Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

I Think About Homeschooling a Lot

with 4 comments

School is a place where children are compelled to be, and where their freedom is greatly restricted — far more restricted than most adults would tolerate in their workplaces. In recent decades, we have been compelling our children to spend ever more time in this kind of setting, and there is strong evidence (summarized in my recent book) that this is causing serious psychological damage to many of them. Moreover, the more scientists have learned about how children naturally learn, the more we have come to realize that children learn most deeply and fully, and with greatest enthusiasm, in conditions that are almost opposite to those of school.

School is a prison — and damaging our kids.

Written by gerrycanavan

August 27, 2013 at 11:09 pm

4 Responses

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  1. Very worth reading. But two grumpy quibbles:

    “Most people assume that the basic design of schools, as we know them today, emerged from scientific evidence about how children learn best.”

    Is this true? That’s a sincere question. I think most people are so far from having thought about it that to say they assume it is wrong. (Not that they think the contrary.) But I dunno, maybe they do.

    “critical thought, creativity, self-initiative or ability to learn on one’s own — the kinds of skills most needed for success in today’s economy”

    Boy is the second half of that depressing. I mean, it’s not *WRONG*. But…

    Stephen Frug

    August 28, 2013 at 9:01 am

    • I think, generally speaking, people assume that when we’ve always done something a certain way it’s because it’s been proven somehow to be the best.

      In any event, yeah, this piece is a huge bummer all around.

      gerrycanavan

      August 28, 2013 at 9:50 am

      • It’s also hard for people to see generational changes in something like schooling. School’s gotten a lot worse since I went through it, and it was already pretty bad. But I only know that because I work in education and make an effort to track these things. It’s very easy to just assume school is school is school….

        gerrycanavan

        August 28, 2013 at 9:51 am

      • You’re probably right. (In both comments — embedding is limited here, damnit.) I’d like to think that people’s basic sense of the historicality of the human experience is stronger than that. On the other hand, the persistence of that hope in me (I teach history to undergraduates for a living, after all) is itself a sign of the cognitive dissonance that keeps it from being true.

        Stephen Frug

        August 28, 2013 at 10:10 am


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