Stories
Slash Boxes
Comments
NOTE: use Perl; is on undef hiatus. You can read content, but you can't post it. More info will be forthcoming forthcomingly.

All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

use Perl Log In

Log In

[ Create a new account ]

pudge (1)

pudge
  (email not shown publicly)
http://pudge.net/
AOL IM: Crimethnk (Add Buddy, Send Message)

I run this joint, see?

Journal of pudge (1)

Wednesday July 07, 2004
01:48 AM

Hackers and Painters

[ #19724 ]

I got a copy of Hackers and Painters from gnat/O'Reilly at WWDC, and starting reading it. The whole first chapter was basically, for me, "The Top Reason Why We Are Going to Homeschool Our Children." It describes very well some of the main reasons why we won't subject our children to the public school system: it's a gigantic waste of time where children are thrown together for the main purpose of keeping them out of the adults' hair, where you learn little and are challenged less, and where only the rare person can not fit in socially and come out of it without scarring.

Some people say public school teaches kids about the real world; I don't know what kind of fantasy school they went to, or what kind of miserable life they have led since school, but for me, jr. high and high school were the lowllights of my entire life.

And it's not merely that I was an outcast, like many of us nerds. I was, but I was one of the seemingly rare kids who got over it by seventh grade, and decided to not give a damn what anyone else thought. It's not that the experience was exceptionally negative (though it was), it's that it wasn't positive. I could have skipped 95% of what happened in high school and I'd not only not have missed anything, but I'd have been able to fill my life with more good things: more learning, more experiences, more friends, more whatever.

Bottom line: school sucks. I'll help the overcrowding problem by keeping my kids out of it.

The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
 Full
 Abbreviated
 Hidden
More | Login | Reply
Loading... please wait.
  • I had similar school experiences, as did many of the people
    that are now my friends. I think the experience of school
    actively damaged my ability to deal with people.

    I like to call it the "prison model".

    I would have been way better off just hanging out with a
    skilled programmer for a few years in my teens, and reading
    on my own about other stuff. Particularly given that the
    version of history presented in US public schools is rather,
    um, selective and often just wrong.
    • Graham compares it to prison in his essay [paulgraham.com], too.

      As to history, well, I think I can safely assume part of the reason why you think our version of history is wrong is because of your biases, though that's probably only part of it. Every subject in school, in my experience, is taught poorly. I actually had one very good history teacher in high school, and several bad ones. I learned a lot of good and correct things from the good one (it was selective, but only in the sense that it is necessary, given certai
    • I would have been way better off just hanging out with a skilled programmer for a few years in my teens, and reading on my own about other stuff.

      I'm willing to go even further -- I'd have been better off if they'd just put me in prison for half that time, because then I'd have half the time I wasted there back.

      Of course, I'm starting to get the impression that my school was a 1 on a scale of 1-10, a shithole out of a plethora of shitholes. Not the Worst School Ever, but definately in the bottom 50 or so

      --

      ------------------------------
      You are what you think.
  • I hear this a lot from American friends. I can't believe that UK schools are that much better, but I actually quite enjoyed school. I was bullied and beaten up and all that crap, but I still learned a lot, and don't think I would have had anywhere near as good an experience had I been home schooled.

    I guess YMMV.
    • What good experiences? I had no significantly good experiences in school I could not have had without school. I mean, there were a few good teachers and good friends, but I could have had other friends and met other "teachers" outside of school, too.

      FWIW, I am not presenting homeschooling for anyone else; it's just right for me and mine.
      • The things I remember from high school are mostly positive. Teachers ranged from excellent to mediocre (but I expect I would have done worse outside of the school system). I didn't fit in particularly, but I wasn't too badly affected by that - I managed to be mostly off the radar of the nasty types. What I did get was the extra-curricular items - sports (generally I was not very good, but I could still enjoy them), groups (chess club, math club, programming club [once a week collection of punch card jobs
        • I didn't fit in particularly, but I wasn't too badly affected by that - I managed to be mostly off the radar of the nasty types.

          Again, I am not so much bemoaning the bad stuff, although there's a lot of it, but the lack of good stuff. And all the extra-curricular stuff you mention is available in many forms, outside of school, and in (as a taxpayer, in many places in the country, my children have access to public school extra-curricular activities, even if not enrolled).

          I strongly doubt that I would ha
  • I have similar doubts about the quality of schools in that they, by necessity, teach to the median and have a hard time helping individuals excel. And of course we all want our kids to be at the high end.

    But I do think there is an important social component to school. Even with the negative stuff, you do learn some skills for dealing with other people--even if you just learn that other people are different.

    However, you make a good point about the negative stuff because it can just teach you bad social les
    • But I do think there is an important social component to school. Even with the negative stuff, you do learn some skills for dealing with other people--even if you just learn that other people are different.

      Every homeschooled person I know is far better at social situations than the average schooled person I know, and the people I know who are worst at social situations all went to school.

      What do home-schoolers usually do for social stuff?

      All sorts of things. I don't even really know how to answer the
    • What do home-schoolers usually do for social stuff? Do groups of home schoolers get together for some things? I suppose there are still some extra-curricular things kids can be involved in like sports.

      Yes, I realize this is an old discussion. :)

      Lots of things. There are homeschool groups, as you mentioned. Plus lots of other organized activities available: sports, boy/girlscouts, chess clubs, rec-center memberships, etc. Just plain going to the park is a social activity. And for those who want it,

      --
      J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers
  • My girlfriend's teachers used to complain that she was too advanced and forbade her from doing extra reading in class. Her shocked parents, Russian Jewish immigrants, yanked her out of the system and homeschooled her.

    At the age of 27, she has far more confidence in herself than anyone I know. No socialization problems at all. The former weirdo bookworm has blossomed into a local media mogul, one of those people who seems to know everybody. And yet she still delves into heavy literature when she puts her fe
    • There are some noticeable differences. Her writing is a little too informal sometimes. But that's just a skill.

      Yeah, and again, most of the public schooled kids I know have horrible writing skills. Spelling, grammar, style, the whole boat (even sentence fragments!).
    • Check out his website [johntaylorgatto.com] and this collection of essays [preservenet.com].

      I'm debating home-schooling for my family. If I can, I want to. I just won't know whether that is plausible for us until I'm closer to the event. (My first child is still a few months from birth. We're going back and forth on whether to have a second.)

  • Philip Greenspun made some interesting comments about school and its uses: http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/philg/2004/07/13#a5302
  • It's amazing to me how popular homeschooling seems to be in the geek population. The common thread of abusive schoolmates seems to be a big contributor. For me that's not the reason for homeschooling, but it does make my list of "things that made it easier for me to choose homeschooling once I decided it was a good idea."

    I'm a rare breed of (future) homeschooler, I guess. I read Graham's essay awhile back and was unimpressed. I recognize that a lot of (American) schools are apparently quite crummy ...

    --
    J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers