Are schooling and learning synonymous?

I’m adding a post about a post added by Will Richardson who added a post after he read a tweet by Alec Couros.

Yeah.

Will starts out like this:

Yesterday, Alec Couros went “Back to School” to “Meet the Teacher” of his first grade daughter. Here is what he saw:

Photo by Alec Couros (from Weblogg-ed)

Both Will and Alec have children in school or about to start and feel pretty much the same way about schools which seem so traditional that they have been left behind in the Industrial Age (my interpretation).

Will’s post nails the problem for some parents (are most of these teachers themselves?) when school isn’t the ideal place to educate their kids. What do you do then?

Will has captured the Twitter responses to Alec’s initial tweets and they are definitely an interesting read.

I agree with you, Will – this tweet expresses my own view of my sons’ schooling:

“We’ve always considered public school ed our kids receive as supplemental to the ed we provide at home so we don’t go crazy about it.”

I’m writing from the perspective of a parent who has been though a few hells and come back to review school education many times. My boys are now in second year uni and year 10. I’ve never expected school to be responsible for all the learning or to contain the most important learning for my boys. Or did I understand that gradually? Did I expect more and come to accept less? Yes, I think so.

I am not about to criticise all schools, all teachers. I’m a teacher and far from perfect. I would not like to be a principal. So when I say that schools have been less than what they could have been, I just think that the talent and dedication which many educators display every day could be better directed with an informed view of the kind of learning which truly prepares our kids for living and working in their world. We are not preparing our kids adequately for their future because we are not projecting our goals into their future – we are clinging to our old perception of what we need to teach them.

A few things that spring to mind throughout the years my boys were at school:

  • My older (tested as highly gifted at the age of 5 – not because I wanted to bask in this, but because I wanted to cater for his needs and understand him) came into mainstream Grade 2 from Montessori. When he was given a list of spelling words to learn which he’d known since the age of 3, and I discussed this with his teacher, his teacher said, ‘We can’t have Sasha doing his own work and the rest of the class doing their work…’  My question at the time: Why not? which I didn’t voice because I still respected that the teacher knew best and the parent should comply.
  • When I asked subsequent teachers for support in keeping my son interested at school, they either

1) gave him extra work which he didn’t want to do, and then told me he wasn’t cooperating

2) devoted all further discussions to pointing out that he wasn’t like other children, and that he should concentrate on fitting in

3) placed all importance on social skills (his apparent failure to be like everyone else) and ignored the academic aspect. (Let me say that pointing out to a child that he is different and that this difference is somehow a handicap, is not going to help his social skills. Telling him to dumb down, as the school psychologist did, is also not going to help)

I just want to say that I also have many excellent memories balancing out these not so positive ones, and these centre on wonderful teachers. I’m not painting an entirely black picture but still, if I had to estimate how much of school I thought was truly valuable, I would have to say that there is so much I would have done without, so much I would have done differently, so much wasted time. But it’s worse than wasted time, it’s the turning away from a natural love of learning. Sometimes I think that my children, my students, are successful despite their schooling, not because of it.

My younger son absolutely lives for music and wants to be a comp0ser. He is happy this year in his new school, The Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School, in year 10, where he follows the same academic curriculum as in other schools but also benefits from expert tuition and performance experience in music.

How do I remember most of his schooling before this? Apart from his two final years in primary school when he had fantastic teachers who did wonders for his love of learning and self esteem, the first 3 years of secondary school were times where he had to put away his burning desire to compose and play music because he spent almost every waking moment completing homework tasks. Granted, some students would have either done the same more quickly or not been as conscientious, but the hardest part was seeing him develop an aversion to learning and a low opinion of himself as a learner. That’s difficult for a parent.

In retrospect, I would perhaps do some things differently. I like the way Will and his wife communicate with the teachers:

We write an e-mail (or a letter) to each teacher introducing our kids and ourselves, letting them know what our hopes are, what we’d love to see our kids doing, and what we’ll do to support the classroom. We also introduce ourselves, and talk a little bit about what our worldview of education looks like. Finally, we offer to continue that conversation and help make it a reality in the classroom in whatever way we can. And we cc the principal and headmaster (since Tess is in private school.)

I think you have to work hard to develop a positive relationship with teachers and principals. I gave up too easily in situations when a teacher responded in a defensive manner, particularly when it meant resenting my child. In this case I withdrew, fearing the repercussions for my child, but now I might hold my ground a little longer and try not to take the whole thing personally. The parent/teacher relationship can be delicate.

Certainly I have always taken a very active role in my children’s education, and I’m not referring to basic literacy and numeracy skills, but to opening up their minds to bigger picture questions, providing them with resources and activities within their interest areas.

I wonder how differently teachers would teach without the sometimes crippling restrictions of curriculum, if there was time to discuss what they thought was most important and without the looming university entrance scores.

Despite all this, I think that, if I had the chance to do this again, I would still not choose homeschooling – which is not to say that I think it doesn’t work. My husband and I always felt that being part of a school community was important for our sons, and finding your place was also important.

Katie Hellerman was also inspired to write a post after reading Will Richardson’s, and it’s a good read.

I would love to hear from you about the topic of schooling and learning. Do you think schooling prepares young people adequately, well? If not, how would you reconfigure schooling?

58 Comments

Filed under Education

58 responses to “Are schooling and learning synonymous?

  1. What thoughtful questions and observations. It is certainly difficult for students and teachers to feel they have the space to “test” for themselves the knowledge of classrooms and curricula when they know that this knowledge is something on which they are going to be “tested” — the scores from which, as you note, “loom” over possible social, economic, and educational futures. I’m trying to sort through many of these same issues as well. Learning and schooling are not synonymous, but we can certainly continue to work for schooling that promotes learning…

  2. Summer

    school is hard to cope with especially for little kids..

    love.
    summer.

  3. Neuronal Intelligence is fuelled by pleasure not by control or hierarchical “achievement”.

  4. I have no children, but an anecdote about schooling I read in Ansel Adam’s autobiography has stuck with me:

    In brief, AA was in the San Francisco school system early in the previous century when the teacher gave his class the following assignment–memorize the names of the states that border Nebraska. AA, at a tender 6 or 7 years of age, thought the assignment so stupid that he stood up, pointed his finger at the teacher, and started laughing.

    AA’s father, no dummy, yanked his son out of the school system.

    If your kid really thinks the instruction he or she is receiving is stupid or grossly inadequate, take your education dollars elsewhere. In the case of AA, his father arranged for private instruction in two areas: greek and playing the piano. In addition to these lessons, when the World Exposition opened in San Francisco (1906? 07?), he told AA to spend several hours each work day at the Exposition, admiring its wonders and experiencing some of life’s more sobering realities (such as drunks & drug addicts).

    AA eventually developed quite a talent for the piano, but we all know how the story turned out: a relative gave him a box brownie camera. As a parent, you may not be able to guess the specific address, but you might be able to surmise the general neighborhood of your child’s eventual career.

    A parent’s work is never done (but then, neither is the reward). Good luck! RT

  5. This post is important for many reasons. Our educational system is flawed in so many ways. We consistently fail our children by not being involved in their schools, by making excuses for their poor grades/behavior, by blaming teachers for whatever goes wrong. At the same time, so many teachers are ill-equipped to teach, while others have lost the fire and go on auto-pilot. In some/many schools, principals put pressure on teachers to promote out children who are behavior problems or who have parents who are behavior problems. I’m a former teacher. I shudder when I hear what goes in in the classroom now.

  6. ‘I never let my schooling interfere with my education’.
    Does this ring a bell ?
    Perhaps one of the most profound sayings relating to education.
    Have’nt read your blog yet, just a cursory glance. The title caught my attention and I was tempted to post this quote.
    And congrats on being ‘freshly pressed’

  7. Our son is in grade 11, and as you know, when you’re dealing with teenagers it’s a whole different game. The curriculum is boring to him (I know he’s sixteen and everything is boring, but I can’t disagree with him — it’s dull). It’s also random, jumping from one disparate topic to another with no sense of connection. And it’s much too detailed. They spend so much time learning names, dates, and terms, that they completely miss the big picture and come away learning nothing. When you don’t know the basics, it’s very hard to learn detail and nuance, because your brain doesn’t know where to file the information. Last year they spent weeks studying ancient Rome, memorizing the names of emperors, and I’d bet at the end of it all, most of those students couldn’t find Rome on a globe. I think they need to start with general ideas and work their way down through detail when it’s appropriate. Context and relevance are critical.

  8. “I wonder how differently teachers would teach without the sometimes crippling restrictions of curriculum…”

    I think that is a HUGE question with a sad answer.

    Curriculum should be the framework for the year’s learning and a teacher — a good teacher — should be able to work within that frame work and be allowed to give some students different requirements and assistance.

    Crystal
    http://www.crystalspins.com

  9. You might like this short article by John Taylor-Gatto about what an educated person looks like:

    http://charlottemasoneducation.wordpress.com/2010/06/08/an-educated-person/

  10. zee

    what about homeschooling with parents as their teacher?

    • I just started homeschooling my 5 yr old boy. I went my whole life in public school and I would never put my kids in it. It was only by the grace of God I made it through. To me public school is a breeding ground for trouble. I graduated in 2001 and I know what I saw and I do not want my kids to be in that situation. Plus the Lord convicted me to homeschool my boys. Even in the bible it says for the mothers to teach our children. At least at home I know my son is getting one on one attention that he needs to learn without all the bad distractions in oublic school. To me public school is putting to much pressure on the kids, trying to squeeze in so much in thier minds in a short period of time. It is very important that my son can learn at home in the way that the Lord sees fit and not have to worry about peer pressure and fitting in and being bullied. My 4 nephews are homeschooled, ages 7-15 and those boys are so smart and have the best manners and LOVE the Lord! How often do you see a 15yr old boy raise his hands to praise the Lord? His 13 yr old brother plays the piano at our church. So my opinion is for the mothers to teach their children. They will truly benefit more being taught by the parent so they can get that one on one. I know I can’t shield my sons from everything but I can have him at home where I know he is safe and being taught the right way.

  11. (Sorry for my grammar I’m a non-native with awful verb tenses habits)

    This year I started homeschooling my kids for the very reason you point out in this post. My kids are 13 and 11. The older had lost all the spark of learning and was happy with mediocrity, the smaller was always being send to the doctor to be treated for ADD.
    After a few months of school detox, my kids are starting to make their own projects. The older is reading a lot. The smaller is making his own “anatomy encyclopedia” and we had been recommending to put it in a advanced math club because he is really gifted. We pick him to the best Chilean neuropsychiatry doctor (spell?) and he told us he has no ADD he is just very gifted and get bored at school.
    I’m sad I didn’t homeschooled them for the beginning.

    • You are very brave to homeschool. My older son tells me that he wouldn’t have been able to stand it if he was at home with me as his teacher! He’s right about that.

      • I need to be braver to send my kids to chilean school. Seriously speaking both options has their pros and cons. I think the trick is to ask your self what works for you as a family. I’m actually homeschooling, I don’t know if I will be doing the same in four more years, since I don’t know what our famlie needs will be by then.

  12. Schooling should be more about exercising creativity, not so much just studying texts and then being able to recite information.

  13. I can say from firsthand experience that high school was a troubling time. I don’t mean to brag, but as a child I tested in the ‘gifted’ or ‘talented’ or whatever you want to call it.

    Most teachers didn’t do anything about it and the overwhelming lesson that I learned from high school was that, through a curriculum that was neither challenging nor interesting, I could skate by on 10% effort.

    If it hadn’t been for the catalyzing enthusiasm of three rare and wonderful teachers, I probably would have never felt like learning a thing in my life!

    Our media today makes a big deal about the sad state of America’s education system and our inability to assist those who are ‘behind’ but I think far more important is the number of truly exceptional kids who simply get bored and learn the ways to best slack off.

    • There is a stigma attached to giftedness, gifted kids and parents of gifted kids. See, you apologized for saying you were gifted. Gifted is the other end of the scale. We have no trouble identifying and helping those who need help, but we get our backs up about accepting giftedness. It’s about time we stopped. It’s not about boasting but about understanding how gifted people function. They have their own sets of problems! Give them a place where they can thrive and not be judged.

      • Is the stigma as pronounced as it was twenty or thirty years ago? Sure, 21st century pop-culture has re-appropriated nerd/geek into a trend, but being excelling in retaining and applying knowledge compared to one’s peers is less of a parlor trick now, right?

        Scholastically ambitious and socially adept kids may have to deal with the “over-achiever” label, while artistically and athletically impressive children may max out the interest behind those abilities before they’re old enough to vote.

        Back to Brave New World’s question about schooling and learning, is schooling refers to the ritual of being around one’s peers for 8 hours a day and listening to an adult explain concepts and how to apply them, then learning has nothing to do with it.

        Being a good student and retaining information share a tenuous relationship. While it is important for a child to understand how to adapt to various social and structured environments, how to deal with doing things they think are stupid or pointless, and how to be a Roman when in Rome, they should be allowed more opportunities to take advantage of how they’re not like everyone else.

        For instance, Molly might be a solid A/B student and is considered bright and articulate by her teachers but is utterly hopeless with multiple choice tests. Short essay, oral presentation, long answer–no problem. But multiple choice tests are no good. Why should she have to suffer just because the school won’t permit her teacher to give her a short answer test instead of a multiple choice one?

  14. The school system does a decent-to-good job for about 60% of the students out there. Maybe 70%.

    During my short stint as a teacher, I had a problem of identity that I think reflected the condition of the school system. There are some conflicts in the goals and expectations — are you feeding the kids while trying to manage a shrinking budget? Are you measuring for placement (alpha, beta and gamma to go with your BNW blog…)? Are you coaching and inspiring to get a student from one level of skill to the next? Are you just socializing them so they can function in society?

    If there was only one expectation or goal placed on the school system it would be easier to assess how it was doing.

    • Yes, I agree, and what is expected of teachers keeps changing. Do any of us really know what we’re expected to focus on? Being a teacher is really difficult these days.

  15. http://www.school-survival.net/articles/school/history/Compulsory_Government_Education.php

    This is what our system is based on. The site is a little dead right now, but it is educated, intelligent people who disagree with the American Education system. Some former teachers, too. Check it out. It will open your eyes and blow your mind.

  16. I almost cried when i read this because of how true it is.
    Things only really make a turn for the better by high school, but the destruction of a love to learn is almost total by then. Sorry for ranting. :p

  17. aliialiacensent

    Gifted children sometimes end up in remedial lessons – teachers should know better.

    This idea that smart children should be around less smart children so that they learn to behave like ordinary children is dumb, sick and in my experience positively harmful to the smart child.

    Smart children would benefit far more socially by being place with their own kind – they are too different to be around ordinary children and they same will be largely true when they are adults.

    • You might be right but I’ve never been 100% sure. I think that for learning, maybe yes, but socially, there are many more reasons to get on with people. Also, the test for giftedness seems to be stuck on literacy and numeracy, to a large degree. What about other areas of giftedness – artistic, musical, emotional, etc.?

  18. I have long been critical of the general principle of the school system (cf. e.g. http://www.aswedeingermany.de/50Humans/50IssuesRelatingToEducation.html). Where I see the greatest need is to allow those students who have the capability and interest to learn to do so on their own whenever possible—without the teacher getting in the way. The exact means need investigation and will likely depend on both the age group and the student, but general ideas include reducing the time spent on lessons, giving the students the time and encouragement to read books (even if “age inappropriate”) and Wikipedia, ensuring access to similarly talented age peers, and making sure that the teachers actually are brighter than the children in question…

    Seeing that you have a gifted child, I assume that you are reasonably well-read in the area. However, for the benefit of others, I point out that most of your experiences are shared by other parents of gifted and their children, and seem to be very common problems. That the students are not given more challenging assignments, when they finish ahead of time, but just more work of the same boring kind (in effect, punishing them for being good), appears to be one of the most common issues. Idiotic teachers that complain about a student being “too far” ahead, and thereby being a problem for the school, is another good example.

  19. Andrew Hiskens

    Thanks for another great and thoughtful post, Tania.

    With one son doing VCE and another in year 9, we’re reflecting on these things as well. I think we’ve been pretty fortunate in our choices once we decided that we had to be clearer about what we wanted, which really started for us in upper primary.

    The tell-tale test is always when a teacher describes your child to you in ways you don’t recognise. In that case, either you don’t understand your child, or else the teacher doesn’t. For us it was the latter, and the decisions we took subsequently have led to a pretty decent run in secondary school.

    The lesson is, I guess, that with education, there is no ‘set and forget’…

    • My comment disappeared. Try again – very true, Andrew. We also initiated changes to redirect our sons’ learning so that there was a good fit. It’s ongoing, isn’t it?

  20. >“We’ve always considered public school ed our kids receive as supplemental to the ed we provide at home so we don’t go crazy about it.”

    So many people say this. My response?

    IF YOUR CHILD ISN’T IN SCHOOL FOR AN EDUCATION, WHY IS HE THERE AT ALL?

    Do we really need warehouses for children so badly that we’re willing to give away 6-7 hours of a child’s life, five days a week, in order to maintain the appearance of conformity? And this is quite aside from the homework!

    Here’s a radical idea: Keep your kids out of institutional school. They will have more time with their families, more time for playing with friends, more time for independent leisure activities, more time for organized activities, and more time for learning. They will be more mature and responsible and, because they will not look near-exclusively to their peers to model behavior, will be better at getting along with people from a variety of backgrounds instead of just their own age group and clique within their neighborhood school.

    Can’t work from home or give up a salary and homeschool your kids? Then see if you can form a part-day daycare. If you make enough money, a tutor or governess is also an option. Older kids can stay home by themselves for at least part of the day.

    There is no reason that a child can’t cover all of “normal” Kindergarten in two hours a day, first grade in three, and second to fourth in four. Why restrict yourself to the pitiful standards of institutional schools, though? In five and a half hours a day, my seven-year-old does the usual core courses (reading at the 7th grade level, plus spelling, grammar, handwriting, and composition; algebra 1; science and real history, not social studies) and also has time for art, violin, piano, Bible, and three languages. And competitive gymnastics outside of school. He’s a smart kid, but there are plenty of other smart kids out there who could/should be doing as well or better but can’t.

    Every child should have the opportunity to succeed. I’ve seen schools try to quash that in children from the moderately mentally retarded to the profoundly gifted. It doesn’t matter where you are–the learning should meet you where you need it. Instead, schools try to make the child fit the mold. That’ll never get the results that individual education gets.

    • All have to say about littleredhennypenny is AMEN! Public schools is a breeding ground for peer pressure in fitting in, drugs and unmarried sex. Kids are supposed to be taught at home. Thats what the bible says. AMEN littlered!

  21. I recently posted on a somewhat related topic around the idea of child-led learning in the absence of teachers. Although not directed against teachers, there is unmistakable evidence that children actively engage with learning without prompting when they have control over it. Personally, I’m not surprised, but many folks aren’t ready to accept it.

    http://cloudhacks.wordpress.com/2010/09/10/can-the-cloud-replace-teachers/

    • experimented with this over the weekend with my daughter’s girl scout troop. group of (16) 4th graders, were far more creative than I imagined when i gave them a task and let them figure out how to accomplish it.

  22. We’ve elected to homeschool our 11 year old son after an attempt at a traditional public school and then a couple of years at a charter school. I’m not a homeschooling zealot, but I do see it as a viable and often wonderful way to help a child learn about life and stay interested in learning. We’ve had a wonderful time these last two years and I see my kiddo thriving in his own skin, following his interests with me as his guide. It’s a big undertaking for me as the parent/teacher, but in my gut I feel it’s one of the best decisions we’ve ever made for our family. I thought long and hard about what it means to be ‘educated'; it’s a subject that deserves much contemplation. It means different things to different people and I think that’s where the public school system fails children – following a prescription for education loses so many kids along the way. We need to celebrate each child’s interests, strengths and encourage those. If only public school teachers had the freedom to do so. Too much control, too many rules and not enough exploration allowed for kids to pick their paths. I have a blog about clever and quirky resources to make learning fun for kids at http://www.highonhomeschool.wordpress.com. Wish the public school system would start thinking outside the box because kids are our future.

  23. hotcrowd

    Very pertinent topic. Thanks.
    I like the method of learning by which children teach each other progressively as mentors and role models. It is similar to an apprentiship program. Hands on, applying knowledge immediately after learning it.

    “I believe that dreams–daydreams, you know, with your eyes wide open and your brain machinery whizzing–are likely to lead to the betterment of the world. The imaginative child will become the imaginative man or woman most apt to invent, and therefore to foster, civilization.”-L. Frank Baum

  24. Rex Raymond

    First of all, this is a wonderful post and so representative of what really happens inside a school. Just a few points where I felt I could contribute, having taught myself for almost two decades:
    1) school systems the world over are built on deemed standards. Since a standard is more or less an average, it regrettably sometimes poorly serves not only the gifted but also the intellectually marginalized. The school where I work has a support system for those perceived to struggle with academic work; and I suppose homogeneous sections of fast learners allows teachers to give challenging work to the students. It is an attempt to improve on the generic system but is still not without its faults.
    2) I am appalled that a gifted child would be told to fit in more. I agree social skills are important, and without these students will not be able to cope with the real world when they build their careers; that said, social skills should never be developed at the expense of a student’s natural academic gift. A diamond, common sense dictates, should be polished for it to shine; not told to blend in with the rest of the rocks.
    3) although schools are supposed to be fountains of learning, sometimes the harsh truth is that innovation and research is to be had only in higher education. Hence, those who teach in basic education may sometimes be stuck with knowledge learned when these mentors were in college – whenever that might have been! How updated teachers are ultimately depends on how aggressively school administrations push for refresher or update courses and how the teachers themselves wish to stay in touch with the times.
    4) education is a life-long process and schools, by and large, try hard to lay the foundation upon which all students may continue to build over with newly acquired knowledge. Some headway has been made by some schools in adapting their methods to individual intelligences and capabilities. I guess the problem with most people is that there may not be schools of this sort within the neighborhood.

    Rex Raymond
    http://www.lifesomundane.net/

  25. Came across your blog via Freshly Pressed. Looks interesting. Will try to catch up on & off.

  26. Never. Schooling is a tradition while learning is a compulsory.

  27. As a teacher myself I am often frustrated with the whole school system. Where the emphasis seems to be on ticking the right boxes instead of helping children to learn and love learning and there can be quite large consequences if you don’t tick those boxes. I know for myself I want the best for the children in my class and try to do as much as I can but as one adult with 25-30 kids I find it extremely challenging to be able to meet the huge range of individual needs of every child in my class room, especially when there will be a few children with extra needs that require a little more time and understanding.
    There are so many things that if changed within the system that could make schools a better place for all but generally take time and money which most school don’t have.

  28. dlfields

    I live in the states and have heard nothing but negative comments about “No Child Left Behind” and the MAP tests. If I had my way, we wouldn’t have either of these programs. There would be smaller classrooms (my daughter’s class has 26 kids) with more hands-on learning. There would be three recesses a day instead of one (I’d like to know what idiot came up with that one.)
    Kids would be encouraged to ask questions, instead of learning for the test.
    How do I feel about the state of education? I fear for its survival.
    I am however going to take a page from your book and supplement our daughter’s education at home.

  29. What a great article and comments, I am finding myself nodding my head and saying Amen over and over again. My husband and I are keeping home school an option for our kids (we’re expecting our first now) and yes it will be a while before we really have to think about it, but we both love learning and find so many flaws within public school. Especially since most of my family members are teachers (wonderful teachers!) but they tell so many crazy stories of how little control they often have over what they teach, how they teach, how much time they have to teach and so on…I was homeschooled my last two years of high school. It was during a a stressful and anxious time in my young life and my parents could tell that school was making it worse. Public school cannot give what every student needs. Not only was I anxious and found our school of 3000 students overwhelming and stressful, but I was bored and found little purpose in what I was doing. The last two years in homeschool were somewhat difficult bc I had been in public school my whole life and its such a different experience, but overall I enjoyed it so much more and looking back I value that year and a half more than the last several years of public school. So many times I would think to myself during our public school assignments how stupid it was – I could find no reason for it other than we were told that we needed to do it. Once in college I actually told my teacher this very thing- something she wanted us to do that was retarded- it didn’t make any sense- only I got reprimanded for speaking up about it.

  30. Scott Carrington

    As of now, I have to agree with your thoughts, though I am a little confused why the picture is a bad one… maybe it’s not a bad one, and I simply misread the beginning of your blog. At first glace, it looks like the kids may be outside playing, but without shoes. Or maybe they are taking a nap. Maybe it’s the fact that the desks are all so close together. I’m not sure.

    I do like the idea of sending an email (or letter) to the teacher and principle, and when it comes time for my daughter (only 5 weeks old, first child) to enter school, I may discuss this with my wife and see what her thoughts are.

    I don’t think schools are doing a superb job on all levels of education, but that comes along with the territory of the teacher, and from what I understand, you can’t always choose the teacher. I don’t have the money to pay for private schooling or private tutoring right now, but maybe I will when the time comes. I am currently in College, attending at the University of Arkansas for computer engineering, and though I realize that there is a vast difference in the education and maturity levels, not only of the student, but the teacher as well, I would hope that my children have a just as good of an experience with schooling as I am now.

    As far as homeschooling, I have to agree with you 100%. I was never home schooled, but when I was younger, I wished I was. I was lucky enough to experience a number of schools due to my parents divorce and different living circumstances. I have personally attended 6 elementary schools, and 4 high schools. Knowing what I know now, if it were up to me, I would have definitely chosen to stay in one high school. However, the changing of elementary schools, I feel, was greatly beneficial to me. I didn’t have a lot of friends at any one point in time, but it got me used to meeting and interacting with new people. I am in no way suggesting that we, as parents, should do this with all children, but I would like to point out that if circumstances call for it, worse things could happen.

    Regardless of everything else, after all is said and done, a main part of the education level and the growing of a child, both emotionally and mentally, falls greatly on the parents. Just because a child has a poor teacher, doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world. A parent can do a lot to help this situation and continue the improvement and growth of their child. Unfortunately, it seems to me that many parents fail to see this and this can be detrimental for a child.

    As far as I can see, (I have only read this one post from you, but would like to continue reading your blog), you have a great love and your children and are doing an excellent job parenting. I feel that more parents should be more like you and with that, I believe your children will turn out great. =)

    Thanks for the great post.

    http://amoxaphobic.wordpress.com

  31. Seonaid

    What a great title! This is one of the big questions, although perhaps rhetorical? I think that we all know (secretly, perhaps) that the school system isn’t quite what we want, that it doesn’t serve our kids the way it might, and that we really want something different for our kids.

    My post today happen to be on my role as a parent in my children’s education.

    I know the limitations of a system that is still designed to provide a standard graduate, despite all evidence that this is neither a reasonable nor an attainable goal. At the same time, I’m reluctant to remove my kids from that system, because I think that it does provide a mirror for the larger world. The question for me repeatedly becomes one of how to defend the kids from their schooling so that education remains possible. (I would add a wry grin at this point.)

  32. We must remember that school is a modern creation. Pople has learn in diferent ways through millenias.

    You might like to re read Ivan Illich ideas on learning and schooling:

    Schooling – the production of knowledge, the marketing of knowledge, which is what the school amounts to, draws society into the trap of thinking that knowledge is hygienic, pure, respectable, deodorized, produced by human heads and amassed in stock….. [B]y making school compulsory, [people] are schooled to believe that the self-taught individual is to be discriminated against; that learning and the growth of cognitive capacity, require a process of consumption of services presented in an industrial, a planned, a professional form;… that learning is a thing rather than an activity. A thing that can be amassed and measured, the possession of which is a measure of the productivity of the individual within the society. That is, of his social value.

    http://www.infed.org/thinkers/et-illic.htm

  33. Pingback: Are schooling and learning synonymous? « The Scone 2011 GP Blog!

  34. As an x elementary teacher turned educational consultant, we need to come into the 21st century! Before I became a teacher I was in sales, I had one-on-one tutoring as to my sales techniques anytime I needed help. I went to classes constantly and this was to sell a product not to teach a young mind.
    I arrive into the education system; I am handed manuals, given a blank room, and handed a list of names, and told if I need help I can ask the teacher next door who also has 28 children she is responsible for.
    Now, I have been very lucky as I have been trained in Reading Recovery, Math Recovery, 6-Traits Writing, and other fantastic programs BUT this came with the begging, pleading, and fund raising to gain this training.
    If I had a magic wand education would start at birth using co-ops so parents and children would have support. Education would be student centered and personalized (you know we do have the capabilities to do this). We would provide experiences, opportunities, and mentoring to apply the knowledge gained. Learning would be exciting and joyful. Education would be 24/7 anytime, anywhere, and the ultimate techniques for ALL children.
    We CAN and MUST do this!

  35. StalkeeBrew

    I am studying to ber a teacher right now and I am so disillusioned with the way schools operate. namely, the way they offer virtually no support to students who do not fit into the average mold. Whether they are behind or advanced, there is usually no room in the curriculum to deal with their needs unless plced into a special program. This is unacceptable and more teachers need to be trained to know how to deal with these students, or at least recognize their needs and send them to a specialist (which most schools usually don’t staff anyway). Hopefully I can do my part to make things better within an obsolete system.

  36. You’ve not only got a great topic here, but you’ve written well on the subject. As a teacher of students in higher learning, I often think about what they know and how they were prepared before hitting college. This post is making me think. I like that
    http://www.eduClaytion.com

  37. Learning and Schooling are completely dissimilar. For a fact, we all know schooling is the way of bringing up a student and learning is the acquisition of knowledge. Teachers play a big role on this, they become a child’s second parent therefore a good education needs to be provided for them to help a child accomplish and learn certain things to the fullest.

    Online Parenting Class

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