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I was educated in a public school.
Let me re-phrase that. I was educated in spite of a public school.
I did most of my early learning courtesy of my local public library. I got my first library card when I was five, and have always gone through books the way Michael Moore goes through an all-you-can-eat buffet. On everything important, I'm essentially self-educated. All public school did was expose me briefly to various topics. Any in-depth knowledge I acquired was on my own time.
And there was one time when public school actually made me stupider. It was in one of the early grades - Second, I believe - when I was struggling to master the art of double & triple digit subtraction. The way they taught it, you started at the right side, and if you couldn't subtract the bottom number from the top, you would "borrow" 1 from the next column over. If, for example, the problem were:
you were instructed to cross out the 7, write a little 6 above it, and put a 1 by the 3 to make it 13.
Personally, I thought this was time-consuming and messy, so I just "remembered" that the 7 was now a 6 when I went to do the tens column. Much quicker.
Stupid-evil teacher caught me not writing things down, and said, "how do you know what you're subtracting in that column?"
I shrugged. "I just remember".
"Write it down" she commanded, in her best youthful-spirit-crushing tone.
So I did. And continued to do so for many years, making messes & wasting time, until I finally got out of that stupid habit sometime in adulthood.
Kudos to you, public education, for stifling innovation and creative thought, wherever it may blossom. I REALLY hope the trend in this nation of homeschooling takes off like a rocket.
Dana of Note-It Posts has similar feelings (although her distaste for the public education racket arises from other sources), and does a lovely job of addressing some common anti-homeschool arguments. This one is my personal favorite:
"A public school does help teach kids some social skills simply because there are lots of people there and you're forced to; I don't think that can be discounted."
This is the criticism of homeschooling I hear most frequently; fewer opportunities to socialize. Fortunately, this just is not the case. Homeschooled children are involved in far more "extracurricular" activities (I believe the last statistic I saw was an average of 5.2 per child) than public-schooled kids. They have the time to pursue outside interests, and the parents can incorporate those activities into the overall curriculum. Lots of homeschooled kids participate in some school activities - notably sports and band - and may even take some of their classes at the school, if the parents are unable to provide adequate instruction or equipment (think "science labs"). Then there are homeschooling co-ops, where parents work together to teach each others' children subjects they're particularly strong in. Parks and Recreaction departments offer all kinds of supplemental sports and educational opportunities, as well as artistic and cultural pursuits. I think too many people have this notion of homeschooling as Johnny and Johnny's mom, sitting in their basement, reading books together and never going out, except to shop, when Mom teaches Johnny how to count change. That just isn't how it works in the real world, for the really dedicated homeschoolers.
There's also a follow-up post of sorts - a letter from someone who someone who was homeschooled herself, and whose life greatly benefitted from the process.
The week before I graduated highschool (which by the way I gave the commencement speech and there 80 graduating homeschoolers in my class of 97) we made a trip down to Arkansas to see family. While I was there, I made it a point to go back and visit the teachers at the elementary school as well as the people who told me it would never be possible for me to make it past 8th grade homeshooled..and personally hand delivered graduation invitations to them and proudly told them of the scholarship I'd recieved to a 4 year university. The looks on their faces...priceless.
posted by Harvey at 7:50:54 PM permalink HOME