May It Please The Crown, Let Our Children Go

One of the most viral posts this year involved a parent humbly begging the Crown for permission to take their child on an educational trip without risking the threat of force. The post reproduced a letter to a parent. The principal who signed that letter thought this highly unfair, since her goals were allegedly aligned… Continue reading May It Please The Crown, Let Our Children Go

Socialization is Normal

don't worry about socialization

The most common question for home educators, by far, is "What about socialization?" I'm always shocked. Socialization was always the least of my concerns. It's a big world out there. Let kids out in the world, and they'll socialize with everybody. Humans are inherently social; socialization is as natural as walking and talking. Actually, socialization… Continue reading Socialization is Normal

Home Education: Public Benefit?

Random comment from the 'Net: "I think a tax break for home schooled families is a great idea. However, you forget that we live in a community, and no man is an island. Those families do benefit from living in a community where others are educated." Whoa! This argument cuts both ways: the community arguably… Continue reading Home Education: Public Benefit?

Pedants: Converting Good to Bad

A standard argument for government provision of education is that it would otherwise be under-provided. The theory is that, since one's education also benefits other people, one who purchases education for one's own self would only pay enough for the benefits to oneself. If we take this argument seriously, we must determine how much education… Continue reading Pedants: Converting Good to Bad

We Don’t Need The State To Educate!

Do we really need the State to educate? Most people believe this to be the case, especially for the poorest among us. But E.G. West and James Tooley - and several others - have looked at the actual history of education, and found something startling: mass education existed before heavy state involvement. I highly recommend… Continue reading We Don’t Need The State To Educate!

Skip The Whereases

My father taught me something wise. "When you hear somebody say 'blah blah blah but such-and-such,' the word 'but' is a signal. Everything before the 'but' is preamble, which you can safely ignore. After the 'but', that's the real substance, that's what they were leading you to. That's the important part." Whenever politicians speak, I… Continue reading Skip The Whereases

How To Approach Math Learning

Jo Baeler and Pablo Zoido recently published an article in Scientific American Math. (behind a paywall; summary here) Every three years, the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) tests hundreds of thousands of 15-year-olds. In the past, the US posted average scores in reading and science, but well below other developed nations in math. The… Continue reading How To Approach Math Learning

Children Are Not Interchangeable Cogs

Variations of the picture above have been widely distributed in schools. Education works best, we are told, when all the parts work together. The picture shows three gears arranged in a circle. If you recall your studies of mechanics, this arrangement cannot possibly work. Imagine the first gear turning clockwise; it would drive the second… Continue reading Children Are Not Interchangeable Cogs

The Rot of Systemic Biases

Bryan Caplan, author of The Myth of the Rational Voter, compared average voter beliefs to the beliefs of economic experts. He found four systemic voter biases - areas where voters as a whole tend to systematically diverge from expert knowledge. These biases are the anti-market bias, the anti-foreign bias, the make-work bias, and the pessimism… Continue reading The Rot of Systemic Biases

Who Cares About Conspiracies?

I spend little time studying and talking about conspiracy theories. Why? Three main reasons. First, who cares? For your knowledge about a given conspiracy to have any use, it isn't enough for the theory to be true; you'll need to convince the very people who are already in on it. So, what are you going… Continue reading Who Cares About Conspiracies?