Sunday, November 13, 2011

Quality over Quantity in Education

Schooling. It's quantity over quality isn't it? Like mass produced shoes, shirts, furniture, sheets, cups and saucers. Make it as cheap as you can and sell at maximum profit.
That's okay. Mass production has its place but does it have to be that way with education?  As for me, I am always going to aim to get the best made shoes, the best tailored coat, the most carefully crafted bowls. I prefer to have one pair of well made boots then 10 poorly made, 'slave' laboured ones any day. I prefer to seek out that well made jacket in a used clothing store. I prefer to go without. And so it is with education.

I will pick a kid who knows one subject in depth- whose love and attention to the subject matter is evident. Whose careful and caring research into the topic reflects a depth of understanding-linking this knowledge to the wider context of the world around her.
They are making connections and evolving relationships with that interest as a starting point- their authenticity can not be dismissed.

I would pick that kid over one who has no love for anything. Who has a smidgen of knowledge on this and on that but cares nothing about anything much. That's the kind of kid that schools churn out everyday-ruining natural ability regularly. 

Look at the comments from this article to the question (posed to 13 year old kids)  "would you want to homeschool?" 

Notice the similarity in response to the question.
This is mass thinking at its worse.
These kids have no experience with home schooled or unschooled persons. They have no context whatsoever and yet here they are, voicing ignorant and hasty opinions- worthless half thought out ideas, non truths.
It is shocking to see the way these kids respond.

There was only one kid who was honest enough to say: "I don't know. Let people just do what they want to do."
This is a kid who was not afraid to say that the emperor had no clothes on.


sara said...

I guess what gets me the most is the whole lack of "socialization" these kids think homeschooling entails. Like homeschoolers are just locked up out of the "real world?!" What I would love to say is that school isn't exactly "the real world" either--though maybe it does engender many of the negative aspects of the real world! So much concern about fitting in and doing what other kids or people will approve of--yikes! I know to some extent all humans want to have a sense of belonging, but at what cost, especially emotionally?
My son gets plenty of real world experience from homeschooling, his access only limited by constraints by other adults on what is "appropriate" for my child as a growing, learning member of society. We have had challenges meeting and making new, solid friends, mostly because we are new to our city, but also because kids don't seem to play outside in the neighborhood anymore! What's up with that?

rfs said...

@Sara-I know! Before, you used to play with kids in your neighbhourhood-now it's all 'play dates.'
As to socialization- it is crazy how concerned people are about that. They fail to understand that you get socialized to what ever group you belong to- a family, your peers, your sect or what have you.
And what about all those kids that go toe school and are not well adjusted? I don't hear these people talking about that.

Anonymous said...

when I went to school the socialization is superficial. I moved to another country and only have contact with one of the countless of students I went to school with. There was no meaningful relationship that lasted a lifetime. That was my experience. I always say that I survived the school experience but I hated it. I did homeschool for part of my highschool years and I loved the freedom to learn without peer pressure and the nonsense I used to focus on instead of my studies. I learn more homeschooling that I had ever done in the regular school set up! I tolerated people but was always shy. I have only come out of my shell with age and life experience. In school I pretended to have it all together when it came to social skill. I kept away from befriending trouble makers (except one year). I think that was a good choice. I did not miss anything! I declare that regular schooling was extremely boring!Learning for me takes place when there is lots of freedom, inspiration, interest, motivation, and resources ready for my disposal!!!

rfs said...

@Anon-Thanks for sharing your story. Learning works best for everyone the way you've described it.

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