Shortly after the 1989 collapse of the former USSR, a Russian professor gave a talk to some folks in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He was asked how it happened so fast, nobody was expecting it. We were taught that the Soviet Union was indomitable, this was the premise of the Cold War policy of "containment." He replied… Continue reading Waiting For The Moment
In March (2015), Pew Research published a survey which examined the Millennials in a variety of ways - some interesting, some rather dull. Do the Millennials use the Internet? Why not? They grew up with unlimited data plans. Do they post selfies? Of course! Phonecams are much more compact than the Instamatics of my generation,… Continue reading Reaping Distrust
The news has been abuzz about the study, or non-study, published and later retracted by a respected peer-reviewed journal, Science. The Case of the Amazing Gay-Marriage Data: How a Graduate Student Reluctantly Uncovered a Huge Scientific Fraud The Strangest Thing About Michael LaCour’s Response to the Academic Fraud Allegations Leveled Against Him LaCour is being… Continue reading Shoddy Foundations, Shoddy Science
ZS is spot on. To paraphrase slightly, many of the arguments against homeschooling are lazy because they are almost always only applied to homeschoolers. The people who ask them rarely ask them of the obvious alternatives — traditional schools (particularly traditional public schools). This status quo bias is a tricky psychological situation for most people to break out of. They come to see what is most common around them as “normal,” “natural,” and “good,” without seriously questioning it. If many of the arguments below were applied to traditional schools, the schools would collapse tomorrow from parents withdrawing their children in outrage.
If you pull the average American off the street and ask them to describe what they think the average homeschool family looks like, they’d probably paint the picture of a bunch of children and adults wearing pleated khakis, button-downs with sweaters, socially awkward children, sheltered and overly-structured in their lives (or, oddly enough, totally unstructured in their lives and constantly causing chaos).
In Europe, homeschoolers face even more scrutiny. Seen as cultists by the media at large, they are treated even worse than domestic terrorists in some central and western European nations.
Even people who are more libertarian in terms of education would likely say, “sure, I don’t think it should be illegal, but I’d never do it myself. … How would the children become socialized? … I wouldn’t want to spend that much time around my children. …” and the list goes on.
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Folks in the homeschool community have a saying: model what you wish the child to learn. For instance, if you are an avid reader, if children see you reading, if you're talking about books, if you're reading to your children, there's a fairly good chance they will emulate you, will come to you for advice… Continue reading Model, don’t teach
Child-centric, child-directed, unschooling, free learning, speed learning, ... there are so many names which try to explain what we do, when not coercing children to fit into preconceived curricula and plans. I've never been fond of terms which include "school" - even unschool - because what we do isn't about school or not-school. It's like… Continue reading Organic Learning
People are finally starting to talk about the destruction of children's autonomy. Things which were perfectly normal in my youth - such as running to the local store to pick up milk, bread, and other items, knocking on a neighbor's door to find somebody to play an informal game of ball, walking to the park,… Continue reading Free Range: Used to be Normal Childhood
Mussolini, we are told, micro-planned Italy's schools to such a degree that, on any given day of the school calendar, he could tell you precisely which page in which textbook was being studied by every single student in any particular grade. What an astounding achievement!? Really? To construct a plan is to presume several things.… Continue reading Planning To Fail
Is it possible to plan too far ahead? Every day or two, I read a Facebook post along these lines: "My child is 16 months old. I'm worried about how I will teach Math, History, and Science." What does a child learn at 16 months? Depends, but it probably includes learning new words, learning to… Continue reading No Plan Survives Contact With Reality
Standard "Public Policy" and Keynesian theory depends on the existence of a so-called "economic multiplier" effect - government spending is supposed to increase the size of the economy. By this method, government allegedly "primes the pump" or "bootstraps" the economy to greater and greater heights. What if the received wisdom is wrong? This study suggests… Continue reading Public Divisors?