Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Reasons We're Homeschooling - the general school one

It's hard to actually know where to start.

Education is not the filling of a bucket, but the lighting of a fire. W.B. Yeats quote at DailyLearners.com
  • Hours of school (and here I refer directly to Junior school) - for a Grade 1 to be at school from 8am to 2 pm is lunacy – if you are telling me that you need all that time to instruct my children, then explain to me why you still need to send them home with homework every day? To reinforce a concept? Really? That can't be done in class? (or is the real issue the size of the classes hampers this individual attention?) And then why is time given to them so they can watch TV? Or do 'busy work' whilst a teacher marks other things/prepares something?
  • I have a real issue with homework – Children are being sent home with increasing amounts of homework earlier and earlier. Why is there not enough time during class to teach this all? The endless projects, reading, etc. Either something is fundamentally wrong with teaching styles/methods, or there is too much required in the syllabus to cram into a short time. Homework is necessary evil because of the large sizes of classes in school today. This leads to incredible pressure on very young children. Something has to give...and I'm not willing to let it be my child's life.
  • Class size: How can a teacher adequately monitor the progress of 35 children in a class? And here I speak from personal experience. Even at a high school level I could not help those that were falling behind...I simply had to let them go or refer them to remedial teachers for help. I focused on the core group of students, and tended to always aim to extend them and my students with higher capabilities. At junior school with fundamental building blocks of learning taking place all the time, this is even more critical.
  • Different learning styles can seldom be accounted for, not only in the way in which learning takes place, but also with regard to the difference between boys and girls. (However a school in our local community does account for this, and very well I might add.)
  • Starting ages of schools – without taking into regard the different developmental paces, schools, decided by the government, can start anything from 4-7 years across the globe. Who said that this was the best age to start teaching them? Has anyone ever queried the connection between the growing problems with literacy these days and the early age we're forcing their brains to make connections? And why is it that boys struggle so much – did anyone ever stop to think perhaps it would be better to start them later than earlier?
  • I have a problem with the stripping of innocence - how children in today's world have little or no time to be children, to play and have fun – indeed, grade 4 (age 10) children are taught about anal sex...because the state says it is a good idea. How can it possible help a child so young to know such details? I don't want the innocence of my children shattered before they need to know just because some politician has adopted some liberal world view. I'm simply not ready to handing over my child's education to the State and have them taught only what the state tells me is relevant. (Just a teeny nursery school example – we're very strict with what we allow our children to watch, and how much time they can spend in front of the TV. So imagine my surprise when King Arthur came home from school telling me all the ins and outs of the Ben 10 – a show he had only watched once with us. He could name all the aliens etc – and purely from what his friends had told him in the playground – imagine what else he could learn in a few years time!)

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