Support For Homeschooling, Written In 1939

Okay so this article I saw, The Defeat Of The Schools, posted on a homeschooling email list was not specifically written in support of homeschooling, but it certainly could have been. It was published in 1939 and provides quite an interesting analysis of the state of education.

I was particularly interested in parts IV and V and here are a few excerpts I could relate to having homeschooled two children through high school.

In this day of encyclopaedias, World Almanacs, and public libraries, a large stock of miscellaneous information for ready reference does not seem particularly vital. Even professional scholars can and do look up specific data when and as needed. It is far more important to know where to look for facts, and what to do with them when found, than to be able to produce them from under one's hat at a moment's notice. So the very strong and consistent evidence that twelve to sixteen years of schooling leave most people very inadequately equipped with ready-to-use memory knowledge, though highly suggestive, seems of secondary significance.

As you can see, part of the point he's making is that even if ready access to memory knowledge was useful, the schools aren't making it happen. The bigger point for me, however, is that we do indeed have easy access to information so it's really a waste of time to try and memorize much of it. This played a huge part in our family's educational philosophy. I was much more concerned about giving my kids the tools to find information when the needed it.

People young and old learn what matters to them, what seems of genuine moment to them.

If everyone involved in education would respect this basic truth, how would education change?

Hence the great necessity is for far more flexibility in our whole treatment of children in the schools, and above all for flexibility in what we ask them to master.

I don't know if the schools ever were capable of much flexibility, but with 70 more years of laws, regulations and rules, they are certainly not flexible now.

Homeschooling is the essence of flexibility.

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