Re: Teachers Propose All-Online High School Philly charter school
- Subject: Re: Teachers Propose All-Online High School Philly charter school
- From: Deborah Meier <dmeier@ESSENTIALSCHOOLS.ORG>
- Date: Fri, 19 Nov 1999 22:52:43 -0400
- In-reply-to: <3834C541.6AC03B52@pyramid.net>
- Reply-to: Assessment Reform Network Mailing List <ARN-L@LISTS.CUA.EDU>
- Sender: Assessment Reform Network Mailing List <ARN-L@LISTS.CUA.EDU>
On homeschooling. I think Michele is making some good points. Another plus for homeschooled kids whom I've gotten to know is that they often have stronger ties to interesting and varied adults, and a learn amidst a much wider range of ages and through a much wider range of real life experiences than the kids who are "socialized" in our typical peer-only four-walled school cultures.
I've been reading Growing Without Schooling--or something like that--the magazine of the John Holt Society published in the Boston area-- for some years now. It's one of the few places left in which learnng is really talked about it in an in-depth and interesting way. I'm much more sympathetic to homeschoolers than I used to be. I realize, of course, that the John Holt Society homeschoolers are not typical. But they raise important questions for us. (And I've gotten to know some more religiously-inclined homeschoolers up here in New York State of late and had some similar reactions.)
They raise questions precisely about the nature of what we call socialization in schools. They hearken back to the issues that Vivian Paley raised in You Can't Say You Can't Play
, as well as those raised by Sizer and others about the nature and isolation of the contemporary peer cultures which the overwhelming majority of our high schools are structured to encourage. Far from being socialized to democratic life most adolescents are abandoned by their schools and families to a media-focused peer culture out to make a buck off them. How to create intergenerational learning communities that confront both adults and kids with the value of public debate, public conversation, of relationships that takes into account irritating "others",that requires compromise and negotiation, etc--is not something our schools now do well, as we all agree. They mostly don't even see these as in any way their task! Or worse, they see it as their task to prevent such conversation. Home schoolers are hardly depriving their kids of healthy pubic conversation in refusing to send their kids to most of the schools that are their real choices.
It's the "political impact"--the "message"--that their rejections sends that I suspect we fear: the implied rejection of the public sphere in favor of going it alone. At least that's my worry.
Anyhow, I know a lot of you would enjoy reading the Holt Society literature precisely on issues relating to community, diversity, socialization, etc. But their literature is also fascinating--maybe above all fascinating--for its focus on the way kids think, understand, make sense of the world and how those that teach them can best respond. We rarely get around to that these days we're so busy with accountability! Deborah Meier.
>I think you are missing some things, but it is probably because you have
>not been exposed to a lot of homeschoolers. The most obvious thing you
>overlook is that school is not the only opportunity for socialization.
>For example, you are socializing now--on the Internet. When you go to a
>concert, the library, a skating rink, talk to your friends, or
>participate in AYSO soccer--you are also socializing.
>I think that "learning alone" is not what kids who are homeschooled
>do--over 4% of the children in my county are homeschooled (253). Those
>children attend lots of social events--field trips, science groups,
>homeschool groups, music lessons, and recreational activities. Those
>homeschool groups (I've been to many) are wonderful. These kids are
>definitely NOT learning alone.
>By the way, most of the kids that are homeschooled here are also
>physically or learning disabled--although a small percentage homeschool
>for religious or cultural reasons.
>I think parents of homeschoolers and homeschoolers are looking for a
>quality environment that doesn't strive to label, humiliate, overtest,
>and practice "One Size Fits All" policies. They are looking for control
>over their own educational destiny.
>A cyber-high school would be a wonderful accompanyment to the
>educational experiences that these homeschooled children already enjoy.
>I think it is an excellent idea!
>> sorry, folks, but I think the only way people learn, as Vygotsky says, is in
>> a social context, perhaps I should have said "anything useful." to me
>> there's no point in learning alone, other than the pleasure of doing
>> whatever it is alone, like reading, playing an instrument or making art. The
>> real point of it all--the "it" being education--is to function in a
>> participatory democracy, isn't it? isn't that why we have classrooms and
>> schools? or am I missing something?
>Attachment converted: Macintosh HD:Part.001 186 (TEXT/MSIE) (000090E8)
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