think that there are parents that would actually listen to this propaganda. I would feel absolutely lost and devastated if I my Mom was the kind of Mom that would listen to this. I'd feel like there was no connection I had to my Mom. This is a very hard thing to think about because I don't want to picture my Mom and me in that situation. It's very scary to picture my Mom listening to that and turning her back on me in favor of what teachers say. If I was a Dad reading this and for whatever reason my children were forced to go into public school (which they won't ) I would feel shocked, indignant and very protective of my children, saying, “What do you think gives you the right?” I think it is more along the lines of, “What the hell?” There is a word that I don't think exists, but its along the lines of, “Who do you think you are? And what gives you the right? And what's so wrong with you that you are saying something so absolutely crazy?” The feeling I'd have is bordering on panic and horror- “These are my kids, I ABSOLUTELY AM NOT going to stop defending and protecting them! I will have my children's backs, I will trust, help, support and respect my children, not a big giant system or some teacher who could care less about my children as individuals, as persons.

When you are living as in synch with nature as my Mom and I are now- And by no means am I saying I'm perfect or I'm everything I want to be- But with as far as I've come in my life, looking at an article like the one Ron Clark wrote is very disturbing to me. I find it very difficult to tap into and formulate my thoughts into something coherent because I am just flooded with emotions and something along the lines of horror.

So teachers, heed my words and question the system that you are a part of and try to- unlike what Ron Clark suggests- to see things from a child's point of view. Thank you!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

My First Reaction to Ron Clark's Article, "What Teachers Really Want to Tell Parents"

No matter how you look at school, its wrong. It doesn't matter if every teacher is (to use my Mom's word) a “gem”. It's the institution, it is mandatory for these kids to go there and to be forced to stay there and to do work once they are there. It is mandatory to carry work home. They regiment your day and put a vice grip on your body.

The goal of school is to condition the child to be in this painful environment. They expect that this is what life is and “I might as well succumb to it now”. You have to condition the body and mind to expect that life style. As a child you have no power to effect your environment. If you are taught at that age with trauma that you will always be powerless to effect your environment, then you'll turn into a good little drone of the masses- To use a cliche, another cog in the system.

When I read Ron Clark's article, What Teachers Really Want to Tell Parents, I wanted to give it the finger, but I'm not that kind of person. I feel really sad for Ron Clark, because I can clearly see the Stockholm Syndrome my Mom talks about at work here. He probably feels that in order to get any positive feedback or power he has to align himself to the system that caused him so much pain as a child. He's blind to the pain teachers are causing children because for him it is a matter of, “In order to be safe I've got to be totally aligned with the system as a whole.” In his subconscious perception, the system will always be more powerful and bigger in his mind than he is. His superiors are always his superiors. They're higher and he knows he'll get closer as long as he aligns himself with them and when he does this, he has to hold all the kids (of what he was once) at the bottom. To have them completely support what he says allows him to feel he has some cushioning, some power and safety. It's like the little bird that sits on the rhino's back and can kick back and relax because you don't have to worry about any predators.

I feel very sad by what he wrote. I would not be able to be myself in a traditional school environment. I'd have to lock myself away and instead give off a very mechanical output. You have to lock yourself away and let your body become a robot in those conditions. You can't allow your spirit to come to the surface. I hate that- It's awful- it's wrong! I feel sad that children are made to be in pain, seen to be less than goodness, positive, light, love. Obedience has nothing to do with love. The child is in bondage and the bondage is subhuman standards. School is a mold. Adults have to force us to believe that children are subhuman because our subconscious tells us that we are all equal- But we have to stifle that and rationalize denial of children's equality. It is a very religious belief that children are born “evil” and we have to beat or bind the “evil” out of them and make them believe they are “evil”. I feel horror at what Ron wrote because that is wrong on every level- I know all of life is equal, so for children to be treated as if they are subhuman is horrifying to me.

My reaction to this article is pain. It's painful to think of his article because I am so free now, that to picture myself not free hurts to think of it. I wouldn't tolerate that system. What if I was forced to tolerate it? Well, I couldn't, so I'd have to be mechanical. I feel so sad knowing that other children have to go through that system and they CAN'T escape it! I feel indignance and frustration because teachers in their own way succumb to the system and treat kids as if they are inherently bad and empty headed. Schools see children as circuit boards that come with a pack of wires and the schools think their mission is to apply those wires in what they believe is the “proper” way- They do not see that this circuit board is already alive and humming with wires of its own... I hate to equate children with circuit boards!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Forced Instruction Is Wrong

I personally think that imposed, forced instruction is wrong. When I do things on my own, I do them so naturally almost without thinking. But as soon as I'm given instruction on how I'm "supposed to" do something, I stop being able to do it on my own. When my Mom first took me out driving most of it came so naturally. But as soon as I was in Driver's Ed, my mind had to be focused on all of these little rules... I felt like I lost all of my natural ability. When I was little that's how it was with my art (I was in public school before my Mom adopted me). I was suddenly being told that there is such thing as "wrong" art, there's such thing as a "wrong" way to draw. I lost all of my ability to just draw... It's taken me all this time while unschooling to get my natural ability back, mostly thanks to my Mom who is an artist...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

How Am I Going to Use This in My Life?

At the beginning of my unschooling year I decided to use an Algebra II DVD to meet my state's math requirements. Who knew that you could get so exhausted by one drudgerous math lesson! Today I "learned" how to use "fractional exponents". All the while I couldn't figure out how I was ever going to use this in my life.

Normally after I've completed a music lesson or researched something I want to learn, I feel energized by what I've accomplished; after this math lesson, I only feel exhausted and like I wasted a 1/2 hour of my life. Does anyone else see a problem with this? I don't know how school kids stand it doing monotonous, useless, draining paperwork day in and day out for hours at a time. I could barely handle a 1/2 hour of it... Thank God I'm an unschooler!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Homeschoolers Should Live and Learn Freely

I am a human being and I have feelings and thoughts. I am not some underling of society. As an unschooler, I feel that I should not have to perform for the State with their homeschool requirements; for what they consider education. How certain subjects are expected to be learned is less than relevant to my life and yet I find that I waste precious time of my life on these requirements when I could be enacting my dreams and passions.
I find it ironic that in the very state where its slogan is “Live free or die”, our youngest citizens are confined to a dark mockery of education. I’m referring to public school or any “educational requirements” put onto children who are unschooling or homeschooling. This most certainly is not following our state slogan, “Live free or die”. Shouldn’t it trouble you that this is the case? I can hear the responses now: “Children should be in school” or “These homeschoolers need regulations.” I disagree very strongly. Children should be free in all aspects, the way nature intended, whereas public schools and homeschool requirements are an imprisoning box of mediocrity.

As an unschooling family, my Mom and I are free-spirited, free-thinking people and the State homeschooling requirements are only a source of anxiety and annoyance. Unschooling is living and learning the way children have always learned and lived in nature-based societies. It’s being in harmony with our family and community. Unfortunately, due to residing within our out-of-touch culture, we are still forced to pamper and satisfy the requirements of the system. That is not living freely.

I don’t think I should have to meet prescribed requirements because I am busy living my life to the fullest right now. I am so far ahead of the State requirements that I feel held down and held back by being forced to demonstrate subjects in a way that is completely irrelevant to my life. I’m not internally motivated to meet a standard that’s given to the mass population but does not meet my needs as an individual. What right do people who haven’t met me have to impose these standards on me?

I’m sitting here crafting, building and creating the pieces of my life that are relevant to me. As a musician and song writer, my music takes up an enormous portion of my time because I want it to– because its my passion. When I have to stop living in order to please the State, I don’t feel good about it. It doesn’t feel right. Why should I have to stop living because you tell me I have to prepare for a future that I am living now? I’ve released my first CD at 17 years old, now. I perform my music now. I’ve written a book which is in the editing stage now. I’ve been interviewed for a movie now. I do children’s rights work now. I’ve booked myself on the radio, now. I’m part of NH Media Makers now. I started a club and ran my own business from ages 12-15. I’ve been speaking to the public full of professionals since I was 12. I can’t count how many times I’ve been in the newspaper for my community activism, now. I like to bike, socialize with friends, make chain mail, calculate dice probabilities, invent games, build forts, cook, play Dungeons and Dragons and I have a close relationship with my Mom, all now. I am writing this to New Hampshire now; I’m not waiting around for the future!

-Brycen R. R. Couture, age 17

(This was printed in the April 26, 2011 Foster’s Daily Democrat as a Letter to the Editor)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

My Aspirations for a More Peaceful World

I want to live life to the fullest. I want to grow in spiritual maturity and lend a hand in healing the world. When I am able, I want to be a paternal figure to any child that seeks comfort and guidance. I want to make music that will allow cavalier ears to open to the voices of children. I want to be as loving, kind and selfless as I can be to my family and friends- I include you. I want to practice peace in ways that would make my heroes proud. I want to contribute such goodness and purity to the world, that the Earth would literally glow with love. What do you want?