Thursday, October 24, 2013

"Yes, but..."

That steadfast commenter of the Internet, Anonymous, responded to the last post about time-management:

This is true, however there is just as much time "wasted" in driving or walking to see other people during the day, going to outside vendors or destinations in homeschooling. I would argue that there's better teaching one on one, but don't understand the argument about too much time wasted in schools. I see so many people who can't even sit through a meeting if the discussion isn't directly about them. Do we want to encourage people to only look out for themselves and have no patience? Overall I think the homeschool/school time "wasted" is a wash and we should just be worrying about what is the best educational model for a child to become a well rounded adult. 

Anonymous is right about a few things. Time not specifically spent on education during a student's class time is not always time wasted, nor is every second of homeschooling another step closer to winning the Scripps Spelling Bee. But it's a leap to go from "Hey, into every life a little rain must fall and some time will be sucked up so you might as well get used to it" to "This will produce me-firsters and those morons who can't tolerate a simple business meeting unless we give them a birthday cake."

First, in a CBS study done of homeschoolers in one college, they had, on average, a higher GPA at the end of the first year, and then again at graduation, than students who has come in from a bricks-and-mortar school, and they're also more likely to graduate in four years than the traditional student. For these students, it would appear they've learned to work within a system with all of its challenges and opportunities and intermittent bureaucratic tedium.

Second, those me-firsters with patience issues? Statistically, the odds are quite high that they went to a bricks and mortar school. Just saying. I will never use any medium to declare "HOMESCHOOL IS GREAT AND AWESOME AND ROCKS AND YOU SUCK FOR NOT DOING IT!" In fact, I'll be the first to admit that not only do I not think it's for everyone, I'm not even sure it's for us. Maybe I'm hurting the kid. Time will tell. What I do know is that, in a more creative world, families would have many more options concerning the education of their children than we do today; options that stressed learning over management and imagination over containment. 

I'm starting to hear about students who are in high-school for the morning and working on their own projects in the afternoons, which can include independent study, internships or community-college classes. A recent article in WIRED about the teacher who created a revolution within his class by letting his students learn how to learn should be mandatory reading for anyone thinking about educational reform.

Which is why I liked the comment from Anonymous so much. Whoever you are, you're as concerned about where education is headed as I am.

"...we should just be worrying about what is the best educational model for a child to become a well rounded adult"?

Well, I couldn't agree more.

1 comment:

  1. I remember singing "99 Bottles" in my head during high school classes because I was SO bored despite being in advanced classes and only doing homework in school. (I was not a highly motivated student as a teen.) SO MUCH time was wasted. During times when I was allowed to have my notebook out, I'd write fiction, but otherwise I just remember such long stretches of forced boredom in school. I totally agreed about the time wasted, as I'm sure it hasn't changed that much. I think there's a difference between the kind of forced boredom that went on in my brick and mortar school and a bit of time that would take to get to interesting, enriching activities.

    Interesting to think about. I find education fascinating.