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

I Got Asked Again The Other Day, Rather Bluntly, Why We Don’t Send The Kids To School

Nothing on this infographic is news to me. My wife and I are peculiarly equipped with first-hand knowledge of the whole enchilada. Either one of us or both of us and one of our children or both of our children have been homeschooled, attended private religiously themed schools, and attended public kindergarten, grammar, and high school. We’ve been dirt poor, poor, middle class, and for about ten minutes about ten years ago, I felt like a swell when I made enough money to stop paying into Social Security for a few months of the year. I wasn’t rich, but I felt that way.

I can assure you in advance that whatever sophism or misunderstanding of statistics you’d like to trot out to refute this chart is nonsense. Don’t give me the academic credentials of the parents business. Every public school teacher has a baccalaureate or better. The academic achievement of public schoolchildren’s parents that don’t teach their children doesn’t matter. I will laugh you out of here with “socialization” horsehockey. Not knowing from whom to buy diverted prescription drugs in third period and which “special needs” teacher puts out is not useful information, and does not make for a potent lifetime social lubricant.

It’s science, biatches. The idea that if public schools had more money they’d be swell is nonsense. If you cut the education budget to zero, and had entirely unqualified teachers (parents) teaching their own children, children would be overwhelmingly better educated than they are right now.  And we’d be able to cut taxes by 400 billion dollars or so. All the good teachers (I know many) should be teaching in private schools and making more money anyway.

Better still — it costs 11 large a year per student to send a child to public school around here. Mail my wife 22 grand every year and see how much better she’ll do. You can keep the iPad toys they squander public money on these days, though. Training for children to push imaginary buttons on a terminal with pictures of food on it is offered free at all McDonald’s restaurants. We’ll buy real computers with the money. We won’t be able to belly up to the “Genius Bar” when they don’t function, standing next to college grads that spell it “genious”, but we’ll try to bear up under the shame of it.

[Updated: Peter at College@Home sent me another visualization of homeschool info they have at their website]

Homeschool Domination
Created by: College At Home

17 Responses

  1. Amen.
    The first came home from the fourth private school grade crying, wondering "should I mark answers wrong so the kids will like me?"

    He is now in one of the most academically rigorous engineering programs in the country and holding a 3.92 average, and on almost a free ride.

    The second is a sophomore and is much in demand as a piano, keyboard and sound system player.
    Our kids will know very well where the public school high achievers will be in 10 years, out back, cutting their grass.

  2. I've heard the "socialization" pitch also. I told them that home-schooled children do get out and mingle with all sorts of people, especially with adults. And by golly, I think interacting with most adults makes better practice for learning to act like an adult in society than engaging in all the inane, often vicious social games that a bunch of kids cooped up together in a public school will engage in. Then they tried to tell me that there is still something to be learned from the "rough and tumble" of being with other kids. I said that the same argument could be said in favor of sending my kids out on the streets to live homeless for a year or two, but somehow I don't think it's a good idea.

  3. I’m not a school teacher and it’s been many years since I’ve been a student, but one thing that I know about education since I went to school is that the current school system sucks. My kids are smart, but the things that they have learned that will stand them through life they learned outside of school.

    That’s why home schooling has taken off like a hot Internet stock. Home schooling is the confluence of a number of currents including – but not limited to the decline of the public school system.

    Home schooling was once the province of religious parent who wanted their children to avoid the secularization of their children. But something interesting happened. Parents became more educated, schools deteriorated and fewer moms worked. Let’s take the last first. It may seem strange that high levels of female unemployment would lead to more home schooling. But keep in mind that many two earner households are that by choice. And when the mom loses her job, knowing the quality of schools her children are attending, the question arises if she should look for another job or stay home to take care of her kids. And if she’s taking care of the kids, can she do a better job than the pubic school?

    A hundred years ago when the average adult did not have a high school education, the local schoolmarm – with barely more than that – was considered the fount of educational knowledge. Besides, the women worked the fields or the farm. Today, the average mom has the educational level of the average school teacher. Schools have become politicized to the extent that many people feel that they are run for the benefit of the teachers and administrators rather than the students. Graduates are not able to read their diplomas and more people than ever believe that public education is geared toward brainwashing their children against the values that their parent hold.

  4. My daughter will be 20 in a few days, and she was homeschooled from 3rd grade on. Her boss is bummed because he liked telling people he had a 19 year old head cake decorator at his tony cupcake shop. She is the boss, and has many much older people working under her. People ask me how she became so poised and professional and hardworking and trustworthy? This, after constantly "worrying" about my children's socialization…

  5. Sipp,

    Want to know the true state of public education? My long suffering bride of 35 years just retired after 40 years teaching under performing and border line students. She was very good at it.

    We home schooled both our boys. I left a career as a full time engineer to do so. I still worked consulting, but my major time was spent on educating our kids.

    It was worth every damn cent – the cents I lost not working full time and the cents I lost not sending my kids to public school. They were well ahead of their peers in all subjects – so much so that they literally "graduated" high school by eighth grade in academic subjects, so we sent them to trade school – I couldn't do it any more.

    One of the neat things I'm seeing here in South Carolina is cooperative home schooling. Groups of mothers and fathers take small groups, say ten or twelve kids, and home school them on a rotating house basis. It is very successful. I've volunteered to teach math and science to a couple of local home schoolers who lack the expertise – the kids are cool, polite and attentive and a ton of fun to teach because you can goof around with concepts in physics and math which the kids eat up like candy.

    And to put paid to this little rant, my lovely long suffering bride encourages home schooling because she saw the destruction of our public school system first hand.

  6. But aren't you concerned people might think your kids are weird if they maintain freedom of thought and avoid "school helplessness"?

    "School helplessness" is a name for the passive, teacher dependent learning that kids fall into after only about 3 years of "education." I got it from a very good about teaching elementary school kids to study. (How to Study and Teaching How to Study (1909) by F. M. McMurry, Professor of Elementary Education, Teachers College, Columbia University) But Charles H. Ham, (Mind and Hand: manual training, the chief factor in education (1886)), cites a study in his avocation of manual training as part of education. Recently, it was referenced in a TED talk on education as divergent thinking and how a study showed the steady decline in divergent thinking as students got "educated."

    I really wish I'd had access to McMurry's factors of study long ago when I was in school. But then it is basically critical thinking and if kids learn it in 3rd grade, what would the liberal arts claim as their useful outcome? His factors were tested in a reform of the Manitowoc, Wis. school system in 1919 (Teaching Boys and Girls How to Study (1919) by Peter Jeremiah Zimmers, Superintendent of city schools Manitowoc, Wisconsin). If the "problem method" of teaching had survived, then there might have been something to the "socialization' argument since the kids learn by discussion with the teacher only acting as coach. But, alas, "modern" methods are very teacher centric, collapsing if the instructor leaves the room and child group learning is now cutting edge research in education. I fear, in education, we aren't making much progress.

    BTW, all those references are available via the internet archive or google books, and free. I highly recommend them to those interested in education. Mind and Hand is a special read for those disposed to the manual arts, just skip over the school specific chapters for a very informed discussion of the training of the hand tempers the foolishness to which a purely academic education can lead the mind.

    In the light of this analysis Carlyle's rhapsody on tools becomes a prosaic fact, and his conclusion—that man without tools is nothing, with tools all—points the way to the discovery of the philosopher's stone in education. For if man without tools is nothing, to be unable to use tools is to be destitute of power; and if with tools he is all, to be able to use tools is to be all-powerful. And this power in the concrete, the power to do some useful thing for man—this is the last analysis of educational truth. Charles H. Ham, Mind and Hand: manual training, the chief factor in education (1900)

  7. I am a decommissioned public school teacher, from a family with strong teacher DNA (two of four sisters are teachers). My boys went to a private school because I had the scratch to keep them away from public schools. It is interesting how much more responsive to parents a school is when the parents have the power to take their business and the revenue stream associated with their child elsewhere.

    If school funding were done by means of vouchers, and every parent had that ability, and every public school suddenly had to concern itself with customer satisfaction, it would be astounding the improvement you'd see.

  8. Baby M,

    "If school funding were done by means of vouchers, and every parent had that ability, and every public school suddenly had to concern itself with customer satisfaction, it would be astounding the improvement you'd see."

    Maybe not. There was an article in the LA Times about the Culver City teachers' union wanting privately raised funds for part-time assistants to be given to the union, rather than directly to the assistants, so the union could hire union workers.

    I think what has to happen is a majority of families doing home schooling, and a rebellion by them about paying for schools that they do not use.

  9. I will laugh you out of here with "socialization" horsehockey.

    1. That's a BS argument, one also used to justify sending three year olds to preschool.

    2. Right. Because homeschooled kids don't go to church, join the Brownies, play soccer, or ever leave the house and interact with other people. They are feral.

  10. If anything, homeschooling made my daughter more socially adept. She got experience meeting and dealing with a wide range of people. She met adults who treated her as a fellow adult rather than a herd animal. And now that she's in school again, she views the social pressure-cooker of cliques and status as an amusing little game.

  11. I send my kid to a catholic school run by genuine Nuns, although neither my wife nor I are left-footers. I'd never dream of sending him to the Government school, and they are government schools not public schools- why use the language of the enemy? If you want to see the "public" go to Walmart on a Saturday afternoon.

  12. Thank you all for reading, and for your trenchant comments.

    I am not surprised to find so many fellow travelers among disenchanted teachers. They're expected to teach browbeaten children while wearing garlands of silly and destructive educational directives hanging around their necks like Marley's chains, and they're tired of it all, too.

  13. We home-school, and in addition to the benefits cited are closer home and family lives (with no sacrifice in socialization), along with saner scheduling: no having to turn out at OMG30 on a regular basis for skating lessons.

  14. I interview candidates for a military academy and have over the years met with several home schooled candidates seeking appointment.

    Obviously, I meet with many other candidates from public and private schools too.

    What impresses me about my interactions with the home schoolers is their curiosity, their ability to clearly articulate ideas of deep importance, and their obvious exposure to adults. They are fully engaged and mature.

    They tend to do quite well competing for appointment, too, once their curriculums have been verified.

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