Sippican Cottage

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A Man Who Has Nothing In Particular To Recommend Him Discusses All Sorts of Subjects at Random as Though He Knew Everything

The Kids Are Playing Rock Band Right Now, And The Bigger One Is Using A Real Guitar

My wife and I go out for a walk at lunchtime sometimes.

First I eat at the computer while working a little on emails and such, then I give my young son a drum lesson as part of his schooling, and if it’s not raining we walk around the neighborhood for fifteen minutes. The time together is one of those precious mundane things you don’t appreciate until they’re gone, I imagine.

We homeschool our two children. Mostly my wife does, I mean. I give them music lessons. I’m having trouble with the drum lessons for the little fellow. It sometimes takes me longer to demonstrate the sticking in the first place than it does for him to execute it. He has a tendency to look all around the room while I’m trying to figure it out, and I scold him for not paying attention but then he sits down and plays it, first time, to make me feel silly.

Our computers are a joke. The little one’s runs Windows 98 and isn’t Intertunnel connected. Mine’s an ancient Pentium running XP. It can’t run a YouTube video on hi-def without the video card seizing up like a defendant with a light pointed at them. But it has Intertunnel so he’s always keen to get a crack at it. All the children in the public school are given an expensive Apple laptop that is completely useless for any sort of real work, and simply use it to update their Facebook pages and play games while they’re in class. We’d kill for a laptop, but since we save the town around twenty-two large by keeping our kids home we get nothing.

When we returned from our walk yesterday, this was on my screen, drawn in MS Paint:

I didn’t know what it was for a good while, then I figured it out. It’s a neon atom. He forgot to put the lower-case “e” after the N. But there are ten protons, ten neutrons, and ten electrons. He’s even got the isotope number appended on there. I looked it up. I had to look it up:

I went and asked him about it. He was building a model of it with K’Nex plastic dross, and explained it to me. Ten protons gives it its atomic number, dad.

I’d bookmarked a Khan Academy website, thinking my older son might be able to use it. But my younger son sneaks into my office when I’m out or at the tablesaw, and he’s watched at least four of the chemistry lectures. They’re college courses. He’s eight.

Little boys like to know things about the way the world works. They like lists. They like dinosaurs and atoms and planets and Lego sets and army men, and man do six-year-olds like lists of presidents.

Keep Cool With Coolidge And Garrett from sippican cottage on Vimeo.

There are lots of videos on YouTube of people who think their kids are geniuses because they’ve memorized something. The education and rearing of children has become so degraded and mysterious that people don’t even recognize what comes naturally to children, especially male children, anymore. You have to beat the love of learning out of children. This has been totally accomplished, at least as far as boys are concerned in the public schools.

I couldn’t sleep the other night, and went back to the desk at 1:30AM to write a little. I heard my older son murmuring, through the floor, up in his room. His friend had Skyped him for help with his Physics homework. Our son had already finished all his schoolwork for the next morning — he does it at night the day before it’s assigned almost without exception — but his friend will be rousted out of bed like a vagrant and put on a bus a few hours after I heard them. He’s just as bright as my son, but his teacher has dyslexia and can’t explain anything properly to him. Nothing can trump social engineering in public school.

Mark my words. There is a day coming. It is not on the horizon yet, but it is not far over it. Prospective employers are going to look at your children’s resume, and if it refers to any sort of “public school” on it, they’re going to roundfile it without hesitation, and they’re going to call HR and ask them to find another homeschooled kid. Maybe they’ll settle for an expensive privately schooled kid if there’s no “non-socialized” kids available.

16 Responses

  1. You are so right to homeschool him. Intelligence like that would be so hard to pigeonhole, they'd have to shame him out of it, which they would certainly try.

    I love his cowlick. What a cutie. Some day he'll run the show. It gives me more hope for the future.

  2. Parents such as you and your wife are the living national treasures that will sustain our republic through the hard times ahead. My wife and I have done our best to cultivate the same quality with our brood while they attended public schools with conservative, dedicated staffs. For us it was tough, and I can only imagine your challenges, but I suspect your rewards will be "demonstration… so broad as to admit of no exception." What a wonderful gift for both you and your children.

  3. It was one of those statements that you wished you could remember where you saw it.

    "Genius is less a matter of intelligence as it is a matter of letting a young mind explore and learn."
    good on you.
    Someday they will be off screwing up the grading curve for everybody else.
    Be careful of where they go to college, that can be just as bad as public school.

  4. The day is already here when I s-can intern resumes from liberal arts majors. Ironic since I was a history major before going back for an MBA.

    Math, Business and Engineering kids seem to have their heads on much straighter these days.

  5. Anonymous said:

    "Math, Business and Engineering kids seem to have their heads on much straighter these days.

    That most likely because they are taught to "think and do", because they have to produce measurable results, and be able to prove them.

    Lib arts, apparently not so much these days.

  6. Came in via Maggie's because the block quote BD laid down really piqued my interest.

    I don't believe it will ever get to the point where a home schooled child will have more of an advantage over a public schooled child. There is a very common conceit that home schooled children are better educated, or have a firmer educational foundation, than public school students. That is not true. There are poor home schoolers as well as good ones. There are lousy public school teachers and there are good ones. One method is not superior over the other with one exception – home schoolers are more hands on because they can afford to be hands on. Public school teachers can't teach two, three or four students at a time – they have to deal with 25-30 students at a time.

    And that is a huge advantage. What is interesting though is that home schooling is an advantage in some areas and not so much in others.

    Dr. Lawrence Rudner of Graduate Management Admissions Council did several studies starting in 1997 through 2011 that pretty much concluded that home schooled children do much better than public school children by a wide margin – something on the order of 40% better or thereabouts – I don't have the exact figures handy at the moment. While Dr. Rudner is a recognized expert, like all experts with agendas, he fails to point out that while home schooled children significantly out perform public school children in English and reading/writing, math and science are statistically dead even with a very slight margin going to public students. Dr. Rudner has never done an comparison with home schooling vs private schooling as his agenda is clearly towards non-public school instruction.

    Here's my opinion – I know you didn't ask for it, but I'm gonna give it to you anyway. :>)

    It is vitally important that parents, either home schoolers or public schoolers, need to be involved in their child's educations. If that requires not watching "X-Factor" to help impress concepts and ideas and details into our kids heads, then that's the way it should be. There has been too much pass through of parental educational responsibility to public school teachers – everything from social working to counseling to actually teaching a subject.

    Be that as it may, it is readily apparent that you and your better half are doing great and that is the important thing.

    PS: I had to save my life I couldn't play drums. I've been playing for a long time, fifty years. I play a variety of stringed instruments and I also play keyboards. I just don't get drums. :>)

    PPS: I read "Devil's in The Cows" twice over – man, you are one talented writers. I'd love to see another one like it.

    So get right on that will you? :>)

  7. I would say that the beauty of homeschooling is that all children have different interests and inclinations and talents. Like Sipp, leaving them to explore it all and gravitate to what they love, and then giving them the time to try everything, play and practice, all the while giving them an education (sometimes against their will), sure does produce confident, accomplished and functional adults.

  8. Is this where we pretend somewhere between sixty and eighty percent of the population doesn't exist?

    I put high school on my resume because I sat next to Millard Fillmore and I'm a namedropper.

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