My wife and I were walking through our neighborhood recently and had a chance to strike up a conversation with a mother of three in her front yard. She said she had been a teacher and decided to quit in order to be with her own children. She happened to mention in passing that she felt sorry for the boys in public school, as it seemed to her that the institution was designed for girls who appeared to fare better sitting at their desks and completing assignments. It wasn’t a protest. She didn’t strike me as anyone who would consider homeschooling. She simply said it in passing.
My hope is, however, that before her own children are old enough to start school, that she will come to her senses. I also hope I’ll have more chances to persuade her. But she was right. Boys were not designed to sit at desks all day. Their minds and bodies need to spend a fair amount of time doing. It has been my experience that the institution wastes most of the day in the early years of education, and perhaps in the later years also. We were ourselves, able to get much more across in much less time. We also had the freedom–and the time to spare– to send our son out to run around the yard when he was restless. And we did it without a mountain of hierarchical red tape, and a one-size-fits-all formulation of a program to pull it off.
Parents are their children’s best teachers. There’s just no getting around that.