It’s always hilarious to me: reports on poor classroom performance, poor test scores, and on and on.
Thing is, that’s a “report card” on teachers, administrators, bureaucrats, politicians, collectivism, socialism, and society’s just-another-brick-inb-the-wall meat grinder in general—not on kids. Accordingly, it almost always comes down to MORE MONAYS! (for teachers, bureaucrats, administrators, et al.).
This is all dumb. Very dumb. Why? Because what’s going on isn’t really learning per se, but indoctrination disguised as learning, and “poor performance” is really a measure—and a good one at that—of resistance to such indoctrination, euphemistically labelled learning or teaching. Hell, even Hellen Keller learned, and with no visual or auditory perception—the core stalwarts of learning (indoctrination, too, though). Humans—indeed animals in general—yearn for knowledge from the moment of first breath. The acquisition of knowledge over how to survive and prosper is baked into the cake of survival on this planet.
…I got a question in email from some parents yesterday that inspired this post, and my wife Beatrice—a school teacher of 4th, 5th, and 6th grade levels for 33 years—wrote the principal response.
I’ve commented a few times on the blog – most recently about the gliding thread.
Seems strange contacting someone I don’t know personally to ask this question – but being surrounded by closed minded relatives I’d really appreciate your opinion.
Homeschooling is something that has always been in the back of mind but never acted upon.
Due to my son recently been labelled as stubborn and difficult for acting out army games in school (play acting soldiers is now forbidden apparently) and getting in a tit for tat scrap with another kid, myself and my wife are on the verge of giving up on an increasingly fucked up education system and homeschooling our two children. They’re good well mannered kids that are being hammered into a distorted shape due to a ‘sit down, be quiet, and don’t question anything’ teaching methodology.
I confess, I reluctantly agreed to let them go to a Catholic school as my wife initially thought the ‘moral’ grounding would benefit them. Suffice to say she has completely changed her view on the merits of a Catholic education.
So, if you can spare a minute or two to give me some thoughts on the merits of homeschooling children vs my perception of the indoctrination process of state school I’d be much obliged.
Your opinion matters to us.
Well, as you may see, parochial or private—or otherwise cloistered—isn’t really the key, because the same premise of indoctrination holds sway…it’s just that you’re indoctrinating over a different set of values. Sometimes, those values are closer to home, so that’s likely the Occam’s Razor explanation for why kids in private indoctrination often fare better than those in secular, State-indoctrination systems.
OK, here’s my wife’s unedited take on it. Notice that she does not write like I do (Duh!). She doesn’t write for fun, or to get an endorphin spike. She writes to the issue, to the question specifically.
If he’s thinking about it, he should do it. He’d have to be willing to find out what his son is passionate about and provide experiences that nurture it. It’s like working backwards. Once you find the passion, it’s a piece of cake, the learning follows..the reading, the researching, the math, the science, the social studies. It’s called Project Based Learning, 21st Century Teaching. Look it up.
The only thing missing is the collaboration with other kids, to work towards a goal to complete a project. This is an important component, but only part of the complete process. Perhaps you could join other kids who are being homeschooled; do some skyping with kids in other countries, blog, etc.
I’m sure his son will not be the only one to benefit. I’m sure his father/mother, the teacher will be just as excited about learning and exploring… going to many cool places together, having new experiences together, delving deep to figure things out that you are excited about. It will be cool.
And if it’s too much for you as far as a commitment, find a school that teaches this way.
I posted the other day about a PBL project the 5th graders did at her school: teams designed boats for four 5th grade students per boat, working only with cardboard, glue, and tape. Then, they had to get in them, in a lake, theory to practice like. What did they learn?
- Critical thinking
- Rudimentary water-displacement engineering
- Materials adhesion characteristics
- Social collaboration
The list probably goes on, and with sub-lists. Now, did those 10-year-olds set out to learn all aspects of that foregoing list and pass aptitude tests? Bitch, please! They wanted to build a fucking boat four of them could get into and float across the lake. That list is just a few of the required prerequisites for getting that goal of passion done, and perhaps done better than other teams.
A couple of specific points.
- So-called teachers can learn too. Beatrice says that one of the things that gets her excited and motivated to get up at 5:30 every morning to get to “school,” is that she’s learning too. Picture a “classroom” where every student is on an Internet-connected MacBook Pro (they have iPads, too), and they’re calling across the room to one-another for help or critique on the various micro-projects they engage in every day. In this way, she’s not there to be an authoritarian-indoctrinarian, but a facilitator with experience, and she get’s something out of it beyond the MONAY.
- Collaboration is the real key to all of this working as it does. Modern “education” is based upon a model of competition where, the winners eventually get the best opportunities for jobs going forward. Well, guess what? When they get to those great jobs, they find that no man is an island, so they’re faced with a real world where we’re social animals and one must collaborate, cooperate, and even compromise in order to get shit done. So, in this old-world indoctrination system, we set them up for failure right off the bat, by pitting student against student, rather than encouraging them to collaborate towards a common passionate goal, which is the way the world works anyway.
It’s old-world prerequisite indoctrination, juxtaposed with modern Project Based Learning, where prerequisites are just baked into the colaborative-project cake. And so the goal is to first come up with projects the kids get engaged in.
Everything flows from there…backwards, piece of cake, as Beatrice says.
…Yesterday, Bea went to school early because Telemundo was there to do a segment—beginning at 5am. Yea, kids were there at 5am. Beatrice has zero problems with attendance or truancy. It’s her job to come up with projects that engage them, facilitate their splitting into teams so that every kid has a good reason to not not want to be there for every moment.
What is so fucking hard about this? Oh, yea, Follow the MONAY!
And when you follow that, it become clear whose expense isn’t being accounted for.