Learning that Works
The Time Magazine article titled “Learning that Works” is about vocational training which dropped out of favor 40 years ago but is now getting attention. It might just as easily be an article about what we in the homeschooling community have been doing all along! Here are some quotes and my comments:
“It’s without doubt the best program we have. It’s an alternative way to teach them math, science and reading. They love it. They’re attentive, working hard, hands on.” This is one of the basic reasons why we homeschool — we know that knowledge isn’t about “subjects” but is all interconnected. And we know that kids who are doing what they love work hard and learn more.
“Vocational education used to be where you sent the dumb kids or the supposed misfits who weren’t suited for classroom learning. It began to fall out of fashion about 40 years ago, in part because it became a civil rights issue: voc-ed was seen as a form of segregation, a convenient dumping ground for minority kids in Northern cities.” This is perhaps an explanation for the bias against homeschooling that many of us encountered in the early days. Our friends and neighbors saw it as needed for troubled kids. But in my book, I list 64 Reasons Why We Homeschool and you could perhaps think of more!
And most high school graduates are not prepared for the world of work. The unemployment rate for recent high school graduates who are not in school is a stratospheric 33%. When our son was around 9 years old, his schooled friend told him he’d never get a job if he didn’t go to school. He had obviously been fed that line by his parents but ironically, it turned out to be true! Our son started his own business when he was 18 and is earning a very excellent living. Click here to see his websites. His living in the real world and doing real things were the perfect preparation for the world of work. He did take a few college classes but found those as time-wasting as the 3 semesters of school he did in high school.
About 27% of the students in Arizona opt for the tech-ed path, and they are more likely to score higher on the state’s aptitude tests, graduate from high school and go on to higher education than those who don’t. This is no surprise. I used to ask kids how they liked school and the answer changed from positive to negative around third grade or a little later. No wonder they don’t want to continue on. And you may not know this: homeschooled kids actually have scored higher than schooled kids on the ACT every year since 1997!
“Most students respond better to a three-dimensional learning process. It’s easier to learn engineering by actually building a house–which my family did when I was a kid, by the way–than sitting in a classroom figuring out the process in the abstract. Some students can respond to two-dimensional learning, but most respond better when it’s hands on. Every surgeon needs to know how to sew, saw and drill.” Again, a backbone tenet of homeschooling.
“In my home high school, you’re sitting in a room with 30 other students who don’t care, trying to pay attention to a teacher who doesn’t care.” This is sure what I have observed while substitute teaching. Our son went on a tour of intermediate school once to see if he wanted to start school (he didn’t). His write up of his experience is in my book and would be hilarious if it weren’t so sad that that’s how schools are.
To read the full article, click here.