Gatto writes about the days before compulsory education, and how, to our modern minds incredibly young children were doing amazing things, and how that would not be possible in this day and age when kids have to go to school:
Our official assumptions about the nature of modern childhood are dead wrong. Children allowed to take responsibility and given a serious part in the larger world are always superior to those merely permitted to play and be passive. At the age of twelve, Admiral Farragut got his first command. I was in fifth grade when I learned of this. Had Farragut gone to my school he would have been in seventh. (Gatto)
Well here’s a story that proves him not exactly right:
He is not old enough drive a car or buy a drink in a pub. It will be two years before he can get married and four before he can vote. Michael Perham, however, is on the verge of making history: at 14, he is within days of becoming the youngest person to sail across the Atlantic single handed.