Thursday, September 1, 2011

Seeing homeschooling everywhere

Do you ever learn a new word, and then suddenly you hear it everywhere?  That is how I feel about homeschooling.

I found this over at Walter Russell Meade's blog (via Instapundit):
Life in school is life in bureaucracy.  You follow the rules, do what you are told, and rewards follow.
The real world was never very much like that, but the parts of the real world that look most like school (like for example law firms, universities and government and private sector bureaucracies) have their heads on the chopping block.  By the time today’s students are in their forties (and that is MUCH closer than you think, kids), most of those organizations are going to morph into something very different.  Or they will die.
Inmates who spend a long time in prison become institutionalized; they adapt so well to the conditions of prison that they can no longer function in the free world.  Something similar can happen to students.  From age six or even younger, students are immersed in a predictable world that runs by the rules.  Then you get out of school — and expect that this pattern will continue.  If you go to a good law school and do well, you will become an associate at a successful firm.  Do your job well, work hard, obey the rules and wash behind your ears and in due time you will make partner.
Professor Meade was talking about heading to college, but it sounds like a pretty good argument for homeschooling.  I want to raise my children to be thinking, purpose-filled adults who make things happen rather than waiting their turn.

I also happened to read a very controversial book this summer, Weapons of Mass Instruction by John Taylor Gatto.  Oh, Lord, I was agitated about this book for weeks.  Gatto, a retired NYC school teacher, makes the argument that the system is designed to create followers, not leaders and certainly not independent thinkers.  He argues that the only truly beneficial education for a child is one-on-one child focused.

I don't go that far, but I think the system is screwed up, to put it mildly.  There are too many administrators, too much paperwork, and too much money in too few hands.  Truly local control is fiction in public schools.  And unfortunately, the public school influence is all but impossible to avoid in the textbook industry and the general mindset even in the best private schools.  (Three of my kids are in a school I really do love.  This book was very hard for me to read.)  I'm not faulting individual teachers here--I know plenty--but they would agree that the system is really messed up and getting worse.

I have a disagreement with one part of that quote up there.  Meade says that government jobs which the schools are preparing their students for are disappearing.  I totally disagree there--government is one of the few growth sectors in employment. 

Just one more way I'm seeing homeschooling portrayed in the positive light.  A great big echo chamber on the internet, I guess.

Edited:  Just this morning, I was over at Pajamas Media--NOT a homeschooling site, by the way--and found this.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I know exactly what you mean. On one hand, a good school does things that homeschool cannot. There is an element of freedom and objectivity that is not found within the emotional boundaries of family.

But even good schools "institutionalize" students to some degree. They are so structured as to be stifling. Did you see this recent Instapundit link?

I'm not sure what to think. I can't decide whether my six year old is savvy enough to walk to school on his own, because I can't get past the initial question: would folks tell on my for trying it?

We do the best we can, and sod the rest. Heck, I'm the product of a "not good" public school, and I did alright in the end, ha.