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Why homeschool: Learning from real life

Wed, Jul 4, 2012

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by Jennifer Hartley

This is the second essay in a series on the topic of why our family is homeschooling (Part I is here). I’ve been thinking about all the many, interconnected reasons that my educational philosophy has been taking the shape it has. Some overarching themes that I can point to are: collapse awareness, learning in and from the real world, and striving for a revised culture based on integrity, kindness, and respect rather than domination and control.

Collapse awareness shapes the way I see every institution of industrial culture: schools, governments, corporations, and all of their subsidiaries. What seems clear to me is that this dominant global culture is completely insane and murderous, in ways both maddeningly subtle and horrifically explicit. I think a large majority of Nature Bats Last readers/contributors can think of many examples of how this is so. Does it really make sense, given that I have a choice, to send my child into the maw of that culture, to be exposed for a huge number of her waking hours to the practices and narratives that most people consider “normal” and “adaptive”? Is it normal to train children from a very young age to submit unquestioningly to authority? Whose purposes does this serve? Is it a good use of children’s time to learn how to play the game known as School, in which they are pitted against their same-age peers to find out who the “winners” and “losers” are via a relentless onslaught of grades and testing, as well as assessments of behavioral “appropriateness”? What do these assessments actually measure? Whether one is categorized as a winner or a loser, does anyone actually “win” in a world of climate catastrophe, rampant species extinction, nuclear contamination, and brutal wars? What do children end up believing about the world and themselves in an environment characterized by competition and control? Too many children learn to shut up and play the game, because they are told they have no choice but to play it. They are told that if they are “good,” they will be rewarded with a college degree, a fulfilling career, and they will contribute to society as agreeable, functioning adults. Those who resist are treated quite harshly, often forcibly medicated or simply labeled and given up on.

Part of the gift of collapse awareness is to expose the rigamarole for what it is: a colossal game, a construct, something not based in fundmental reality. All of these assumptions about the value of schooling: are they for real? when we are quite likely facing the prospect of extinction of our own species? It’s a bracing realization, to take in the view of the scaffolding of the current culture as the set of a theatrical performance, rather than what we think of as “everyday life.” Everyday life, in fact, is about sunlight, plants, food, physical reality, biological reality, a viable planet to live on, and only on those fundmental elements does the cultural scaffolding get to remain up. Take, for example, discussions about “the economy.” Is the economy simply the measure of financial shenanigans, zeros and ones on a computer mostly, or is it entirely based on far more important forces in the real world? What good is the hope of a diploma, a job, a bank account, a reassuring identity, if one cannot be healthy and remain alive, on a planet with other healthy, alive beings?

I reject the assumption that school is the appropriate avenue for my child to learn how to become a functional adult. Our family life is organized around building resilience, maintaining our innate curiosity and love of learning, living with integrity, and fulfilling our moral imperative to be joyful while we are alive. Schools operate on the premise that our culture, our lives, will continue in pretty much the same way as they have for the past 50 years or so: everyone will be assigned their station, the “economy” will keep chugging along, just follow the formula and all will be well. Except all is not well, for crying out loud. For starters, I can’t even assume that my child will have a “normal” human lifespan. (And even if collapse wasn’t on the radar, in truth, we are all mortal, and we don’t know how long we’ve got.) I also don’t assume that schools, colleges, conventional workplaces, and so on —- those “everyday life” places —- will continue to exist in the way that they do now. Would it be responsible of me to have my child invest her energy in constructing her life on a crumbling scaffold?

Having my child learn within and from the natural world feels like the right thing to do. It’s disturbing to think that there’s even a phrase such as “the natural world,” as distinguished from… what? The unnatural world? Does this phrase indicate that we collectively grasp, in fact, that we are pathologically disconnected from nature, and from our natural selves? In our case, the natural world includes a large focus on being outside, connecting with plants and animals, relating to human beings of all ages, and respecting our own minds and hearts. We tend the garden. We are friends with earthworms. We make music and art freely, many times a day. We feel the sun and rain. We talk about patterns: the water cycle, the web of life, the sun and planets, the mesmerizing ubiquity of spirals. We sit enamored of the range of human narrative and experience, as we explore libraries and museums and attend performances. We love our cat, the bear that walked through our yard, owls, ocean creatures. I never ask her questions such as “What do you want to be when you grow up?” This is because our focus is on living fully in the present, rather than the imagined future. Each day brings choices and possibilities.

We aren’t attempting to save the world through homeschooling, or through any of our various efforts to disconnect from industrial empire. We aren’t going to save the world, period. What we can save is our dignity and sanity. We can save our ability to think freely. We can offer friendship and comfort to those around us. We can live according to our priorities as much as we possibly can, and when we face constraints we can repeatedly question whether they are absolute constraints, or manufactured constraints. I believe school is a manufactured constraint, not an inevitable force that children must submit to. A fundamental premise of mandatory schooling is that children must submit to the domination of the state. By exercising our legal and moral right to learn outside of school, guided by conscience, my daughter and I are participating in a much larger movement to create a human culture based on respect and peace. I don’t expect that this movement, vibrant, many-layered, and widespread as it is, will actually “save” us. But I’d rather follow my conscience to the end.

My daughter, who is five, has been asking me a lot of important questions lately. “What does ‘manipulate’ mean? Why are some people greedy? Why do some people watch a lot of TV? What is sexism? Why do people want money?” It’s challenging to answer her as fully as I can, in terms she can understand, but I try my best each time (and if I don’t know something, I say “I don’t know,” and if there are many angles to an issue, I try to include as many as I can). I want her to never stop asking why.

___________________

Jennifer Hartley is a homeschooling mother, radical homemaker, permaculturally-inspired gardener, and local food activist. She was a founding board member of the non-profit Grow Food Northampton, and lives on a budding, quarter-acre homestead with her family in western Massachusetts. She is also a former reference librarian and still gets excited about connecting people with resources and ideas, helping people evaluate information, and collecting scads of books. These days she and her daughter can be found biking around town, harvesting violets and sprinkling them on salads, reading like mad, inventing songs, attending skillshares at Owl and Raven, studying chicken coop designs, and finding learning opportunities under every rock (literally).

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Guy’s forthcoming radio interview is described here. It will broadcast on Radio New Zealand Saturday morning at 8:00 a.m. If I’m doing the math correctly, that’s Friday at 4:00 p.m. on the east coast of the United States.

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210 Responses to “Why homeschool: Learning from real life”

  1. Robin Datta Says:

    The most important skill omitted in public education is Critical Thinking.

    As described in the Wikipedia link, Critical thinking is thinking that questions assumptions. It is a way of deciding whether a claim is always true, sometimes true, partly true, or false. 

    Without it, individuals and groups will behave in whichever way they are molded by TPTB.

    This is because the intellect is steered by the pre-rational, non-verbal part of the mind, the seat of emotion and values: it can be programmed, as Josef Goebbels had pointed out, by repeatedly assertion. This is particularly effective if the assertion appeals to short-lived emotion, thus shaping longer-lasting values that channel the intellect in the desired direction. 

    The ability to assess every assertion up front is not innate. It has to be learnt and practiced to be effective. Learning how to think is in a different paradigm from learning what to think.

  2. Robin Datta Says:

    It is also to be remembered that every explicit assertion rests upon implicit assumptions.

  3. Kathy C Says:

    Jennifer your child is lucky to have you for a mother. Sounds like her questions are going to further your education as well :)

    Robin, Since species that don’t have the feature of rational/critical thinking have lasted longer on the whole than it looks like the human species will last, perhaps it is not a evolutionary stable feature. But since we currently do exist and since people of ill will can use their rational thinking to deceive those not trained in its use, the training in critical thinking of our children is a must. The Texas GOP is making the case for homeschooling pretty strong.

    http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/06/texas_gops_2012_platform_accidentally_opposes_teaching_of_critical_thinking_skills.php

    The Republican Party of Texas’ recently adopted 2012 platform contains a plank that opposes the teaching of “critical thinking skills” in schools. The party says it was a mistake, but is now stuck with the plank until the next state convention in 2014.

    The plank in question, on “Knowledge-Based Education,” reads as follows:

    We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.
    Elsewhere in the document, the platform stipulates that “[e]very Republican is responsible for implementing this platform.”

  4. Tom Says:

    As long as i can remember i’ve had problems with what is determined by others to be THE curriculum. Rigid, unwavering, since the 18th century, the same crap over and over with no meaningful changes. None of which prepares a person for the nebulous future they’ll face.

    My middle son went to one of those few really grounded early educational schools (Steiner had a lot of influence on the design and course of studies i’m pretty sure) where they learned about plants and animals because the school was a working farm. The students planted, weeded, watered, picked, prepared and ate the produce; tended to the animals (cows, sheep, chickens as well as the pets – cats, dogs, rabbits, fish, etc.); while they learned Greek mythology (that he still remembers in his early 30’s), a love of reading, discussing and learning as much as they could, and basic math.

    Sometimes i think the Amish out our way have it right – 8th grade ed is about as far as they go and growing food is the primary focus of all their learning.

    Another thing that bothers me is that all of human discovery in math and science has been misused and appropriated (and now even driven by) the military and corporations for their own benefit and to subjugate the rest of us. Even higher math has been mis-applied to Wall Street to make money, but basically caused the crash in 2008 (see: The Formula that Killed Wall Street http://www.wired.com/techbiz/it/magazine/17-03/wp_quant?currentPage=3).

    It goes on and on: Monsanto trying to patent and control food production on many fronts, the most dangerous of them being that they’re buying up as many seed companies as they can get their greedy hands on; they genetically modify seeds to die after one year so people have to go back to them year after year for seeds; their genetically modified crops are a real concern since what went into them could be anything from any other species including fish, animals, bacteria, viruses, etc. and there is no labelling required (due to their lobbying efforts, influence on “our” legislature).

    The entire focus of modern education is to be a nameless cog in the giant machine of industrial society and not to develop or adapt to changing conditions. Over the years i heard complaints from thoughtful students asking what the point was of learning some sonnet or reading some long-winded book by some long dead author when they couldn’t fill out a job application; why did they need to learn quadratic equations when they were most likely never going to use the knowledge and didn’t understand the basic stuff like how insurance works, how to do one’s taxes, or the fact that things like car loans and mortgages are never explained. It all seems like so much “jumping through hoops” with no particular outcome expected.

    i don’t hold out any hope of it changing and am actually looking forward to its demise along with the industrial economy.

  5. Tom Says:

    Here’s an explanation by Chris Hedges that touches on this:

  6. OZ man Says:

    Tom
    I think the overall game of so much high level content in the later study is so that those who manage to do extremely well fall into two camps. They either go on to be the ones who can negotiate the systems of power and rise to the top, or they are the high level specialists that TPTB need for critical functions like Neclear Fussion calculations and telecommunications systems or encryption systems and as you say all the obvious misuse of those skills you offered.
    I say to students when they whine about the same thing that it is important to be exposed to a range of knowledge and skills that are involved in some broad ares of discipline. You are most likely not going to be interested in everthing you are introduced to. You are asked to look at the content, make an honest attempt at engaging with it, butg you will find along the way some of the material will be meaningful to you personaly, and you will grow a lot by following up on those things.
    As an example I use a play by Shakespeare, and amid groans I confess something that helped me deal with the world. I tell them that the benifit of a largly free, broard public education is a great privelage, and to make the best use of it for themselves that they can.
    My maths teacher was very good at showing concrete examples as to what quadratic equations were used for and such abstract things. I think a lot of the earlier educational philosophy was centreed around leveling the class playing field and minimising the limitations of the students family educational background as a factor, if it was so.

    These days I think it should only take 3 hours of tutoring a day to educate children. TPTB have opted for a hell of a lot of childminding to enable parents to be absent to work to increase the GDP.

  7. Jennifer Hartley Says:

    Robin Datta: I couldn’t agree more about the importance of critical thinking. As a former academic reference librarian who would attempt to guide college students in evaluating information (i.e., use critical thinking skills), I can’t tell you how routinely alarmed I was at the general lack of those skills in young adults. And much of the time, they were also unmotivated and unconvinced about the importance of gaining those skills. The only thing that kept me going in that work environment were the exceptional students who had genuine motivation and curiosity.

    Kathy C: YES, her questions absolutely further my education. I’m daily stunned by how much I learn from and alongside my child. When I say that we’re homeschooling, I mean to say that we are both students of life as well as teachers.

    Also, my dear friend who is a professor in Texas says this: “The home schooled students I have had have been among the smartest, most disciplined, and most mature. And given the potential direction of education in Texas (thank you, Texas GOP), perhaps more parents should be homeschooling their kids here.”

    Tom: I agree with you. And I think many people will be looking to homeschoolers for ideas and support when most institutional schooling meets its demise.

    OZ man: “TPTB have opted for a hell of a lot of childminding to enable parents to be absent to work to increase the GDP.” Yes, I think a big role of schooling today is to serve as child care, so that parents can be more securely held captive by the industrial economy.

  8. Farmer in the Dell Says:

    We school at home too, with a state funded “charter school.” Most people around here homeschool for religious reasons, but we’re doing it for the simple fact that public schools are more and more resembling minimum security prisons, and the teachers acting like wardens, and the students acting like overcrowded rats devolving into a “behavior sink.”

    Basically school has turned from a small community institution into a “social hierarchy with toxic pathologies,” as the following article puts it:

    Plumbing the ‘Behavioral Sink’: Medical Historian Examines NIMH Experiments in Crowding

    http://nihrecord.od.nih.gov/newsletters/2008/07_25_2008/story1.htm

  9. Publicly Schooled Says:

    The one major aspect of society that homeschooling often misses out on is society itself. There’s something to be said for participating in the system with others — learning both how it works and what its shortcomings are. Homeschooling can narrow the educational focus to the extreme, as an analogue to the context-aware search engines of our time. I would go as far as to say that hoping to learn from your child is a selfish desire… it should be almost entirely about him or her. And with seven billion people on the planet, things like targeted education, seed cloning, etc., are both inevitable and necessary. Maybe more people should concern themselves with not having kids in the first place (as opposed to the somewhat futile pursuit of managing them once they’re born).

  10. Privileged Says:

    I enjoyed this essay immensely. Being a teacher for a decade plus allowed me to figure out my own path. Watching the system destroy the wonderment of learning was enough for me to leave. I could no longer participate in a process that had no desire to create thinkers.

    Participating in a system is fine but if that system is harmful to its participants and the land base which we all depend upon then “learning” how it works is simply adding fuel to the fire. One doesn’t learn how a system works without being trapped by its shortcomings. Socializing is important but I can think of other ways it can be accomplished without subjecting someone to the complacency of public education.

  11. Tom Says:

    Thanks for the thoughts and reflections of my little rant. Really, there’s so much wrong with education that i could go on for days. One of the underlying problems is that it encourages competition rather than cooperation in almost everything and DEMANDS OBEDIENCE without question. i’ll leave it at that or this would turn into a book-length tirade.

    Thanks to Jennifer for broaching the subject.

    Privileged: i hear ya!

  12. Jennifer Hartley Says:

    Publicly Schooled:

    Do you believe that “society” equals “school”? I’m confused by your assertion that homeschooling misses out on “society.” Last time I checked, my family was living in a neighborhood and interacting daily with a multitude of other people who live around us. We actually leave the house, a lot. Every day, in fact. We encounter conflicts. We encounter people, children and adults of all ages, who are different from us, who have different ideals and priorities from us. We spend a great deal of time thinking about and interacting with “society.”

    As for participating in “the system,” there is still much of industrial culture we must necessarily engage with. But in my view, after assessing the risks and benefits of formal schooling to the best of my ability, I’ve concluded that the risks outweigh the benefits by a wide margin. Clearly, you’ve concluded differently, and I don’t wish to persuade you otherwise. You are welcome to pursue the path that you feel is right.

    “Homeschooling can narrow the educational focus to the extreme…” Sure, it can. So can school. Really depends on the context, eh? I won’t speak for other homeschooling families, but ours seeks a wide lens and a strong emphasis on interdisciplinary investigation. I haven’t written here about the entire scope of what we learn about, but I can tell you, it’s quite wide now (even with my daughter being 5 years old), and I hope it will only get wider.

    “I would go so far as to say that hoping to learn from your child is a selfish desire… it should be almost entirely about him or her.” My primary focus is very much on my child, I’d like to assure you. But I don’t think it’s selfish or wrong for me to be learning from her at the same time. I think parents, whether they’re homeschooling or not, NEED to be learning from their children. If no learning is happening, I would go so far as to say that something is dreadfully wrong. Parenting is challenging and should cause anyone with the slightest bit of investment in it to grow, change, and learn. However, I also want to respond to your implication that a proper parent is always completely selfless and never focused on him- or herself. (And I would add that this charge is almost always leveled at mothers rather than fathers and contains not a small amount of sexist assumptions embedded in it.) The truth is, a responsible parent is one who makes sure to attend to her/his own needs as well as those of her/his child(ren). One can’t give from an empty well. I think you may be trying to make the point that children are not to be used as objects to satisfy the wants/needs of adults, which I agree with, but at least in my family, learning is not used as an instrument of exploitation. Learning alongside one another is very different from using each other.

    Regarding people not having kids in the first place: One of the reasons I have only one child is because of my concerns about overpopulation. But still, I have one, and I don’t think it’s productive for me to feel self-recrimination at the fact that she’s alive. I don’t view parenting her as a “futile pursuit of managing” her. It seems you view children and parenting in a different light. So be it.

  13. John Stassek Says:

    Jennifer-

    I have enjoyed your continuing essays on homeschooling. Thank you for your thoughtful and articulate explanation as to why some families choose to go this route. I also think your daughter is lucky to have you for her mother.

    As is the case with Farmer in the Dell, most families in our area homeschool for religious reasons or to try to shelter their children from being bullied. All valid reasons from their points of view. As you describe the flawed public school system with all its shortcomings you have an equally valid reason for choosing to home school your daughter. Again, from your point of view. But I wonder if it is really that cut and dry.

    “I reject the assumption that school is the appropriate avenue for my child to learn how to become a functional adult.”

    Seems to me that school is only a part of that path. Much of the success or failure in becoming “functional” depends upon the parents and homelife of that child. Experiences at home can go a long way in determining how inquisitive, adaptive and well adjusted your child becomes. And I don’t think you can honestly say every experience your child receives within the public school system is a negative and harms her development. One positive role model–a teacher with some of the same characteristics as Guy, can overcome and outshine a dozen mediocre ones, and provide a clear path to a happy and fullfilling life. And there are many such teachers our there, trying to do just that.

    If your situation allows you to homeschool your daughter, I applaud and respect your dedication and effort. But I felt it was necessary to point out the unfortunate fact that circumstances don’t allow many families to choose this path for their children. These families can still help their children prepare for whatever life has in store for them, and should not feel as though they are shortchanging their children’s future by not homeschooling. Just my two cents worth.

  14. Publicly Schooled Says:

    Jennifer,

    You’re probably a fine parent, so please don’t take my criticisms personally. As is common within our species, you’re justifying your actions — both in your own mind and in front of an audience. I would only caution against keeping your children too close and attempting to shield them from the world. They’re eventually going to escape your umbrella, so letting them out into the wild — however routinely and briefly — makes sense from the earliest age possible. That way, you can discuss things they see and initially interpret on their own. It’s a path to critical thinking, if you will.

    If you don’t want them to grow into wages slaves, teach them the ways of hunter-gatherers in addition to the “regular” schooling they receive. But don’t sell them short by restricting access to what most everyone else learns. They may actually choose a career over tending a garden, tanning hides, etc. And they might even change the world in ways you were unable to foretell.

    You only have one daughter, and she’s barely of schooling age (as TPTB see it, anyway), so there’s plenty of time to change your tack. Or not. The choice is obviously yours.

    Incidentally, having a child in the school system would give you an incentive to help steer that ship — presumably, for the benefit of everyone.

  15. Jennifer Hartley Says:

    John Stassek:

    Thanks for your kind and thoughtful comments. I agree that few issues are cut and dry. And I certainly don’t begrudge children any positive role models they receive, no matter the setting. It’s not my intention to convince people who are satisfied with schooling to give it up. I also think your point is valid that many families feel they have no choice in the matter; I’m not here to point fingers at individuals who are caught up in a larger system that makes unreasonable demands. I do think, though, that some families *could* homeschool if they decided that’s what they want. It’s not impossible for everyone. I know homeschooling families who have two parents working full time; homeschooling families that are low-income; a full gamut of different situations that people are in. So I have real, live examples of people who are making it work, and are happy about it.

    Publicly Schooled:

    Thanks for taking such an interest in making sure that my child is not over-protected or sold short. Believe it or not, I don’t intend to restrict my child’s access to information or experiences, nor do I presume to dictate her future career plans, nor do I presume to foretell the ways in which she may have an impact on the world. I genuinely hope you will caution parents who send their children to school in exactly the same way.

    “There’s plenty of time to change your tack. Or not. The choice is obviously yours.” Um, yeah. You’re not trying to make me feel anxious or doubting, are you? I appreciate your concern.

    “Incidentally, having a child in the school system would give you an incentive to help steer that ship–presumably, for the benefit of everyone.” I see your point. Except I don’t think it’s fruitful to invest my energy in an institution that I have no faith in. Nor do I believe it benefits others to send my child to school. There are others who have chosen to fight the battles of improving schools, and they put their hearts and souls into it. Good for them. That’s their path, not mine. I’m completely uninterested in institutional reform of any sort. To continue the analogy, I don’t think that ship is steerable; I think it’s already hit the iceberg.

  16. Librarian Says:

    Public Schooled, I’m with Jennifer. It does sound like you don’t approve of jennifer’s choice. But Jennifer isn’t harming anyone, including her daughter. This country was founded on live and let live.

  17. Publicly Schooled Says:

    Hey, it’s a free country (assuming you’re talking about the U.S. of A., whose borders don’t contain the Internets), and I certainly don’t begrudge Jennifer her free will. Just trying to present a reasonable counter-argument, really. People have been throwing in the towel and foretelling the End of Days for as long as people have been growing old (and, supposedly, wise). It’s natural from self-preservation and -centered points of view. The percentage of such predictions that have come to pass is very low, and humanity has generally thrived instead — at the expense of the planet and future generations, perhaps, but that’s a non sequitur.

    Statements like these, taken from the title essay, are subjective (and deserve a counter-point for the sake of critical thinking):

    – “Collapse awareness shapes the way I see every institution of industrial culture: schools, governments, corporations, and all of their subsidiaries.” …but not when it comes to procreation, as noted previously.

    – “I reject the assumption that school is the appropriate avenue for my child to learn how to become a functional adult.” …I suspect that the author is herself a product of public schooling, and am an admitted one myself. And that seems to have worked out somehow. Or is it that things aren’t like they used to be?

    I submit that the music *will* eventually stop, but that it’ll probably be long after we’re all history. And spending life consumed by the thought of this (or any) eventuality isn’t really living.

    And what, exactly, are you with Jennifer on, Librarian? Her lack of interest in what may be good for society?

  18. OZ man Says:

    Publicly Schooled

    I think there is an issue with context in different societies, and the USA is but one of 200+ countries that this website will go to.

    Because TPTB now dictate a world economy, or have for several hundred years, the way to ‘get ahead’ especially in developing countries is to have some basic education, now in English, but in French also in the past. We see the colonosers dictating language also.

    So I do view a basic education as helping people in developing countries to improve their economic situation, and it is from that perspective that I advise students to value thier opportunities for education. No matter what we think of the iniquities of Empire, it is the present ‘system’ the majority of people are competing in and attempting to adapt to so they may ‘prosper’.

    I think forums like this are one bring a range of inputs to change that, by individuals choosing to make other plans. Jennifers’ choices are her choices, and if she has found a way to legally love and nurture and guide her child, obviously not in a social vaccuum, then who can stop her, not that I would want to, so be it.

    Back in the mid 1970’s I attended a community school for 2 years in 6th grade, repeating a year because I was a bit young in that grade. Although there was a lot of heady mix of ‘radical’ ideas being staged then this school was run by the parents, and had many of the features of homeschooling that jennifer outlined. A degree of Steiner and Montesouri educational philosophy permeated the small group atmospher, of about 20-25 children fro ages 6-12 y/o.

    Any educator will tell you the better educational situations are where you have small student numbers to a teacher. One to one we call tutoring, and apart from the main lack of group social interaction is optimal for delivering guided remedial and advanced skills training etc.

    Conversly, the bigger the class size ratio, here it is 30:1 in state schools, the poorer the trust and quality of individual relationships between teacher and student become. If TPTB had the intention of really improving on some of the known downsides of industrial scale schooling they would drastically reduce class sizes, and increase expenditure. TPTB see no need to spend any more money on the system, because the ones who matter to them, can and will find ways to pay for extra tutoring to compete for subsequent higher education places.

    I benifitted enormously in that 2 year period at a community school because of all of the features that Jennifer outlined that relate to homeschooling. It was not idylic by any means, but the features that were meant to come into play did. Even though the other parents were not my own they gave me the same order of respect, attention, skill transfer, particularly in the creative arts, and also that my impulses and motivations were to be trusted as guides to future growth.
    The areas I was week at, in particular were geography and spelling/written language then. When later attending high school I was considdrably behind in these two areas, but I was well prepared and motivated to learn these things as they came up. That was what my mother, as a single parent, was to be commended for. Having the trust and resolve, to believe that it is better for children to be enabled learn what they need to learn at any point in life, than be taught content without enabling the tools to progress.

    The key to homeschooling, in my view, is the human being to being contact.

    This runs counter to the majority of screen based experiences children, and adults too, are rapidly adapting to in the digital age.
    Attention spans and shallow, immediately accessable content is training minds to only be able to accept quick uptake messages and visual information. This is in part due to the modern economic fact that digital time and bandwidth costs money, and the shorter the messages of empire, consumption and social formatting,(encoding prejudice and discrimination), the less cost for the interest groups who trade that content.

    Lenghty periods in the company of others, while doing directed or free roaming activities occurs less and less in industrial life, and we are short changing our young’uns if we dont spend some of those formative years in some of these critical endeavours.

    Exceptional teachers in the industrial system have the ability to mittigate the disadvantages of the ‘industrial’ aspects of the school setting, and develope a strong rapour with many students, and in that situation deliver close human education. They are rare, and I bet most of us remember them to this day, if we had one or two in our schooling.

    With the pressure that the public education systems are under due to lack of investment, and systematic under resoursing, we see the rise of ugly competetative behaviour in and around these institutions, aka bullying that John Stassek cites and some places resembling minimum security prisons, as Farmer in the Dell cites.

    Jennifer has given the most important thing a perent can give her child, time to deeply exchange what flows in each other day by day. Call that education, call it love, call it guidence, I call it being human.

  19. Robin Datta Says:

    There is a distinction between society and community. Society is hierarchical, aligned vertically, and constraining horizontal interactions to an explicitly or implicitly prescribed enforceable framework. Community is oriented horizontally, and its framework for interactions is implicit, evolved through mutual understanding and consent rather than prescribed from above. (It is rarely explicit, since that would require a formal mechanism for enforcement, entailing a hierarchy.)

    It is unfortunate that the word “communism” has taken on its current meanings and connotations; when originally used by Marx it referred to the nature of community, the very antithesis of hierarchical society that it has come to mean in non-communist countries. (In communist countries, the word “socialism” was used instead, and “communism” retained its original meaning of a non-hierarchical stateless community with voluntary communal ownership of the resources and means of production, a Utopian anarchy. 

    Hierarchical systems promote their power through disincentivizing and even penalizing horizontal interactions outside their prescribed framework. The transition from community to society is a lot easier than building community: it is much easier to know how to behave under the gun of the state than to develop implicit norms of conduct without prescription and enforcement. Those who have been raised outside hierarchical structures will have an easier time of building such community. It should also be remembered that an non-hierarchical relationship cannot be one in which learning is exclusively limited to one party. 

    Many would consider sacrificing a human being to the leviathan in a gambit for a little bit of leverage in controlling that leviathan a rather rash venture.

    Choosing to reduce the population of one’s descendants by 50% in the next generation is still quite congruent with an appreciation of humanity’s predicament.

    It is very difficult if not impossible to break out of an authoritarian mind-set. Such a mind-set is forged in the crucible of hierarchical family structures in childhood. Parental guidance while mandatory, becomes hierarchical when imposed arbitrarily

  20. Robin Datta Says:

    The origins of authoritarian thinking:
    The Bomb in the Brain

  21. Steven Earl Salmony Says:

    What we know about evolution would lead sensible people to conclude that there is nothing or precious little that can be done to change the human ‘trajectory’. So powerful is the force of evolution that we will “do what comes naturally” by continuing to overpopulate the planet and await the next phase of the evolutionary process. Even so, still hope resides within that somehow humankind will make use of its singular intelligence and other unique attributes so as to escape the fate that appears ‘as if through a glass darkly’ in the offing, the seemingly certain fate evolution appears to have in store for us. Come what may. In the face of all that we can see now and here, I continue to believe and to hope that we find adequate ways of consciously, deliberately and effectively doing the right things, according the lights and knowledge we possess, the things which serve to confront and overcome the ‘evolutionary trend’ which seems so irresistible.

  22. Kathy C Says:

    If we lived in normal times I would add this caution about raising children. The best of intentions may not get the results you hope for. I have seen kids turn completely around from the way they were raised as many times as I have seen them follow in their parents footsteps. Another danger is that in correcting our own parents failings of those of society we create new failings by trying too hard.

    That said, these are not normal times. What kids need most is skills, ability to grow food, hunt, make do with little, observe, defend, hide etc. Of course when the grid fails and the nuclear power plants all go Fukushima what they need most is distance and favorable prevailing winds. Of course such locations won’t help unless they are also in favorable climates and who knows where that will be.

    Here is a map of the world nuclear plants, now if we could just add prevailing winds….http://blogs.ft.com/energy-source/2011/03/16/the-nuclear-world-interactive-map/#axzz1zr3pR9WG Sibera looks good.

    Hug everyone you love frequently and if you are still fertile get a permanent fix – wives if your husband had a vasectomy get a tubal too because in unstable political situations rape is more frequent. Love those who are here – DO NOT bring any new human into life in the horrors that await us.

  23. Robin Datta Says:

    I continue to believe and to hope that we find adequate ways of consciously, deliberately and effectively doing the right things

    Once Wile E. Coyote has run off the cliff, it is debatable if he can delay the inevitable by not looking down.

  24. the virgin terry Says:

    ‘Is it normal to train children from a very young age to submit unquestioningly to authority? Whose purposes does this serve?’

    it is normal in ‘america’, imo. a better question is is it smart? is it virtuous? is it rational? it is according to the ‘authorities’ who make ‘public’ schools what they are. as to whose purpose this serves, the answer is obvious: the myopic ‘authorities’.

    ‘Schools operate on the premise that our culture, our lives, will continue in pretty much the same way as they have for the past 50 years or so: everyone will be assigned their station, the “economy” will keep chugging along, just follow the formula and all will be well.’

    schools produce a lot of fools. perhaps benthedonkey can say it better at slightly more length. there’s no shortage of ignorance/delusion in any section of society. it’s the product of many generations of dumbing down our species. many generations of dogmas. several generations of ‘public schooling’.

  25. BenjaminTheDonkey Says:

    Evolution has come to prescribe
    Human life in a small, simple tribe,
    So it doesn’t improve
    When the mind tries to groove
    To a complex industrial vibe.

  26. Kathy C Says:

    Ah Benjamin you did it again. Good one. I had been trying to do one based on Robin’s comments and got stuck, but you inspired me once again

    Coyote’s gone over the cliff
    Looking up, looking down what’s the diff
    There still is not ground
    Though he look all around
    Either way he will end up a stiff

  27. BenjaminTheDonkey Says:

    Kathy, thanks and good one yourself haha! :D

  28. Robin Datta Says:

    Off-topic:
    Radio New Zealand National
    Guy McPherson: Agrarian Anarchy

    One point left unclarified in the interview was the distinction between tax, barter and gift.

    A gift is proffered and accepted outside any context of fungibility. Any existing norm of reciprocity does not apply either explicitly or implicitly to any specific instance.

    Barter is a mutually voluntary exchange of fungible items. A relative value is determined for each item and acknowledged by both parties. 

    A tax is a confiscation of one party’s assets regardless of their consent, by another party wielding the threat of force. 

    Another point left unclarified was abuut actions contributing to the termination of the industrial economy. It is true that those promoting such actions will be complicit in the ensuing suffering and early death. But it is to be remembered that the longer the collapse is delayed, the deeper the trajectory moves into overshoot, and the greater the numbers subject to the suffering and early death. Inaction through indifference, ignorance, denial makes one complicit in this. 

  29. Victor Says:

    Jennifer,

    I must say that I admire your philosophy on teaching in the face of Collapse. Seems very practical from my perspective, though near impossible from that of a normal citizen of civilisation – the Great Unconnected. How can you teach something you know little about and rarely experienced, if at all? But you answered that question I think – you do it for your family, not to spread it to deaf ears.

    In reading your philosophy I was reminded that most home-schooling in Europe and America require home-schoolers to teach certain subject materials and offer proof that they have met state requirements at certain points. How do you intend to address this situation in the future?

    And of course that question leads to teaching resources. What kinds of resources do you think you will use? Computer training? Workbooks? Traditional books? All of the above? There are subject matter that you are not at all competent to teach for many reasons. What will you do about those? Are there others in your home-schooling circle who can barter and exchange of expertise in those areas?

    Overall, nicely written essay and well articulated!

  30. Robin Datta Says:

    An addendum to the rant on gift, barter and tax:
    Gift and barter are horizontal interactions outside the hierarchy. Sale & purchase is a horizontal interactions controlled within the prescribed framework of the hierarchy. The units of exchange (money) are issued through the hierarchy. They are units of value, the value being determined by the market or by authorities in the hierarchy (through price controls). In addition the hierarchy may take a cut as a sales tax.

  31. K Says:

    Jennifer,

    Collapse Awareness

    Disregarding the buzzy-ness of the phrase, if you believe what you expounded under the phrase, it shows a disturbing distrust of human race. We have been marching on, driven by forces, mostly Darwinian forces, for a long time. We have gone to abyss many a times in our recent history and in the past as far back as I care to go. Isolating your children from your fears is the worse you can do to your children. In a Darwinian sense, you are raising fodder for others to munch on.

    School as an appropriate avenue

    School is one of the many avenues a child learns to be a “functioning adult”. It is also a necessary avenue to learn the subjective judgments of crowds and more importantly learning to form a supportive crowd to pursue life. You are depriving your children that opportunity and the associated risks that enhance survival. You are likely to raise “dysfunctional adults”.

    By the way, all “functioning five year olds” have many questions and your daughter is no exception.

  32. Librarian Says:

    Wow, it looks like Jennifer’s decision to homeschool is raising some hackles.

    K, “social Darwinism” is not the only way humans can live. Sometimes humans can choose different paths that might serve them better. That is what Jennifer is attempting to do. It isn’t about her distrusting the human race, it’s about her distrusting this culture and choosing a different path.

  33. OZ man Says:

    Robin Datta

    I have viewed 3 of the four ‘Bomb in the Brain’ video segments.
    I think you are onto something there. I want to thank you for bringing that to my/our attention.
    EVERYONE NEEDS TO SEE THE ‘Bomb in the Brain’ reference from
    Robin Datta above.
    There are some really smart people out there, but unfortunately they aren’t in a majority in the Political leadership, or financial groups.

    The raveges of centuries of Empire and the multitude of compounding brutality have left very many of us trapped in temporary, but nevertheless destructive holding patterns of adaptation to coping with the non – delivery of unconditional love (I hear Freud sneeze in his grave)- and the infliction of its substitute, abuse violence and emotional rejection, neglect.
    If you watch this material, fully, and can’t relate to it then you are either one of the very fortunate who were fully loved, nurtured and protected, or you are not quite relating the material with your own life experiences – that is your own directly, or real people you have known.
    All I can write just now is,
    “The Bastards”.

    Robin Datta

    Also, the question you have about Guy’s suggested remedy is really like how much of the patient can you afford to amputate for them to survive?. Do you amputate a hefty chunk today, now, this minute, or wait a week and be pretty certain your antibiotics will fail, and no other regenerative ‘cure’ is found, and then have to amputate below the neck?
    I know the mataphore is rough, but it is not on all of us to committ mass suicide to save half of the present number of humans. The problems were there by the time we were all born.
    It is not only about us either. But even if it was only about us, then we will not make it if it is BAU.

    Although Guy’s reasoning entails a very high degree of human suffering, and dislocation for many from ‘comfort’, the consequences of BAU and a very sharp uncontrolled, unprepared-for collapse of the industrial economy will bring that about with much more suffering and less biosphere capacity to cope in, during that critical near term after said collapse.
    If the indicators Guy and others cite are accurate then his reasoning is sound in calling for that rapid collapse, and that does not make ‘us’ responsible.
    Others have pointed out though, that without adequite support Nuclear containment pools around the globe, some 400 +, I think, will go critical, and vaporise and then kiss your genome, and other species genome, goodby. Gymp city here we come.
    I haven’t read Guy’s response to that probable consequence of RIC-rapid intentional collapse, but if anyone knows where it is, or Guy wishes to respond, that may help clarify.
    In closing I find it difficult to understand how someone who posts the link to ‘Bomb in the Brain’, could not see, very clearly, that the culture of ‘conspicuous consumption, and unsustainable having and getting, and throwing away and replacment’ has only become acceptable because of the degree of FUBARing we have received from the violent and abusive substratum of Empire. Ergo well adjusted, happy individuals find no lasting joy and fulfillment in consicuous consumption, and need no more than adequite food, shelter and human companionship.

    I do on occasions worry for a generation who when faced with the loss of a personal item run up and down the train carriage yelling: “I’ve lost my Mobile, I’ve lost my Mobile, I’ve lost it all… Oh nnnooooo…”
    Jennifer is onto something too.

  34. Andrew Says:

    We’ve home schooled for nearly 20 years. Over that time, we spent our time on reading (a lot), working around the house and garden, camping, games and music. We didn’t have a particularly laid out creed or philosophy as to why we did it.

    My only goal was to offer a different experience of choice than what institutionalised monoculture education offers – an early gift of living a life on the outside of industrial society.

  35. Kathy C Says:

    K, functioning 5 year olds who are beaten at home or in school may have questions but don’t ask them if they are punished or reprimanded for asking them. Think Nuns with rulers. The child who asks too many questions in school is often considered a trouble maker. Eventually they learn to not only not ask but also not even think them.

  36. K Says:

    Librarian,

    Your concept of “social Darwinism” is misguided. I said “Darwinian forces” and for your information, social coopration is a result of these forces.

  37. K Says:

    Kathy C

    Don’t send your child to the schools that have Nuns armed with rulers (or shoes in some other cultures). And don’t beat up children at home either!

  38. Robin Datta Says:

     It is also a necessary avenue to learn the subjective judgments of crowds and more importantly learning to form a supportive crowd to pursue life.

    The subjective judgements of herds caged under the guns of a hierarchy may be easier to asses than the subjective judgements of groups that coalesce on the basis of reciprocity and voluntarism. Having the skills to make those more difficult judgements may be preferred by some. 

    If the indicators Guy and others cite are accurate then his reasoning is sound in calling for that rapid collapse, and that does not make ‘us’ responsible.

    Condoning or promoting collapse now makes makes one complicit in the consequences, both good and bad, of such a collapse – if it occurs now.  Not doing so makes one complicit in the consequences of a delayed collapse, which after progressing to much greater overshoot, will have more dire consequences. In particular, it makes one complicit in the delay.

  39. Kathy C Says:

    K – classes of 20 to 30 children per teacher don’t allow much teacher time for answering questions with or without a ruler. Questioning is kept at a minimum just by the sheer inability of one person to answer the questions of so many.

    I didn’t send my kids to schools with nuns and rulers. However in many states public school teachers are still allowed to administer corporal punishment.

  40. Jennifer Hartley Says:

    Victor:

    In the U.S., homeschooling requirements are established by individual states. I live in Massachusetts, where oversight of homeschooling is exercised by municipalities. From age 6 to 16, I will need to submit an annual educational plan to the superintendent of our school district, describing our scope and sequence of subjects and number of hours of instruction. I will also need to use one of the following methods of evaluation at the end of the year: standardized testing, progress report, or dated work samples. (My sense at this point in time is that I will probably opt to do progress reports.) More details about Massachusetts legal requirements are here: http://www.ahem.info/HSGuidelinesataGlance.html

    I’m gearing up for preparing an educational plan next year, and gaining insight and support from other homeschooling parents in this process. After reviewing other educational plans that have been accepted in my town, I feel confident that we will fulfill the state requirements.

    About resources: of course, I don’t assume that I have all the knowledge my child could ever need. Any educator or teacher worth their salt should assume the same. So accessing a variety of resources is essential, and focusing on learning how to learn is key. Resources that we intend to lean on (and currently are using) are: books, workbooks, public libraries, university libraries (we are very lucky to have many amazing libraries all around us), resources on the Internet, friends, a variety of adult mentors, other homeschooling parents, classes on specialized topics (for example, my daughter was in a farm program this spring, will participate in a music program this summer, and there are many other programs in our area both geared towards homeschoolers and towards children in general), daily on-the-spot learning from direct experience and observation, etc. I’m not sure how to summarize the resources, because our basic stance is that there are a huge number of resources for us to access. Seeking out those with expertise in particular topic areas is very important. There’s also a center for independent learners in our area called North Star which is geared toward pre-teens and teens, so when she’s that age we may consider that as an option. In terms of basic skill-building, like literacy, numeracy, critical thinking, etc.- I am competent to guide my child in learning these skills. She’s already technically “ahead” of the state standards in terms of those skills at her age level (I know this because I’ve examined the state standards in detail). We are also part of a homeschooling group, which has been very important in terms of shared activities, expanding resources and options, and gaining support and ideas for refining our educational goals.

    K, I don’t think I distrust the human race. I do distrust institutional structures of industrial civilization. I also feel strongly that sending my child to school would carry a higher risk of her becoming a dysfunctional adult than homeschooling would. Yes, I agree that all functional five-year-olds have a lot of questions, and that my daughter is not unique in this way; my point in the essay was that I don’t want to suppress her innate curiosity and love of learning. I don’t answer her questions with “because I said so.” I don’t tell her “You have to stop asking questions now, because the rest of the class needs to focus on the pre-planned activity.” If there’s some reason I have to delay answering her questions, I try to let her know when we can return to them. I take her questions seriously. I listen to her. I agree with Kathy C, that there are many children who learn to stop asking questions or even thinking them.

  41. K Says:

    Jennifer,

    Your despise of the institutions and industry of human race is a clear cut evidence of deep seated negativism. If you look at the statistics of well adjusted functional adults produced by institutional (private or public) schooling, your arguments are obviously unfounded. You have a choice: engage and change existing institutions better or even create new ones, don’t be afraid. The main reason for a school is very simple: not all parents are qualified to teach (beatings at home per Kathy C) and no single parent is qualified to teach all subjects. Isolation of a child from broad range of peer groups and associated behaviors is really an intellectual crime against the society and the child.

    Kathy C – and some states have death penalty for minor crimes.

  42. Kathy C Says:

    K “Kathy C – and some states have death penalty for minor crimes” And that makes what point?????

  43. Victor Says:

    Isolation of a child from broad range of peer groups and associated behaviors is really an intellectual crime against the society and the child.

    K

    This is simply untrue. The home-schooled children I have been around have every chance of a wide array of social contact, esp with other home-schooled – lots of group activities, shared experiences and opportunities for friendships.

    As far as isolating a child from a broad range of peer groups, most kids happy with only a few, perhaps one or two. It’s the one who join everything and want to be President of the class who usually wind up being parasitic psychopaths directing corporations or going into politics.

    I was interested in only two as I recall – orchestra/band, and being a member of the local chapter of Anarchists Anonymous (our goal in the final year of school was to burn it down… :-) ).

  44. K Says:

    Kathy C –

    That was in response to your statement:

    However in many states public school teachers are still allowed to administer corporal punishment…

    I hope you see the analogy.

  45. K Says:

    Victor,

    So you played in orchestra/band of two of homeschooled kids. Interesting.

    By stating something “untrue” does not make it untrue. We as a nation send out ambasadors world over to the countries that are not homeschooled. Go figure!

    Homeschooling is myopic.

  46. Victor Says:

    K

    So you played in orchestra/band of two of homeschooled kids. Interesting.

    Look again. I did not say that. And I was raised in public schooling – never been home-schooled.

    By stating something “untrue” does not make it untrue. We as a nation send out ambasadors world over to the countries that are not homeschooled.

    Could you please tell me where this statement comes from? Certainly nowhere near my words, was it? With all respect I have no idea what you are talking about – actually there are two no-sense-to-me statements in this quote.. Actually I thought the only thing we export to other nations without home-schooling are terrorists, fear of being democratised and settled with crippling illegal sanctions, massive numbers of weapons and drones, greeting them with death and the song Bye Bye, Miss American Pie. So clearly I am missing something here.

  47. Kathy C Says:

    K, “However in many states public school teachers are still allowed to administer corporal punishment…” was intended to indicate that one could be punished severely for asking questions in public schools and thus avoiding schools with nuns and rulers did not rule out being punished for asking questions.

    I see no analogy with states having the death penalty for minor crimes unless by that you mean one should not only avoid schools with nuns and rulers but also choose to live only in states with corporal punishment not allowed. One would have to avoid huge swathes of the US for that http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/School_corporal_punishment

    Further your statement about states (assuming you mean states in the US) having death penalties for minor crimes appears to be wrong at least in practice “Capital punishment in the United States can be administered for a wide variety of crimes ranging from drug trafficking to aggravated murder. However, in practice, it is reserved only for homicide-related crimes including aggravated murder, felony murder, and contract killing.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capital_punishment_in_the_United_States

    Can you please identify a state that has killed someone for a minor crime and indicate what that crime was.

    I have 8 nieces and nephews, 3 step grandchildren, and 2 children of friends that were homeschooled. They have lots of friends, and those who have left home have done well in jobs and socially.

    You say to Victor “By stating something “untrue” does not make it untrue. We as a nation send out ambasadors world over to the countries that are not homeschooled. Go figure!” I would note however that asserting something is true as you did does not make it true any more than asserting something is untrue makes it untrue. Victor has been around home schooled children and his assertion was made on the basis of some evidence. His observations along with mine would seem to indicate that at least some home schooled children do just fine which made your statement untrue for some students. Your assertion lacks any observations or studies to support it.

    Further we send ambassadors to almost every country in the world regardless of how they school their children. We occasionally withdraw an ambassador over some issue, but I have never heard of us withdrawing one over whether they home school their children or not. Have you? If so provide proof.

    Wherever you were schooled you did not get a very good handle on logical thinking.

  48. Kathy C Says:

    In another 1992 study, Dr. Larry Shyers compared behaviors and social development test scores of two groups of seventy children ages eight to ten. One group was being educated at home while the other group attended public and private schools. He found that the home-schooled children did not lag behind children attending public or private schools in social development.
    Dr. Shyers further discovered that the home-schooled children had consistently fewer behavioral problems. The study indicated that home-schooled children behave better because they tend to imitate their parents while conventionally-schooled children model themselves after their peers. Shyers states, “The results seem to show that a child’s social development depends more on adult contact and less on contact with other children as previously thought.”8

    Dr. Brian Ray reviewed the results of four other studies on the socialization of homeschoolers and found:
    Rakestraw, Reynolds, Schemmer, and Wartes have each studied aspects of the social activities and emotional characteristics of home-schooled children. They found that these children are actively involved in many activities outside the home with peers, different-aged children, and adults. The data from their research suggests that homeschoolers are not being socially isolated, nor are they emotionally maladjusted.9

    J. Gary Knowles, University of Michigan Assistant Professor of Education, released a study done at the University of Michigan which found that teaching children at home will not make them social misfits. Knowles surveyed 53 adults who were taught at home because of ideology or geographical isolation. He found that two thirds were married, which is the norm for adults their age. None were unemployed or on welfare. He found more than three fourths felt that being taught at home had helped them to interact with people from different levels of society. He found more than 40% attended college and 15% of those had completed a graduate degree. Nearly two thirds were self-employed. He stated, “That so many of those surveyed were self-employed supports the contention that homeschooling tends to enhance a person’s self-reliance and independence.” Ninety-six percent of them said that they would want to be taught at home again. He stated, “Many mentioned a strong relationship engendered with their parents while others talked about self-directed curriculum and individualized pace that a flexible program of homeschooling permitted.”10
    More on a variety of studies of the socialization of home schooled children at http://www.hslda.org/docs/nche/000000/00000068.asp

  49. Robin Datta Says:

    Your despise of the institutions and industry of human race is a clear cut evidence of deep seated negativism.

    I went to schools run by catholic nuns and at a later age, by those run by priests: I finished high school at a school named St. Bonaventure’s High School. Although a heathen, I attended catechism – dulia, hyper-dulia, latria and such: I can still recite the Christian’s creed. 

    It was not until a few years ago when reading a Jewish translation of the Tanach (Hebrew bible) as a goy that I came to know there are actually 613 Mitzvot, I.e. commandments. I also understood the hypocrisy of claiming to follow the “First Commandment” while worshipping a putative Mashiach (Messiah).

    Likewise, I lost my esteem of Americans when as a Captain (MC) in the uS Army, stationed in Korea, I saw how they behaved when out of the milieu of America.

    In “Islam” humans are designated as “ashraaf-al-makhlukaat”, the pinnacle of creation. In Hinduism and Buddhism, this plane of existence is the lowest plane on which one can “attain” “enlightenment”. Humans are the only form in which one can do so on this plane.

    Isolation of a child from broad range of peer groups and associated behaviors is really an intellectual crime against the society and the child.

    Society is a hierarchical structure: rats raised in a cage will come to accept the bars of the cage as the norm. In the Rat Park experiment, rats that had been addicted to morphine in cages, when placed in a more natural environment with vegetation, adequate food, water and mates rejected water containing morphine and preferred plain water. Addiction to morphine could not be induces under those conditions.

    Segregation of children according to age and educational level is wholly unnatural for Homo sapiens, and was not a part of our communities for almost all of the two million years of the existence of the genus Homo. 

    A distinction must be remembered between immorality and criminality. In the land of the free and the home of the brave, it was once a federal crime to give any assistance to a runaway slave from the southern states attempting to escape to the north. A crime against society is not immoral; community has no explicit laws and therefore no “crimes”. 

  50. K Says:

    Robin,

    My post specifically addressed to Jennifer, but no matter, I will try to respond: I surmise that you recognized your “Rat Park”. However, similar “Rat Parks” exist in all other faiths you mentioned. In them, there are rulers and lashes and isolation chambers and what not that you probably are not aware of.

    I referred to “intellectual crime” for which there are no laws (yet?) to dish out any punishment. So your convoluated defense for your intellectual crimes is valid, except that you will not forgive yourself…

    You really should not use wars to define a dialog, and,some of the soldiers of all nations behave badly. It is Darwinian really…

  51. K Says:

    Victor,

    It seems you did OK with public schooling.

    You began with “This is simply untrue” in your first response to my observation regarding “intellectual crime”.

    This intellectual crime arises from abridging the freedoms of a child by excercising “ownership” of being a parent.

    Orchestra of two was a light-hearted comment!

  52. Robin Datta Says:

    My post specifically addressed to Jennifer

    Comments placed in public view are open to public discussion. 

    I surmise that you recognized your “Rat Park”

    The experiment was done by Bruce K. Alexander. I have not done experimental psychology. 

    However, similar “Rat Parks” exist in all other faiths you mentioned.

    To my knowledge, it was a psyccogical experiment, not a “faith” experiment. If an equivalent experiment using humans is implied, even then I am unaware of any “faith” interested in or performing such experiments. 

    I referred to “intellectual crime” for which there are no laws

    Crime:
    1. An act committed or omitted in violation of a law forbidding or commanding it and for which punishment is imposed upon conviction.
    2. Unlawful activity: statistics relating to violent crime.
    3. A serious offense, especially one in violation of morality.
    4. An unjust, senseless, or disgraceful act or condition:

    While the third and fourth meanings are listed in the dictionary, it would be ludicrous to imply them in defense of a hierarchical system. Morality is a cloak that conceals the gun of enforcement in hierarchies. 

    You really should not use wars to define a dialog

    I am unaware of referring to any wars in any comment on this post. I did refer to my military service in Korea, but that was 23 years after the armistice. 

  53. K Says:

    Kathy C –

    You ramble too much. If you like to write (which is mostly cut and paste, or links, basically meaning that you read but don’t know whether you comprehended or had any original thinking) get Guy M. to invite you to write something here or get your own blog.

  54. K Says:

    Robin –

    “Rat Park” and confining a child to home calling it a schooling is fine with me.

    It is surprising that you understand “collapse awareness” but not understand “intellectual crime”.

    It was not your military service that mattered; it was loss of esteem of Americans (I presume you are still one) because a few, or significant few behaved badly. Obviously, you did not stand up to change the situation but elected to hide and despise like the homeschooling advocates.

  55. Yorchichan Says:

    Kathy C

    Re: HSLDA

    Forgive me Kathy (I know you didn’t wade in a couple of blogs back when you might have been tempted to), but I can’t let another such glaringly obvious misuse of data pass (mostly not on your part).

    Firstly, you are quoting from a site advocating home schooling; hardly a possible source for bias there, then. Secondly the sample sizes quoted are far too small to draw any real conclusions; for statistical significance, sample sizes in the hundreds if not thousands would be required. But my greatest bugbear would be that commonest of statistical errors: “correlation does not imply a causal relationship”. I would fully expect homeschooled children have fewer behavioral problems (and even that they would excel academically, though this is not mentioned so maybe it is not the case). This is simply because homeschooled children on average will have more caring and more intelligent parents than publically schooled children. Unless the studies quoted made an attempt to compare like with like i.e. ensured that the children from the homeschooled and publically schooled samples came from equally loving homes and had parents of equal moral standings and equal intelligence, any conclusions drawn are worthless. It’s difficult to imagine this was the case because the task would be almost impossible. So, there is no evidence that the homeschooled children would not have been equally well adjusted if they had attended public schools.

    Not that I’m against homeschooling. I hated school and now I find my own children hate school. I did homeschool my children (or at least teach them around a swimming pool!) last year for a couple of months. This was through circumstance rather than choice. I found it extremely difficult. When they started school again they were top of the class at mathematics but bottom in reading and writing, reflecting my own preferences. Now every week my children beg me to let them stop school and teach them myself again, but I know I lack the skills and patience. All I can do is tell them not to take school too seriously, tell them to try to enjoy it and tell them it’s not important whether they are top or bottom in class.

    My only proviso about homeschooling would be that children like and need to play with other children, preferably unsupervised if living in an environment where safety is not an issue. (Adults are boring and should not be around when children play.) I’ve only ever met (to my knowledge) two homeschooled children. I don’t remember how old they were, but certainly of primary school age. They were extremely confident and articulate and talking to them was like talking to an adult. However, I found their lack of playfulness disconcerting. (I know, small sample size!)

  56. Yorchichan Says:

    K

    Leave Kathy alone. She’s nice but gets picked on a lot.

    Leave Robin alone too. He’s intelligent, appreciates all points of view and even when somebody attempted character assasination a few blogs back he refused to bite.

    However, pick on Victor all you like. He believed (believes?) in the e-cat so he deserves all the stick he can get. ;)

  57. OZ man Says:

    K

    Getting to sound a little nasty.

    Everyone who comes to this site has an interest in the issues detailed in the particular essay, and/or Guy’s other posts and particular perspective on environmental issues of the day. (Chastise me for overreaching my brief)
    I also come to read the things others write, from either known experience or generalised viewpoints or opinions, even if they are a bit half arsed at times, mine included. I also like the regular citations that give a reader the opportunity to follow up on topics or research or wierd viewpoints or scientific data etc.
    That may also be how others feel.
    In any discussion differences and misunderstandings occur.

    Telling someone, especially Kathy C, who has contributed very largly to the testing and veracity of posters claims, to leave the forum is a little beyond the pale. You have the right to ask that, for sure, but you may not learn as much from others in the dialigue if it becomes too combative, and it appears youve only come for a fight. There is no shame in contributing to a ‘group of concerned posters’, nor any need to feel threatened by the said ‘group’.
    Lets cool down – if only the climate could too! Ha.

  58. Robin Datta Says:

    get Guy M. to invite you to write something here or get your own blog

    Kathy C has already had two guest essays here. She is a regular feature at NBL, and Dr. McPherson has not objected to it. If it is not agreeable to someone other then Dr. McPherson, they should either address their dissatisfaction to Dr. McPherson or find sometiing more amenable elsewhere.

  59. Robin Datta Says:

    because a few, or significant few behaved badly.
    It was across the board. Just about everyone. Supercilious disdain of the locals. It was understandable why they lost in Vietnam.

  60. Robin Datta Says:

    not understand “intellectual crime”

    Defending a hierarchy on moral grounds is wrapping the cloak of morality once more in an attempt to further conceal the gun of enforcement. Invoking the moral connotations of “crime” does not conceal the gun any better. With regards to a hierarchy crimes are the violations of its explicit laws. “Intellectual crimes” applies to non-hierarchical systems.

  61. Robin Datta Says:

    However, pick on Victor all you like.

    It is most positive influence to have Victor as a commentor here. But I am certainly glad that I am not living under Pope Victor in medieval times. ;-)

  62. the virgin terry Says:

    i think public schools are primarily institutions of social control. ‘education’ in them entails limiting and regimenting thinking. they actively discourage questioning of ‘authority’. they instill a narrow perspective designed to produce adult sheople who will be ‘productive citizens’, not ‘troublemakers’. the fact that the vast majority of public school graduates and drop outs alike exhibit a vast degree of ignorance and delusion over a wide range of topics, particularly ones of vital importance to the prospect of future generations, should be all the indictment against them anyone could ask for.

    ‘Segregation of children according to age and educational level is wholly unnatural for Homo sapiens, and was not a part of our communities for almost all of the two million years of the existence of the genus Homo.’

    that about says it all. well done, mr. datta.

    this topic got me curious as to how many children are home schooled in the usa. this link says 1.5 million as of 5 years ago:

    http://www.ask.com/answers/122831/how-common-is-home-schooling-in-us

    figuring there are probably roughly 45 million school age children, that comes to about 1 out of 30, or close to 3%. more than i thought. i wonder what percentage of those come from very religious homes whose parents wish to isolate their children from corrupting ‘liberal’ influences, or in other words, from families which seek to even further regiment their children more than ‘public’ schools do?

    i’m glad i have no school age children. how does one teach a child that they’ve been born into a world of idiots, lunatics and liars whose civilization is on the verge of collapse, leaving behind ecological devastation, depletion, and a destabilized climate that could bring about human extinction in a few generations, assuming the idiots (heads of state) in charge of wmds don’t kill everyone first?

    even if civilization wasn’t in dire straits, i still can’t see raising children in a culture of often cruel and callous dogmatism, which exerts control by instilling fear, shame, and a sense of personal inadequacy and despair. a culture that teaches many of it’s young that this mortal life is but a relatively meaningless test of faith and character, requiring self sacrifice, in pursuit of attaining eternal bliss in an imaginary ‘afterlife’. a culture of bullshit designed to subjugate, humiliate, and exploit a large majority of sheople for the short term benefit of a myopic few.

    pope victor in medieval times? i have a very hard time visualizing victor as either a pope or as a medievalist. even with his faults victor is far too decent to be a pope or president. it takes an asshole to make a good ‘authority’.

  63. Victor Says:

    It is most positive influence to have Victor as a commentor here. But I am certainly glad that I am not living under Pope Victor in medieval times.

    O Dear! Pope Victor. What a pleasing thought! Pope Victor, The Impaler…Has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?

    Robin, do I detect a bit of smoke in the air? Goodness, that couldn’t possibly be you could it?….. :-)

  64. Victor Says:

    pope victor in medieval times? i have a very hard time visualizing victor as either a pope or as a medievalist. even with his faults victor is far too decent to be a pope or president. it takes an asshole to make a good ‘authority’.

    Why, thank you, VT! I shall cherish that thought. However, I fear you have concurrently damaged one of my fondest fantasies – living in medieval times as Pope. I have other fantasies, however…. ;-)

  65. Kathy C Says:

    Yorichan you are right that I was a bit careless in picking studies to counter K – just done on the fly after a quick search. Apologies, objections noted. My real point was that K makes absolutely no attempt to provide any documentation at all. If I get sounding a bit nasty it is because on the last article by Jennifer K came on and made the strange statement that the taliban home schooled children to teach them to become suicide bombers. This was both stupid (an attempt a very loose correlation) and wrong – the Taliban use public religious schools called Madrasah to indoctrinate their kids and I found an article about parents pulling their kids out of Madrasah (probably to school them at home) because they don’t want them to become suicide bombers. I provided a link to show that the Madrasah were public not home schools but that seemed to have little effect on K http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madrasah I admit that my anger over that (as if somehow Jennifer was going to train her child to become a suicide bomber) affected my writing this time.
    I was public schooled in a good suburban NYS school and felt I had a good education. I cannot however remembering ever asking teachers questions or hearing other students do so. I was against home schooling myself until recently.

  66. Kathy C Says:

    K, you write too little, throwing out short lines that make it hard for anyone to have a clue what to write.
    You can find my three essays that Guy published at

    http://guymcpherson.com/?s=cumbee&x=0&y=0

  67. Kathy C Says:

    correction “makes it hard for anyone to have a clue as to what you mean”

  68. Kathy C Says:

    K ok just for you here is a short post
    You said “Kathy C – and some states have death penalty for minor crimes.”
    I asked for examples. Please list states that have death penalty for minor crimes and indicate the nature of those crimes.

  69. Victor Says:

    However, pick on Victor all you like. He believed (believes?) in the e-cat so he deserves all the stick he can get.

    Yorchichan

    Now I have been placed in the small and foolish believers of a technology no one can understand, therefore it is impossible? Or a scam? Your words are haughty and full of pride and misplaced confidence. How can you be so sure you are right on this? People who are so sure of their knowledge that they can immediately throw up a ‘NO!’ when presented with something new they can’t understand are doomed to a plate of crow.

    But we shall see. This is of obvious importance to you. It has damaged my credibility in your eyes, as other statements I have made have also damaged that credibility in the eyes of others.

    So to me it seems a good time to pass on a bit of an update from the Rossi side of the room. At the end of June Rossi stated that he has passed the 60-day mark of a 90-day test in which his newly modified e-cat has been running continuously – yes, you read me correctly, a continuous, non-stop run of his machine. After the 90-day test period (perhaps late July or in August?), he will issue a detailed report of the results.

    The machine has now been cunningly reduced in size and re-engineered to the following specs:

    * reactor core volume is lowered to less than 50cc, the old size (about the size of a D-cell battery apparently.

    * It now utilises 1.5 grams of Ni in contrast to 50 on the older model.

    * The old models used a direct flow of hydrogen gas to the reactor, a possibly dangerous design. Now the hydrogen is fed by a small hydrogen solid pellet.

    * Refuelling still is performed every six months.

    * It now has a 10kw rated output. The previous designs had a 2.5 kw rated output, 4 times less!

    * It can run safely with stability with a 20-kw rated output in torture-testing.

    * The old design had to be run at a low output temperature (around 100C in order to maintain stability. The latest design is safe to continuously provide water vapour at 600C (likely more if they wish to), more than enough for most any power plant in the world.

    * His secret customer is contracted out with the US(?) Military for delivery of this product.

    * The technology can be a rather simple and cheap replacement of the existing heat source for most any power plant that requires a heat source.

    I look forward very much to the day you have to eat crow in front of me… ;-) Or will it be my crow to eat? We shall soon know, I think.

  70. Robin Datta Says:

    Off-topic, and preaching to this choir:
    Signs that the End is Nigh

  71. K Says:

    Kathy C –

    You ask too much, you know you can look up the states and probably are living in one.

    Kathy C Defenders –

    I don’t really think she need to be defended as she is capable of doing that herself, especially with her strong cut and paste skills.

    Oz Man –

    It is not getting nasty. It is an exchange of ideas and views. Appears that many of you have defined your sandbox here and you do not want others to play in it. Sounds like homeschooling!

    Robin D –

    You did not make to Captain (MC) without having a few good men under your command; and, if it was bad accross the board, did it include you?

  72. Librarian Says:

    K, you are in fact being nasty, although I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt that you don’t think it’s nasty because it’s normal for you.

    You constantly condemn others’ motives, motives that you imagine instead of actually asking.

    You make assertions and associations instead of reasoned inferences.

    “Jennifer hates the human race, Kathy rambles too much and is living in a state of denial, OZ Man doesn’t want people playing in his sandbox.” Those are not exchanges of ideas and views; those are ad hominem attacks, and frankly a more accurate metaphor is that you’re coming into someone’s sandbox and messing up the place with constant personal attacks.

    It is always poor communication skills to “mind-read” and pretend you know your opponents’ “real motives” when you have no evidence to support your claims, or to attempt to impose your will on people and demand that they acquiesce.

    That’s called “intellectual arrogance,” the confident claim that something is true that you do not in fact know to be true.

    Let me give you an analogy if I’m being unclear:

    Suppose I discover that my next-door neighbor has purchased a large supply of beer for some reason. I could confidently claim that she purchased it because she is an alcoholic. If I behaved as you do, K, I could then come over to my next-door neighbor’s house and insist on her giving up her alcoholism, never suspecting that it is I who have a problem since I’m making assumptions about her motives when I have no evidence and never asked her.

    If I were to discover that, in fact, she purchased a large supply of beer because she wants to give it as a birthday gift to her aged father, I would be intellectually obligated to admit that I made a bad assumption and behaved judgmentally. If instead I continued to insist that I was right and my next door neighbor’s motives were evil, I would be guilty of even more arrogance, since if I made a claim, the burden of proof is on me to prove the claim, not on my neighbor to prove she is innocent.

    Do you understand, K? Free exchanges of ideas do not include constantly insulting people and accusing them of personal wickedness.

    Please let me know if I have been unclear.

  73. Kathy C Says:

    K, you made the assertion, it is your responsiblity to back it up, not mine.

    However in fact I did look it up and posted this on July 8th, 2012 at 1:56 pm so at this point without further documentation from you your statement stands as false.

    Further your statement about states (assuming you mean states in the US) having death penalties for minor crimes appears to be wrong at least in practice “Capital punishment in the United States can be administered for a wide variety of crimes ranging from drug trafficking to aggravated murder. However, in practice, it is reserved only for homicide-related crimes including aggravated murder, felony murder, and contract killing.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capital_punishment_in_the_United_States

  74. K Says:

    Librarian –

    Have you noticed that only Jennifer has not responded to my initial post? And, if you reread my first post to Jennifer, I commented directly on one or two concepts she promulgated in her article. I proposed to her that she consider Darwinian forces that is shaping us. I believe I also proposed to engage and help change our systems for better rather than cope out.

    Calling somebody nasty is the real nasty, or one who is drinking neighbor’s beer!

  75. Kathy C Says:

    Librarian, all K has is assertions and ad hominems. I realize I am guilty of letting K get under my skin. Letting people get under your skin gives them the opportunity to hijack the discussion.

    So back to the topic, while not every person is up to home-schooling neither is every public school fit of the task. But home-schooling by a well meaning, educated parent can avoid the pitfalls of public schooling – the age segregation, large class size, lies about history, support of the state, training for obedience to the state, and other such problems that have been noted.

    The good state of TX has provided us the proof that at least one state is openly declaring they don’t want kids to learn to think critically
    “The Texas GOP’s declarative position against critical thinking in public schools, or any schools, for that matter, is now an official part of their political platform. It is public record in the Republican Party of Texas 2012 platform. With regard to critical thinking, the Republican Party of Texas document states: “Knowledge-Based Education – We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.” (page 20, Republican Party of Texas, 2012).” http://truth-out.org/news/item/10144-texas-gop-declares-no-more-teaching-of-critical-thinking-skills-in-texas-public-schools

  76. Librarian Says:

    K, I didn’t call you nasty. I said your behavior was nasty, i.e. “you were in fact being nasty.” There’s a difference.

  77. Yorchichan Says:

    Victor

    It was only an attempt at humour with, admittedly, a tiny element of revenge for you suggesting I get my own blog.

    Ever since an excellent English teacher I once had explained to the class what “The Good Is Oft Interred With Their Bones” means (I found the writings of Shakespeare almost as difficult to understand as those of Robin), I’ve tried to remember the good things people have done rather than the bad. I remember particularly you trying to help me out by finding me a community in the UK. So I bear you absolutely no ill will whatsoever. Nor do I think your belief in the e-cat has destroyed your credibilty. We all have our strange beliefs. I look forward to the day when you are proved right and I will willingly eat humble pie on that day.

  78. Victor Says:

    Kathy C

    Even the public schools in America don’t teach critical-thinking skills as we have often stated. The governor of the state said this because he was cow-towing to the religious segment of the state, but he was merely speaking to a broad strategic aim of nearly every public and private school in America – because that is exactly what these schools do not want our children to do, in order to keep a forceful hold on the American mind, to pound into them the propaganda around the necessity of mass consumerism and the idea that America is the Exceptional nation of all the nations and therefore has the rights to engage in its own form of imperialism and hegemony across the globe and to persuade the people that this is a romantic but serious task we have taken on a protector of democracy, freedom and liberty in the world. It also functions as an image maker for the world, primarily through the entertainment industry, making anyone who watches an American film in other parts of the world think they are seeing the real American, a country of riches, big cars, big houses, large gardens and happy smiling families whose kids get sent to the best schools in the world.

    Whilst he pointed his tirade in support of a particular segment of society, he concurrently let the cat out of the bag – We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabelling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behaviour modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.”

    THAT is what Texas has REALLY done – taken the mask off the government’s true aim of public schooling. Don’t teach children the skills to question their values or the greatness of America and the American way of life or its impact upon the people and governments of the world.

  79. Kathy C Says:

    Victor – yes I agree

  80. Victor Says:

    It was only an attempt at humour with, admittedly, a tiny element of revenge for you suggesting I get my own blog.

    Admittedly, when you look at the statement from a humorous view, you can appreciate your kind of wit. It’s only paranoid pessimists like myself who will jump to ill-gotten conclusions.

    I thought that bit about your own blog was rather witty, didn’t you?…. :-)

    “The Good Is Oft Interred With Their Bones” means (I found the writings of Shakespeare almost as difficult to understand as those of Robin)

    I have that very same problem!…. :-)

    Peace be with you, brother…

  81. Victor Says:

    Victor – yes I agree

    A very short answer….ermmm….methinks I expounded on the self-evident… ;-)

  82. K Says:

    Librarian –

    Yes you did by resonating the nastiness expressed by somebody else.

    It is well known that I do not think homeschooling is appropriate in our complex society. It is really creating “Rat Park” at home and most parents are not competent at teaching the necessary subjects and many are barely competent parents (beatings at home per Kathy C).

    Many of our school systems – especially inner city and poor areas – are inadequate. We need to work to change that and also to use resources more effectively.

    At the same time, schools (and colleges) are under pressure to impart skills to make a living. Our highly automated society has no need for critical thinking as it is already engineered in the algos that run the automata. To a great extent, critical thinking is considered ability to pontificate mindlessly. Just listen to some of the talking heads.

    May be the homeschoolers should focus on imparting critical thinking skills while letting schools do the basic. And, focus on improving schools rather than abandoning them as more than 90% of us do not have the luxury of time and resources to homeschool.

  83. K Says:

    Kathy C –

    When you feel somebody is getting under your skin, it is an indication that you are not thinking critically. You are conflicted and not attending to the subject or situation.

  84. Librarian Says:

    K, that’s good, actually. This time you’re actually expressing why you think homeschooling is a bad idea, and backing yourself up with logical arguments to back your claim, rather than making personal remarks about the people on this website and their supposed “true motives.”

    Now that you’re being fair, I’ll answer you fairly.

    You have a point. Homeschooling isn’t a good option for everyone, since most people don’t have the time or resources to homeschool.

    Jennifer, however, DOES have the time and resources, apparently, which is why she chose to homeschool. Yet you claim that Jennifer would do a bad job of it.

    Furthermore, how exactly do you think the schools should be reformed? It’s not the teachers who make the decisions that run the schools; it’s the superintendents and school boards. How do you plan to appeal to them to change their minds? How do you plan to appeal to the VOTERS, also, who think that school being about imparting skills instead of thinking is a pretty good idea?

    If you think Jennifer’s choice is the wrong one, how do you plan to “bell the cat,” as it were? You think Jennifer should change the schools instead of homeschooling? How do you propose Jennifer should do that?

  85. Robin Datta Says:

    You did not make to Captain (MC) without having a few good men under your command; and, if it was bad accross the board, did it include you?

    In the Medical Corps on active duty one is initially a Captain (no Second Lieutenant and First Lieutenant ranks preceding). One does not have to have anyone under one’s command. And one does not have to be an American citizen – at that time I wasn’t. 

  86. Kathy C Says:

    Victor “A very short answer….ermmm….methinks I expounded on the self-evident…”
    I was attempting a short answer after been criticized by K for my long answers :)

  87. Kathy C Says:

    K do tell is telling Victor that asserting something is untrue does not make it untrue while doing nothing but asserting things yourself an example of critical logical thinking? Asserting something is true does not make it true and all you have done is assert assert assert. I am over being angry and just feeling very sorry for you…..

  88. Robin Datta Says:

    Appears that many of you have defined your sandbox here and you do not want others to play in it

    A pretty good example of hierarchical attitudes. The NBL community has evolved to be a community: based on implicit norms accepted through mutual understanding. Newcomers who stray beyond those norms often are from hierarchical society, with inadequate experience with community structure and function. They are soon informed of any aberrancy. Dr. McPherson being an anarchist, allowed the formation of community by not imposing a hierarchical structure. As a result most of the moderating is done for him. Also as a result, it is not apparent to some newcomers that it is actually Dr. Mcpherson’s sandbox. 

  89. OZ man Says:

    Are we there yet?

  90. Publicly Schooled Says:

    It all boils down to specialization vs. generalization. Professional teachers are trained in the art of teaching, whereas well-meaning parents are (for the most part) not. Public schools offer the chance to interact with peers, problems, ideas, etc., in addition to what home life (and hanging out with you, while you entertain and/or run errands) offers — exposing children to additional experiences, which may come in handy down the line. Sheltering them can have the undesired consequence of leaving them under-prepared.

    We’re no longer living in tribal times. Seven billion people on the planet necessitate that members of society must specialize whenever practical. I understand that many readers of this blog advocate a giant die-off of our species, but that isn’t likely to happen anytime soon. To really prepare your children (which you had despite knowing that the world is coming to an end), you eventually have to let go and trust that their foundations are solid enough to adapt.

    Nuns with rulers, etc., are clearly very minor obstacles in the grand scheme. Don’t use them as an excuse to smother your children. Otherwise, you’re reacting in a way not dissimilar from that of the sheeple for whom you have so much pity/disdain, i.e., those who fear terrists and Hell.

  91. OZ man Says:

    By that I mean can we just…you know…be cool, and groovy, and love each other a bit more.
    People need to love each oyher more.
    People need to love each other more.
    People need to love each other more……
    100x…

    Listen to your Heart, for it will always be in the place before all conflict and differentiation and desire, keeping the gift of love.

  92. Robin Datta Says:

    Have you noticed that only Jennifer has not responded to my initial post?

    That is another aspect of community that those in the hierarchal mode do not get: horizontal interactions are not constrained by vertical limitations. Chopping each other’s wood and carrying each other’s water is another norm. 

  93. OZ man Says:

    All

    The humour is the best bits!!
    Groovy is a pretty groovy word, rather onamatapaeic sounding, even tuatelogical, ha!

    But seriously,

    Publicly Schooled

    How can you be so sure the big slide will not happen any time soon?

    See Dr Albert A Bartlett teaching about the absurdity of infinite growth in a finite planet;

    The end is Nigh?
    Its always been nigh.. but in these times it is a really really REALLY BIG END & NIGH.
    For the record, if you inspect a whole lot of comments, I think no one is advocating Die off, or more correctly masses of people dying of starvation and disease, in a population overshoot scenario, it will happen.

    See what too many of anything that eats and shits can mean:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RTIlOlVT3LI

    Heroes everywhere!

    No one wants to die, but it’s the one certainty in life. We can love and laugh and throw a few twigs about in the meanwhile.

  94. Victor Says:

    I was attempting a short answer after been criticized by K for my long answers

    Kathy C

    Walking on thin ice I understand, but yet here goes – Is that a woman thing? My wife always responds to me in a similar manner when I have been talking too much about things she feels are blatantly obvious. It seems to be her way of saying, “Shut the fuck up. You’re boring me into intolerable pain!” (though somehow she always manages to put it so much more civilly, an art I seem to be totally lacking in)… ;-)

  95. Robin Datta Says:

    Public schools offer the chance to interact with peers, problems, ideas, etc.
    Indeed they do – under the gun of the hierarchy. To be distinguished from building and sustaining community. 

  96. OZ man Says:

    All

    You guys are actually a great bunch of people. I once played Bloons popping for an hour and then asked a co player on the other side of the internet what she did, and she siad she wes a wheelchair bound Quadruplaegic and Bloon popping kept her sane in some moments.

    The thing about throwing the twigs about is actually a clever manoeuver, but bloons would suffice. I envisage more joy though, with the twigs, and few, if any, market researcher or money/lesure time scammer will have thought to paymeter throwing a twig around, so my saying about the best things in life are free it true.

    No need to be so sceptical of groups Robin Data, even if they have power and stupidity connotations. Love and be free and then you will not be constrained by them. None of us get forced with a popper to the head to post comments. Its all free. We are all mind controlled untill we are not any more, big deal. “Engage thrusters and on to warp speed. Mr Zulu” ” Aye Aye Captin”.
    Lets just get it all on!

    Hey let’s homeshool … no that’s too disespetful to Jennifer.
    Seroiusly, we are the mice, and the pig pen may be a good metaphore for schooling that has failed to bring us out of surf mentality and wage slavery.

    We are the mice now, even though I hate to admitt it!
    I’ve worked really hard on self improvement and all I’ve got to show is being a mouse.
    Two rocks work just as well as a twig.

  97. K Says:

    Robin –

    But you are now an American, so do something to change what you did not like 23 years ago in the service.

    As you say that it is Guy M.’s sandbox and he is welcome to do whatever he wants. I believe he is not a cult leader and I think you are looking to him as a cult leader. However, you seem to enjoy self-appointed role of community enforcer. May be something like Orwellian thought control? Is it not similar to my country right or wrong stuff?

  98. K Says:

    Librarian –

    I am not passing judgment on Jennifer’s ability to homeschool. I am saying that homeschooling is depriving the reality of existence to our children, and, actually making them more vulnerable in their adult life.

    I have always been fair as much as humanely possible. I believe Jennifer has already put a bell on the cat. As I did previously, I wish her the best, but, it is her daughter and other children will judge whether she did a good thing or bad for their lives. I have already expressed to her what I think.


Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] Why homeschool: Learning from real life by Jennifer Hartley […]

  2. […] McPherson has kindly published a second essay of mine on his blog.  I was glad to write it and put it out to a wider audience, but some of the […]

  3. […] This is the third essay in a series on the topic of why our family is homeschooling (Part I is here and Part II is here). […]