Burnett Thompson Blog

March 27, 2006

…more education

Filed under: Education — burnett @ 9:28 am

originally posted March 26, 2006

1) Home schooling is only slowly being understood by those outside the home school loop. One only need glance at a home school newsletter to get the gist of what really happens in their world. In a way, every child benefits from a blend of home schooling and institutional schooling. Home school networks are an institution in and of themselves. And public schools depend on parental involvement, outside tutors, online instruction, etc. So in the future, which is now, a parent will actually be deciding on the blend of institutional and parental involvement, rather than either/or.
2) Item from a home school newsletter: Genetic Researcher hosts lab on Monday, Jan 5, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Can take 3 students with biology background. Call 703.555.1212.
Obviously, the so-called home schooled bio student spends a day at NIH or some such thing, observes real science with real scientists, the latest lab equipment, has lunch with scientists, etc. etc. I’ll take this any day over a high school bio course. The home school newsletter is full of such field trips and projects.
3) It is old news that home schoolers often become accomplished musicians and artists. Why? Because they can work without time constraints on their craft in the morning, when they are not exhausted by a day of dealing with 7 different teachers that start at 7:00 a.m. The typical high school student has little if any time, to say nothing of focus, for the development of skills on an instrument. And what time there is occurs during late afternoon or evening.
4) A local home schooled 12 yr old documented the construction of the family home: meetings with the architect, permits, trenches, inspections, concrete, plumbing, electric, framing, paint, finish work.

5) What the institutionalized high schooler and the home schooler share is online studying. Teachers put assignments on line and assignments may be completed and submitted online. Entire courses can be completed online, and this matter must be addressed by the schools.
6) The required state elementary curriculum can be completed in about an hour and a half each day for a typical home schooled student. So what are kids in school doing for the other 6 hours?
7) Often I hear, “Now that he’s out of college, he can figure out what he wants to do”. Why not let him figure that out when he’s 12? Lots of kids know how they want to spend their time, but have a required curriculum that defeats their goals from the very beginning. 16 years of this? Absurd.

1 Comment »

  1. Quite interesting, Burnett, and well written too. Were you a home schooler? haha. Your points are compelling. I would add a few:
    1. If you home school your, say, two children, you would save at least $9,000 (combined) in their private school tuition. This is, I would say, a minimum for private schools, $4,500 apiece per year. Of course, if they’re in public school, you don’t have that cost, but then you have the other “lessons” they are learning, the popular culture or subculture of the day, that you may then have to spend much time trying to counter, at home. Friends of ours purchase a home schooling curriculum on videotape which they say is quite good, and it’s about $1,200 per year. So, there is still some expense, but you can buy a lot of these things for the $9,000 you save. In our case, our two are twins, so the same material could be shared. So, there is financial savings in home schooling, which gives you quite a “warchest” to work with in getting them some excellent home schooling materials.
    2. Time freedom. We would be able to travel quite a bit, skiing in the winter, to Europe, to “island vacation spots,” even Disneyworld, and at off-peak times, except that our children being in school ties us down. Home schoolers can come and go as they please and the schooling goes along with them. Much of this travel would be highly educational. Again, that $9,000 per year savings could pay for lots of such trips, every year.
    3. On the other side of it, I feel my children, in their class of 20 children — who, to some extent, are from diverse families and backgrounds — are learning socialization skills that I see are often deficient among many home schoolers. Most of the home school kids I know are desperately lonely and feel isolated. And, learning to wait, to listen when you are not the focus of attention, to behave, classroom discipline, are lessons that most of us need to learn to make it in adult life. When we learn to read other work or otherwise continue our education when we have finished our assigned work, we can really thrive in an educational setting.
    4. My wife and I benefit greatly from having a break from the children for the six hours a day they’re at school. We can get something else done. Home schooling would be a fulltime job for at least one of us. Rewarding and draining both, I am sure. Having someone else take charge of them, “fresh blood,” for those six hours a day, is helpful to us. Yes, as home schoolers they would have that, to some extent, with private tutors and such. But, that would also tend to tie up one of us in taking them to and from things, waiting during lessons, etc.

    In summary, I see real advantages — and disadvantages — to home schooling. To some extent, by being highly involved with them from the time they get home from school until bedtime, on weekends, and in the mornings before school, we get some of the advantages of home schooling, but get the advantages of “regular school” too.

    - Rich

    Comment by Rich Boyd — March 27, 2006 @ 10:07 am

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