Wednesday, March 12, 2008

You keep using that word...

...I do not think it means what you think it means.

Other bloggers have roundly denounced the California court decision on home schooling, but I want to focus on one particular point of it:
"Specifically, the appeals court said, the trial court had found that "keeping the children at home deprived them of situations where ... they could develop emotionally in a broader world than the parents' 'cloistered' setting."
Call this objection ironic if you will, in light of a certain percentage of home-schoolers' views on the topic of anthropology, but at what point in the evolutionary history of the human race did it become "normal" to warehouse juvenile members of the species away all day with naught but the company of other juveniles of their exact same age? With no younger members to care for and no elders to emulate (save one harried and vastly outnumbered teacher per hour), is it any wonder that most every government kinderwarehouse has descended into an unfunny parody of a William Golding novel?

For the entire history of our species, save the last century-and-a-half in the West, the norm has been to have children in groups of mixed ages, with working adults around who provided examples of how a grownup was supposed to interface with the rest of the tribe. When it becomes more important to please your age-mates with your style of dress and taste in music than to impress your elders with your comportment, it's only a matter of time before you're all dancing around a pig's head in the jungle, looking for bones to stick through your nose.

25 comments:

Don Gwinn said...

The recorded history of the practice of sending children to daily school goes back at least to ancient Mesopotamia.

Only the privileged could do it, but do it they did. So did the ancient Egyptians.

Don Gwinn said...

. . . . but that said, the reasoning of the court is on par with the reasoning of most federal court cases I read, by which I mean that it makes my head hurt.

Tam said...

There is no evidence, however, of the rigid age grouping that became de rigeur with the Prussian system of the 18th-19th Centuries.

Gregg said...

Oddly enough Don, there seems to be a pretty large gap between then and the 19th century. Now, it is possible to conflate some greco-roman practices, again accessible only to the upper classes, it is also possible to claim that university atendance in the renaissance period to be similiar. However, none of the previous systems included ALL children, in fact most of them did not rightly include children per se, most notably university.

Tam's argument, and in fact her statement, hold true.

D.W. Drang said...

This was the first argument I heard against home schooling, and it may be the only one that holds any water at all; however, based on my own experience, one would be doing ones children a favor by not forcing them to associate with dozens of underage barbarians. I would have been glad to have been deprived of the opportunity to develop emotionally in the broader world that was the Detroit Public School System.

One may as well advocate universal military service on the grounds that it would force members of all socio-economic classes to associate.

And Tam is correct, it is only in the 19th Century CE that it even became normal in the Western World to send all children to school for most of the year, and the age segregation that we have come to know did not become common until roads and transportation developed to the point that large schools were feasible.

DirtCrashr said...

It's the legacy of 1930's progressive and authoritarian public-school activists like John Dewey (Dewy doesn't come off very well in Jonah's book) which is still alive in the Unionized trenches of Education today.

Anonymous said...

Specifically, the appeals court said, the trial court had found that "keeping the children at home deprived them of situations where ... they could develop emotionally in a broader world than the parents' 'cloistered' setting"

Their View: This is a bug.
Our View: This is a feature.

Anonymous said...

even more specifically, and what really gets the education establishment's undies in a knot, is losing the chance to innoculate children with their own "broader world" views...i.e. religion, guns, sexuality, entitlements, and politics.

add to that concerns for "job security" and there is little wonder they would fight to usurp individual responsibility and free choice...jtc

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

How can you have any pudding if you don't eat your meat?

(sent you a private email, tam, about another matter, non-pudding related)

alath said...

In Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin series of novels, Maturin points out that of all professions, two have a tendency to render their members unfit for polite company, and for the same reason. Teachers and Judges, he says, spend their time enforcing their own views of what is right on captive audiences of supposed inferiors, and soon begin to treat all their fellow human beings as incapable, incompetent, and essentially wicked.

Maturin often overstates his point, I suppose. But this case tends to support his view.

If I were at home I'd try to find the exact quote, because O'Brian is so much more eloquent.

B&N said...

There'll be blood spilled over this.

Just so everyone knows.

I'm just sayin'.

Earl said...

I think Tam is closest to correct, but then I wouldn't expect the California judicial system to know anything about children, family or education - isn't there a failure to graduate high school in this perfect California world - caused by home schooling or professional incompetence in the public school system?

Fewer than 70% of ninth-graders statewide will graduate from high school If the LA Times is to be believed.

global village idiot said...

Okay, I'll be the first to say it.

It took me less than a second to recognise the "Princess Bride" line. I'm sure it did for everyone else, but there you go.

Funny thing is that Next-To-Everyone-And-His-Uncle in the Bear Republic's Duma and Politburo are asking the appeals court to overturn the decision.

I've been to California precisely twice, and both times I couldn't wait to get out. No place on earth makes me prouder to be a Hoosier than the Peoples Republic of California.

gvi

Jim Sullivan said...

gvi:

"I've been to California precisely twice, and both times I couldn't wait to get out. No place on earth makes me prouder to be a Hoosier than the Peoples Republic of California."

Have you tried the People's Republic of Vermont and their unofficial capital, Burlington-grad?

staghounds said...

I still think A. P. Herbert wrote the best thing ever on the whole home schooling thing.

And in my experience judges don't come to view everyone as wicked.

They DO have only their internal compass to keep them on course, since they never bump into anyone who can tell them "NO" and make it stick.

Oddly enough, this turns many into craven seekers for approval.

jimbob86 said...

Specifically, the appeals court said, the trial court had found that "keeping the children at home deprived them of situations where ... they could develop emotionally in a broader world than the parents' 'cloistered' setting"

With something like one in four of the tykes cartin' around an STD of one sort or another, I'm thinkin' "cloistered" is EXACTLY what they need. A little to much socializin' goin' on there. Get thee to a nunnery..........

Don Gwinn said...

Call me crazy, but I consider myself fit for polite company. Then again, you wouldn't be the first to disagree.

Tam said...

...and you rarely treat us like we're wicked.

Kristopher said...

Current educational system dogma cloisters children ... it does not allow them to learn from adults how to properly socialize.

As Tam noted, allowing children to learn ad-hoc socialization from each other leads to "Lord of the Flies".

If the kids actually knew what they were doing, they wouldn't need to be educated.

perlhaqr said...

Bad news, Jimbob. In that context, "Nunnery" means "brothel".

alath said...

Nothing personal intended DonGwinn... please note I did say the Maturin character has a tendency to overstate his point. I guess if his statement was universally correct I wouldn't be fit for polite company either, since I am a teacher ;)

the pawnbroker said...

start throwin' the adjective "organized" around, and it usually doesn't take long to recognize that those doin' the "organizing" get to define...and debauch...the term; rarely do those "being" organized benefit, 'cause that's really not the goal, is it?

"organized religion", "organized education", "organized labor", "organized government"...see the pattern?

the functions of rebellion, individual responsibility, and individual liberty are critical, and will endure. jtc

staghounds said...

Is gleischaltung the word you're looking for?

karrde said...

Tam,

From a formerly home-educated, currently self-educated guy--you've just scored one in the 10-ring.

You've discovered one of the top two benefits of home-education.

The other large benefit is coursework that is tailored to the student's strength, rather than to the median capability in the classroom the student sits in.

Of course, there's also the advantage of low student-to-teacher ratio...

Don Gwinn said...

I've got nothing against home schooling. The biggest drawback is that it only works for kids whose parents are willing and able to do it.

It doesn't matter. The court's wrong, and I should have just agreed with that and gone from there.