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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • The biggest argument for homeschooling is that the US public school system is almost totally inept at challenging students. The goal is to babysit and hopefully impart basic skills, not to educate.

    Case in point: In the US in the 50s and 60s, civics was a basic part of high school education. Being civic minded was important, as was a basic understanding of how government works. Today, civic mindedness is no longer part of the standard curriculum, and many if not most high school graduates don't know ho

    • We are homeschooling. Primary reason: we can offer better educational opportunities for our children that way. Second reason: most schools, public and private, are filled with undisciplined children and an overall unsafe, emotionally and psychologically, and sometimes physically, environment. Tertiary reason: I don't trust people I don't know with what they will try to tell my children (and even some people I *do* know).

      The primary reason might need some explanation: it is not so much that there are not schools out there that can offer a good education and good opportunities, but I can't see how an education specifically tailored to an individual child, planned and administered by people who know her best, could not be better than a system whereby the child is forced to spend many hours a day doing what is best for everyone on average.

      As to qualifications, I am unconcerned. In all humility, I know I am imperfect, but I know I and my wife are eminently capable and qualified for this work. I know France is not a city, that it is a floating spaceship. Currently, my income provides for the entire family, so my wife can spend all day with our daughter, and I work from home and have a somewhat flexible schedule so I can participate on occasion as well. If that changes, we will reevaluate our situation.

      As to socialization, I have always believed -- and it has time and again been proven by experience -- that homeschool children are socialized well if their parents are. In my experience, it really is that simple. That's not to say the parents don't need to engage the child in social situations just because they are well-socialized themselves, but parents who are well-socialized WILL engage their child in social situations.

      Plus, realize that today's homeschoolers are not yesterday's. Homeschooling used to be done primarily for religious reasons, in the U.S. So you got people who were already separating themselves from society, and taking their kids with them. Gosh, and that sometimes led to poor socialization! Who woulda thunk it? But that is not how it is done today. People from all walks of life, religions, and cultures are homeschooling, and they regularly meet together in groups, in part for the purposes of socialization.

      Yes, as the children get older, socialization -- journalism, forensics, sports, etc. -- become more of an issue. We'll cross that bridge when we get to it. Many school districts are already allowing participation of homeschoolers in extracurricular activities, and I see that only increasing. No situation is perfect. Noting that there are some problems with homeschooling just means that it is a human institution. :-)

      Not one of Ovid's examples applies to my situation, or the situation of most of the homeschoolers that I know, and I would bet some amount of money that his statement "every person that I know who is homeschooled is socially inept, or worse, poorly educated" just means that the people he knows who are homeschooled who are none of those are so well-adjusted that he doesn't know they are homeschooled.

      As to his extra burdens: to me and my wife, school was a huge burden. I was constantly bored and a perpetual object of ridicule, and my wife, while far better adjusted (then and now :-), couldn't handle the structure. Our daughter has the qualities of both of us such that I am convinced she will be highly bored and unable to deal with the structure. Homeschooling is the best option for us right now, and I don't see that changing.

      My daughter is only 15 months old, so we have not decided much about how to proceed, but I was telling my sister-in-law -- also doing homeschooling, independently of our decision to do it -- about my thoughts on education, and she was in almost complete agreement with me, and told me I am a "hard core unschooler." I didn't look it up until just now [naturalchild.com]. Sounds good to me. I love this quote:

      Schools were designed by Horace Mann. . .and others to be instruments of the scientific management of a mass population.
      -- New York City Teacher of the Year John Gatto


      Heh. This does look like a great way to learn. And obvious, too. Don't have a physics lesson, watch a baseball game, then talk about how someone hits a home run or throws a curve ball. That is how I have done most of my learning. Most of the time I spent in class was a waste.

      Our daughter is already learning this way. We let her hold objects and she plays with them and figures out how they work, and we show her things they can do. This sort of thing doesn't need to stop when the state says it is time for them to begin sitting in a chair and learning how to memorizing "important" things or how to get socialized in a manner befitting a "good citizen."

      It is true that homeschooling requires dedication and patience and time and, ideally, a bit of intelligence. But when those things do exist, why not go for it?