Monday, April 09, 2007

It Could be Right

Seems that one of yesterday's hypothesis - that home educating reduces learning difficulties that result from anxiety connected to negative stereotyping, may be right after all.

From the The Pilot, Michael Pakaluk, a professor of philosophy in Cambridge, Mass writes:

"Strikingly, homeschooled children do not show the “black/white” test-score gap that is the bane of public and private schools. Likewise, homeschooled children perform equally well regardless of gender."

He doesn't quote his sources, and I would normally guess that these could well be just so much HSLDA noise, were it not for the fact that this does seem to be the case on the ground here. OK, so we are creating another stereotype here, "HE kids don't stereotype and therefore don't suffer the consequences", but as stereotypes go, it is one of the more constructive ones!

Another thing he says:

"Homeschooled children socialize better. Yes, the truth is actually the opposite of the common criticism, that “homeschooled children do not socialize well.” Homeschooled children learn to deal easily with people of all ages -- babies, parents, friends of parents, and the elderly. They acquire a mature, “adult” mentality from an early age. (I know I’m in a homeschooling household when I sit down to talk with a friend and find that his teenage children actually want to sit with us and listen to our conversation!) In contrast, there is absolutely nothing less well-suited to good “socialization” than placing a child with hundreds of other children who are exactly the same in age. Remember that “homeschooling” has been the norm for nearly all of human history; compulsory education in common schools is a recent phenomenon, dating from about 1850."

which also seems about right in our experience. For example, in very recent history, home educated Ds has twice been chosen as the friend that a schooled child wanted at their birthday celebration. These school children preferred to spend their special time with one HE child, rather than any of all the others with whom they are forced to spend all their time in school. It is tempting to draw conclusions from this.

HT: Blogdial


Anonymous said...

I don't think what happened before schooling was massified is comparable to home-education now.

Only a very rich elite of people could afford to have private tutors to educate their children.

The kids of the poor worked in farms and factories.

Schooling helped the world develop.

Carlotta said...

I don't mean to give the impression that schooling is always less desirable and efficient for some learners. I do, on the other hand, mean to convey the idea that compulsory schooling for all is a damaging meme since schooling is useless or worse than useless for many and that therefore options to it should be easily available.

The government put out what has so far proved to be a myth that schools can manage properly personalised education. So far we have seen very little evidence for this in classrooms, and we just aren't prepared to wait around while they try to work it out.

How, for example, do you solve the problem for children whose learning suffers from anxiety induced by being monitored by adults not of the child's choosing or anxiety caused by being forced to learn in a public space?

For the few for whom a school environment and a standard curricula is suitable, I would have no argument, but for all the others, we must continue to seek other better solutions.

Home education has been shown to work for many children who were failed by school, and indeed for children of parents who did not achieve much themselves in school. The idea that you must have a qualification to show that you can help your child learn is simply ridiculous, and having looked at some of the coursework of a friend of mine who did the PGCE, I can promise you that most home educators I know of, some of whom don't have a GCSE to their name, can think more clearly than the muddle-headed thinking to be found in that course.

Spose we shouldn't forget that Prof of Ed, Paula Rothermel did find that home educated children of working class parents did extremely well.