Reason 307: Because Age Segregation Is Not A Good Thing

A friend mentioned that he was talking to a homeschooling parent and asked her what her reasons were for homeschooling. He told me that none of her reasons have been mentioned here. I went back and looked and I think he’s right, at least not in a title.  So here we go.

So I found this article:

Age Segregation in School

Like most articles on home education, this article is focused on reform of the education institution. I hope you, dear reader, understand that that’s not going to happen. The administration of the institution, you might say, is in a steel reinforced concrete bunker a thousand feet thick. Nothing is going to get through to them. Their minds are in a jar and the lids are on tight. Those who suggest reform can’t seem to understand that the statist institution is a success beyond the wildest dreams of those who concocted it, and whose bones are now moldering in the grave. There will be no reform, only reinforcement.  So lets get on with some excerpts from the article:

Some people think it is “natural,” or even beneficial, for children to be confined with other children of approximately the same age for most of each school day, but this is a recent, mistaken idea promoted by education bureaucrats.

“The fact is, however, that most American schools were ungraded until the second half of the nineteenth century, the graded school having been introduced in the United States in 1848, when the Quincy Grammar School in Boston, Massachusetts, opened its doors. A number of educators, impressed with the graded schools they had seen in Germany, had been proposing adoption of the technique in this country. The Quincy School was the first built for that purpose; it contained twelve rooms of equal size, four to a floor, in which a teacher and some fifty-five children would meet for a year at a time. The men who created the school predicted that it would set the pattern of American schooling for another fifty years. Their estimate was clearly conservative.”

Does it seem odd to anyone that what someone experiences for most of their formative years seems “natural”?  Well of course it seems natural. It defines our very existence as youngsters and young adults.  But, as we can see in the exerpt, age segregation is a relatively new idea. But interestingly enough, with the advent of homeschooling, there are enough adults out there who have escaped the age segregated experience to use as a control group in order to study the long-term effects of it. This article cites one of those studies here:

Interesting evidence suggesting how much age-grading dumbs down schoolchildren today comes from the contrasting experiences of homeschoolers, who don’t have to stick to the average schedule of other children their age. The Rudner 1998 study of homeschooled students [link to a different Web site]analyzed standardized test scores of a large sample of homeschooled students. Rudner is an educational researcher who is not himself a homeschooler. He notes that many homeschooling parents in his study voluntarily gave their children standardized tests for one or even two “grade levels” higher than what their children would be assigned to in an age-segregated school, but the children still scored well above national norms.

I agree with this only partly because the thinking behind it is stratified.  It seems to imply that if the state ever decided against age segregation that it could provide a better more uniquely tailored education. But that’s like suggesting that if all the tires on a car are flat the car will be fine if you put air in only one tire. It ignores the most important ingredient of all in education: love.  The love brings about the one on one instruction. And second down on that list is time. The institution doesn’t foster real education time, it steals it from family time which is some of the best educational times available. But the state sends your child home with loads of homework that eclipses time spent with family. It is robbery.

In the beginning of our homeschooling endeavor, I didn’t think much about age desegregation, but as time passed and I begin to see my children’s comfort in interaction with all ages, including those very young and old. I can vouch that it is a great benefit.  It also allows my children to forego a feeling, or perhaps a sense, that was ingrained into my mindset, and I didn’t even know it.  I thought that advancement in life would come automatically with age. I can remember how odd is was to learn that outside of the campus culture the boss was not necessarily older than the employee.  It truly was a strange concept to me. Of course, that was then. Those were thoughts thought by a young and ignorant young man who’d been thoroughly indoctrinated.

But your children don’t have to grow up like this. Their life can be more realistic. And the best education they can get is one that won’t require them to uneducate themselves from their “education” for the rest of their lives.




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