Round Peg, Meet The Hole of Bureaucratic Craziness

Many states construe home education as a variety of “private schooling,” with mandatory attendance reporting and mandatory curriculum requirements.

But what is “attendance,” when a child learns 365 days per year? What is “curriculum” when the natural curiosity of a child is unbounded?

Some requirements are even sillier. In North Carolina, since home education can only take place (legally) in a “Non-Public School” (we are talking about your home, remember), you are obligated to select a name for your “school” which fits state criteria. You must declare whether yours is a “religious” or “non-religious” school. How is this not irrelevant busywork? NC law allows you to educate children of one other family along with yours, but not more.

Let a child learn to read and do basic arithmetic, and turn her loose in a library; natural curiosity will carry her to heights undreamt of by the bureaucrats. More can be learned and taught in one 5 minute conversation with a child, than in most 45-minute lessons.

Dan Greenberg discovered at Sudbury Valley School that it is possible to teach, in 20 hours, all of K-6 arithmetic to a group of willing students, aged 9-12. He was able to repeat this process many times with many groups of students. Greenberg related this to a “math skills expert”, and was told that “the subject matter is not hard; what is hard is pounding it into the heads of children” who, at that moment, don’t want that information.

So why waste their time? Why 1000 hours of pounding, when 20 hours of voluntary instruction will suffice? Is there some value to the pounding, and to whom?

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