Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Precocity = The Absence Of Retardation

Read this essay by a 15 year-old homeschooled girl:

Home Schooling
Truly Free
~By Kristan Mikala~

As a student in almost every sense of the word, I have experienced many different types of teaching. The worst of all were the styles in which you were so boxed in you felt you couldn't breathe, couldn't move, couldn't do anything. The best was that rare wildflower of learning, homeschooling. In homeschooling, you are free; free to learn, free to be yourself. You needn't worry about what your peers think of you, you needn't worry about whether this or that teacher does or doesn't like you, you only worry about whether there's something you forgot to remember to learn. In the fields of your mind, you choose what you plant. You don't need someone to do it for you because you want to learn. No one can force you to do what you are already doing. There may be rows you'd rather not hoe, but for the sake of your future you do it anyway. You look forward to tomorrow, and you know that even if you aren't completely prepared, you can and will make it, because you can and will learn how to. Saying 'the sky's the limit' is untrue, because you can reach beyond. There are many things only you can understand because others aren't willing to learn. They won't open their minds unless someone does it for them, and some things can only be learned voluntarily. Some things can only be learned if one knows how to learn and loves learning itself. Some things can only be experienced with open eyes. Hiding from the world, and even from themselves, many cannot understand that.

How can you revel in the glory of the sunrise if you won't wake up?

How can you marvel at the beauty of a flower if you won't stop and look?

How can you breathe the fresh sea air if you won't leave your house?

How can you find if you won't seek?

You can't.

Neither can you reach your full potential if you limit yourself by closing your mind to knowledge. So open your mind. Shake yourself free of the tangling cords around you, hindering you from truly living. Shake yourself free and fly into the blue sky that expands with every new thing you learn. Soar into your ever-growing horizon, and learn what it is to be truly free.

Seriously, in the face of her obvious precocity and erudition, are y'all still worried about her level of "socialization"?

On that subject, here's a quick read.

Whenever I mention homeschooling - to ANYONE - I can start the countdown 5, 4, 3,... before I hit 1, I am rebutted with "socialization", "social skills", "interaction", blah, blah, blah, blah. Yet none of these education shirking outsourcing parents ever seem to be worried about exactly what their kids are learning. The important thing is to have friends, I guess.

And nearly 100% of respondents insist that their local government schools are "good", if not "great".

If they want to perpetuate that self-delusion, then I would advise them not to compare their 15 year old child to the young lady quoted above.

Hard evidence has the potentioal to be very unsettling.


Anonymous said...

You know, its great that are home schooling your kids. You obviously have the time, resources, and desire. Great-more power to you. I have no idea if home schooling leads to socialization problems and you know what: I don't care. You clearly have a plan so I am sure it will work out well. Your kids are also fortunate (as are mine) to come from a family with resources and intelligent parents (smart people breed smart people-most of the time).

All forms of education are going to have strength and weaknesses as do all people.

Not everyone wants to, or can, alter their lives to home school. That doesn't make them wrong and it doesn't make you right (nor vice versa).

Now I know that we could change our lifestyle and have one of us stay home and home school. You know what, we don't want that. Until I starting reading your blog I never even thought about it. I still don't want to do it. That is fine with us and I am sure our kids will be fine.

The great blind spot I see with your blog, and I see it in many people from all walks of life, is that you assume that what is right for you is right for all. I know home schooling is not right for us. Just as it clearly is right for you. Fortunately all of our children will be different and great in their own way. It would be a freakin boring place if they were all the same.

Slow out.

Anonymous said...

One more thing: The girl is clearly intelligent and a gifted writer (and one would assume speaker). You asked "Seriously, in the face of her obvious precocity and erudition, are y'all still worried about her level of "socialization"?"

The essay says absolutely nothing about her socialization. It is simply not relevant evidence to determine whether "socialization" is affected or not. It says nothing for or against that issue. Sort of like the foreclosure map. it is simply not relevant data. So yes, hard data can be a problem for some. However, only relevant hard data should be used. It is good data that children can receive a first class education at home. No argument here. It does beg the question: What parents put their teenage children into the front line of this debate? Should the teenager really be defending the only education style she has ever known? You would never ask a child in public or private school to write an essay defending the school that they are sent too. Children generally don't have a choice in the matter.

Slow-apparently your biggest reader -Rion out

CaptiousNut said...


I never even heard of homeschooling until a couple of years ago. That by itself is pretty amazing.

I guess I can't technically call myself a "homeschooler" until my son is 5 (1.5 years hence) and he's still at home instead of kindergarten.

I know full well how hard it would be for someone to give up a parent's income and homeschool. I am fortunate enough that the career path I chose lends that type of flexibility. (10 years ago I saw traders working from home or the beach living quite the life. That pushed me to stick with proprietary trading over the course of many bumps.)

There are younger people than you and I reading this blog who'll benefit from learning about homeschooling at an earlier age than we did. At least this way, they can plan their future to include the flexibility of one day teaching their own children.

Almost everyone has a *bad area* they could move to and comfortably subsist on one income (and homeschool). I just don't know OF ANYONE who's ever made that tradeoff. Everyone I know maximizes their income first and then figures out schooling.

Anonymous said...

Most people, myself included, associate home schooling with religious fundamentalists. I think that is where the socialization argument comes from. Has anyone actually studied that argument or is it just sort of a gut feeling argument? IE, Kids could not possibly be properly socialized. I would bet the latter. I assume you will make it a point to get your kids involved in activities with other children, whether home schooled or not, so they can do their own thing and establish their own social structures.

Yes we could move to a "bad" area. I see what you are staying. We could also stay right where we are on one income. We have always planned our fixed expenses around a scenario of one or the other of us losing our jobs (or both taking lesser work). Not that either of us are insecure, that is just how we are. It gives us a nice cushion and ever growing nest egg. I am 1 year younger than you and I do not want to work past 50. I have a 3 year old and a 4 week old so you can see the schedule. Not that this is relevant, I just feel like sharing today.

Income maximizing is coming first. But also, I just don't want to do it. I would like to stay at home with my kids, but I would not wish to school them. Maybe part time but there is no model for that.

Again-slow out.

Anonymous said...

Maybe part time but there is no model for that.""

Actually,there is, in many if not most school districts across the nation. It's called duel enrollment. I'd highly suggest it for anyone with young children who doesn't want to take on the whole of their children's education. The more you keep your kids out of the herd, while young, the better. However..PLEASE...teach your kids to read if you are going to put them in a government school. Teach them early, using phonics. You'll never regret it. And it's the least you can do for your children!

THD Credit Consulting said...


I met Neal Patrick Harris at the Magic Castle in Hollywood about a month ago - pretty cool dude. My guess is that he tears it up (in contrast to the Doogie Howser image). Good times that night.

CaptiousNut said...

I would never clink glasses with somebody who's got three first names!

Lay off the acid, TJ!