Tuesday, April 7

Why They Think They are Failing

This is in the Denver Post this week.

Here's a couple quotes:
"American students are falling behind because of the traditional school calendar."
You know I've heard a lot of other lame excuses that make more sense than this one.

Most homeschoolers are done by lunchtime and we're blowing the ps kids away in test scores. Hmmmm. I don't think its the hours they are confined to a classroom that make the difference.
"Saturday school"
When I was in school this was code for detention. Having less time to think for themselves, pursue personal interests, relax... yeah - we should DEFINITELY get rid of THAT!

Here's an interesting response.


  1. Malcolm Gladwell addresses this issue in his book Outliers (which I recommend acknowledging it does have spurious logic in parts). He demonstrates that kids from wealthy families tend not to fall behind in summer break whereas kids from poor families tend to.

    The point is that kids with richer parents learn all year round at home while kids with poorer parents tend to have a "learning free" summer.

    The difficulty is that like with all education it is up to the parents. But if parents won't educate their kids, should public school compel them to come in during the summers? The answer must be: perhaps.

    I would be curious for an apples to apples study on homeschool kids which I've never found. Since most homeschooled kids come from families with an above average income, where the parents are married, and usually have more formal education, it would be interesting to see how they stack up against public school kids from the same sort of demographic.

    Is there a study out there like that?

  2. I disagree that most homeschool kids come from families with an above average income. The people that I know personally who homeschool have a below average income in part because they are living on a single income at most. I know people who homeschool who are living below the poverty line and in public housing but their kids are thriving and doing amazingly well and far above the kids in their same neighbourhood when you consider academics.

    One thing about being homeschooled is that you can't sit in the back of the classroom passing notes and not paying attention hopeing the teacher won't notice. You won't slip through the cracks.

    A homeschooled child's parents are personally invested in making sure that their child gets a good education. The time spent on schooling is more wisely spent and kids who need extra help are always going to get it.

    You don't have one teacher teaching a full classroom of kids teaching them all in the same manner. A homeschooled child can get an education that is taylored to their needs and how they learn.

    They don't need to spend endless hours on schooling because the hours that are spent on schooling are spent more wisely.

  3. I just stopped by blog hopping through the HOTM blog roll. I think it's an interesting facet of the American public school system that when something isn't working, they just want to add more.

    You're not catching on to reading? Let's have you come in for some after school tutoring.

    We're falling behind in writing? Let's start requiring more formal writing at younger ages.

    We're falling behind due to a tradtional school calendar? Let's start having you come in on Saturdays.

    When is the American educational system going to start looking for real answers and real reform instead of just putting a band-aid on everything?

    And, I beg to differ with the first commenter's thoughts on homeschool demographics. I agree that more homeschoolers' parents are married than the parents of ps kids, but the "above-average income" and "higher secondary education" describes few of the famlies that I know. Most of us are single-income families with some college, but few degrees.

    Not that I wouldn't like to be above average on the income thing. ;-)


For two years I have had comments turned off as a discipline to write for myself. I'm seeing the other side. I just ask that you comment with grace.