Tag Archives: Home schooling

Do public schools stunt teens’ maturity?

Newsweek carries a provocative essay, “why teenagers are growing up so slowly.” The topic includes but goes beyond public schooling.

Here’s where public schooling comes in:

Basically, we long ago decided that teens ought to be in school, not in the labor force. Education was their future. But the structure of schools is endlessly repetitive. “From a Martian’s perspective, high schools look virtually the same as sixth grade,” said Allen. “There’s no recognition, in the structure of school, that these are very different people with different capabilities.” Strapped to desks for 13+ years, school becomes both incredibly montonous, artificial, and cookie-cutter.

As Allen writes, “We place kids in schools together with hundreds, sometimes thousands, of other kids typically from similar economic and cultural backgrounds. We group them all within a year or so of one another in age. We equip them with similar gadgets, expose them to the same TV shows, lessons, and sports. We ask them all to take almost the exact same courses and do the exact same work and be graded relative to one another. We give them only a handful of ways in which they can meaningfully demonstrate their competencies. And then we’re surprised they have some difficulty establishing a sense of their own individuality.”

And we wonder why it’s taking so long for them to mature.

On the other hand, most of the home-schooled children I have known seem to be remarkably mature for their age. Perhaps that’s because many home-schooling parents (contrary to stereotypes about “unsocialized children”) engage them in the broader world.

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Home Schoolers are a Diverse Lot

While doing some research for another subject, we came across this interesting point about home schooling. It provides further evidence for journalistic impressions.
In the journal “Education and Urban Society,” Ed Collom of the University of Maine studies the motives of parents who homeschool.

Parents are motivated by four different concerns, he says, including academics and pedagogy and religion. He further says that religion is declining, relatively speaking, as a motivation.

He concludes that “homeschoolers are a heterogeneous population with varying and overlapping motivations.”

More evidence that families need school choice. One type of school doesn’t work for everyone.

(See this abstract from Sage Publications)