Sunday, November 06, 2005

Not an Advantage of Home Education

Future Pundit is a perennial favourite round this way, but with the recent presence here of over a hundred home educators, who have spent the entire afternoon, evening and in some cases through the night in each others' company, I had to smile at his contention that home-schooling might be the way to go to increase the longevity of later-born children by reducing the risk of them coming into contact with infectious diseases.

From First Born Girls 3 Times More Likely to Live to 100:

"A first born child typically grows up in a home with fewer children than a later born child. So the first born does not have the later children as vectors to give the first born infections. But the later born children have the older earlier born children as sources of pathogens. When the 5 or 6 year old goes off to school, gets infected, and then brings home the infectious pathogen to infect the 1 and 2 year olds then the younger later birth children end up getting hit by more infections which each exact their toll. How to compensate for this? One could imagine that home schooling might reduce the infectious disease risk posed by older children to younger children in the same family. If the kids do not go to school to get dosed with pathogens by other kids then the kids won't bring those diseases home to infect their siblings".

Perhaps though, there could be some possible advantage for home edders with regard to this situation, insofar as HE kids are less likely to be forced to go to social events when they are feeling groggy, since they won't get into trouble from any educrat, they won't have to produce a doctor's certificate, and they won't miss out on those oh-so-vital chunks of the curriculum.

However latent but nonetheless infectious illness remains a problem, so we await the next batch of colds in about 3 to 4 days time. Oh well. Perhaps it will reduce their chances of getting auto-immune disorders?


Ron R said...

An advantage for later HE infants is that their older siblings are not bringing new viruses, germs and bacteria home from school every week.

Carlotta said...

Ah, so you did find this to be the case. That is interesting.

Perhaps the reason we didn't experience this here was because we did have a lot of contact with schooled children, though the HE crowd could still have provided a significant pool of infection all on it's own, I'd have thought.

My personal pet theory on first born increased longevity is that first borns are notoriously less risk-taking than the happier subsequent children.

(Don't know if this absolves parents of some blame, however!)