Home Schooling Children
Will our isolation increase through the infinite freedom of information and ubiquity of the Internet? Longer summers and lesser days / school year are the remains of the US agrarian economy, when planting picking and harvesting took place in a greater number of homesteads than today. US schools continue to have fewer days... and if well charted and scheduled, this freedom fosters creativity. It might also entice parents to home school their children. One wonders, what will our chaotic web-entangled future bring?
There are a number of parents who for myriad reasons (see link below), perhaps quality, personal choices, location, religion... might feel that sending their children to a public or private institution of learning is detrimental to the end goal of securing a child's future. Essentially, a secular education, as a public faculty and good, insures that the next generation of citizens, the future labor force, acquires the skills and competencies to maintain the technological and commercial prowess a previous generation had enjoyed. To increase this productivity, moreover, is the crux of every nation’s economic growth: Human Capital.
The burgeoning web-ed resources call much into question. As long as a parent, private tutor, or other service accomplishes the human capital role, the other (2nd 3rd) most important functions that school and university fulfill are social in nature: granting tiered credentials and amalgamating like minded people.
As the dimensions of how we interact with the ubiquitous Internet of Things (IoT) expands, say for example robotic teachers, interactive encyclopedic AI, more families will experiment with home schooling. This is an insulating, more private option available for at least a few months... if not years in the US. Alarming, but perhaps this is not all-bad for society. Many disordered school systems jarringly showcase the shortcomings of a public good and the shortfalls of society. We shall overlook the question, 'Do public schools have a duty to 'morally' guide our impressionable youth?'
“Only the Almighty knows how many lives I have endeavored to change,” sighs the prayer of tried timber of a teacher in the trenches. When classrooms disenchant a child, or take away the freedom of creativity, curiosity, or individual pace of learning, as an educator one must then ask, “Are we truly serving our purpose?” If the classroom cannot evolve to accommodate each student’s unique interests, talents, and desires while also fulfilling that fundamental role which society has entrusted, our purpose of teaching may indeed be lost.
Creating cookie cutter student programs, or teaching to the bell curve because differentiated content, or cluster level-making is economically unsustainable or not coalescing is a formidable obstacle. Many similar impediments will increasingly present themselves in the dynamically evolving tech heavy classroom of the future. And future teaching technologies will most certainly help address these impediments.
Right now, the number of US parents who wish to home-school their children is an increasing trend. Generalizing upwards, the American model of a carte blanche higher education system fares better than a module-based, disciplinary division frequently continued into University from the English based A & O levels, high school and college prep programs respectively. On the one hand a critic will observe that modules without the freedom of exploration in higher education is intellectually claustrophobic. The English would say rudimentary grounding of disciplines is foundational focal and fortifying to study, a sine qua non for future scholarship.
Globally, our international curricular equivalencies, diplomas, and certificates must find cross-sectional harmony in the way we qualify and quantify learning. Is the global community reluctantly but steadily finding it easier to recognize and transfer learning credentials? Indeed, web education portals, with their certifications, do enhance this harmony.
In the US, our government should establish a testing system more diversified than the GED for high school equivalency. Critical tech skills like rudimentary programming, along with a vocation or craft, should become a mandatory section for passing the GED, like the component testing the US constitution.
Home school students should be periodically required to weigh in on standardized tests, projects, neighborhood, and social activities. Perhaps more teachers will find more agreement in the Socratic tradition. Perhaps more will find themselves truly believing that “it takes a village to raise a child.” Respecting all the wonderful freedoms that increasingly grace our global village, one feels a parent should be able to choose and create that “village” for themselves.
National Center for Education Statistics:
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