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Being Educated: What It Means

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  People may not know what it means to be educated, nor do they know what it means to become. Education can be defined in many ways based upon how someone was raised. Some people may have been to public school, homeschool. In these cases, many issues occur in society because society does not always see being homeschooled or self-educated as good enough; society only looks at degrees to determine someone’s education. If someone was homeschooled throughout their life up till the end of high school, a situation such as that may drastically affect their chances to get into the colleges they desire. Whereas with public schooling the chances are better, and with public schooling, colleges are more likely to accept students because of the higher education they have been given. Rather than in the case of homeschooling, there wouldn’t be that great of an opportunity to get into a college. What this all means is that there are different meanings of what it means to be educated and what it means to then become educated.

In the book Educated by Tara Westover, the reader gets to learn about Taras’s life and her upbringing. As the audience reads the memoir, they learn that Tara was homeschooled. In this situation of being homeschooled Tara is taught by her father but in the memoir, the reader learns that she is being taught a version of history that never existed. When growing up Taras’s father only ever educated her and her siblings about the mountains they lived near and incorrect information about history. While she was growing up, she never had many friends because she was homeschooled, and her father never let her socialize. This example shows us that Tara was not only uneducated about school but also morally uneducated. The meaning behind to get educated does not only mean school wise but also morally from what is right and what is wrong in life. If Tara had known that it was wrong of her father to keep her isolated from society, she would have learned that her father had many different health issues that made him incapable of being able to properly educate his kids. What it took for Tara to become educated in this scenario was for her to disobey her family and go to school. She had disobeyed her family because her father had forbidden them from going to see a doctor, going to public school, and socializing. Her father took away the opportunities Tara would have been given to properly be educated if her father had not lied to them as children, but Tara and her family had not known right from wrong because they had no one else to teach them than their father. In Taras’s case since she was homeschooled improperly what it meant for her to become educated was to get proper schooling and to learn a proper way of life. Tara in the memoir went through more than just becoming educated in school. While Tara was on her journey to become educated by the school, she also became more self-aware and learned the wrongs from rights in life while she was going through school. Tara learns the meaning of a word she had not known held such a negative meaning behind it that she had heard many times in her life from her brother and father; at this moment she reveals to the readers that “the world had turned upside down” ( Westover 177) at this moment she was in a history class and learned that the N-word was used towards slaves and not a word that should just be thrown around as her father and brother did with the word. This moment was a crucial moment where she becomes educated on the true meaning behind a horrific word, this would be Tara becoming educated in the sense of morality and not academically.

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What it means to be educated in public school is different from being homeschool-educated. In the memoir, Tara wants to stop being “homeschooled” because she feels as if she could learn more from public school. To be educated by a public-school system is to learn to interact with others around and learn different rights from wrongs. When being placed in a public-school system people learn about general knowledge in the world such as literature, history, science, mathematics, physical education, health, econ, and government. Becoming educated from a public school would mean that people are gaining the basic need to know knowledge needed to go to college; people also gain different styles of learning for example visually, hands-on, or written these are all examples of what it means to become educated by learning different processes. Public school systems teach students to problem solve from the ages of five through eighteen; it educates teens on what college is, why it is beneficial, and the requirements needed to enroll in a college. Going to a public school has many forms of educations rather than just general education, it educates and prepares students for life after high school whether the students decide to go to college or some type of military branch, what it is doing is showing students that there are different options in life. In Educated Tara talks about wanting to enroll in high school to get a better education than she gets at home “I’m going to enroll in high school in September” (Westover 120) she talks about she wants to go to school but not enroll too late as a sophomore, because she is afraid of not graduating on time. Tara does not believe that she is good enough for high school and will not graduate on time, so she decides to take study for the ACT in hopes of getting a good score to enroll into BYU college as written in the memoir “Just pass the ACT. One lousy test” (Westover 120) the reader learns that Tara is becoming more educated throughout her life as she decides to take steps to further her academic education. If Tara was already put into public school by the time, she was fourteen in her life, she would then not have to have solely depended on scoring high on the ACT. Tara would have had her high school transcript go off, as well as she most likely would have taken an SAT because the public school would have taught her about getting into colleges and needing the SAT. To be educated from a public school can mean that learning is not always academic but also learning about how to further succeed in life and learning about the skills needed to do so.

In society, people are viewed as uneducated when not having a diploma or degree. Society does not allow for people to move forward in life without a piece of paper that says someone has been educated on a specific topic; this claim in society is untrue because being educated can mean many things ranging from things that should be considered common knowledge to academically being educated. What someone must do to become educated to society’s standards is unfair to many. Many people in society have been homeschooled or self-taught and offer many skills that would benefit many jobs. If someone is self-taught and knows more than someone with a degree, then they should be given equal opportunity to show that they have been properly educated in life by self-teaching themselves. What it means to society to be educated is to have a degree saying that someone has gone through the required schooling to get a piece of paper; when in reality being educated can be from being homeschooled or self-taught and retaining the information that they have received from researching about whatever it may have been that they desired to study. What it means to become educated is more than just attending school throughout life, it is about learning the morals and the choices someone is offered in life and learning about the opportunity life gives them. Education is everywhere and becoming educated never stops people are learning new things every day and education is not only in the form of school but in the form of everyday life.  

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