Monday, January 18, 2010
A quick hear-hear to Steve's and Rick's recent posts on home schooling. It happens that all of the relatively few home-schooled folk whom I know are at least as high-performing on standard educational metrics as the most high-performing of the many more I know who were not home-schooled (like me for the most part). In addition to that, the relatively few home-schooled folk I know tend to be more 'individual' and 'out of the ordinary,' in good wonderful ways, than most (though not all) I know who were not home-schooled. And finally, none of these comparatively few home-schooled folk whom I know are in any way 'maladjusted' or 'intolerant,' so far as I'm able to tell. But none of this in any way implies that there are not home-schooled folk, maybe lots of them, who don't do as well as those whom I know, or who would find themselves in real trouble getting on in adulthood in the absence of some state-enforced basic standards. Which leads me to think that the real question where home schooling is concerned is precisely what those standards should be, and whether all parents are equally well situated to comport with or exceed them. Seems to me Steve must be right that there's much variation here, and that Professors Fineman and West might accordingly be painting with too broad a brush. (I emphasize 'might,' as I've not read their pieces here recently cited.)
In this light, it strikes me that two slogans commonly associated with the architect Mies van der Rohe have a place here, to one of which we might say, 'Nope,' and to the other of which we might say, 'Amen, brother.' The first such slogan, which might indeed articulate the attitudes of some (though I doubt many) home schoolers, is 'less is more.' To that one I think we might wish to say 'nope.' The second such slogan, which I think is in keeping with Steve's observation, is 'God is in the details.' And to that one I think we might wish to say, 'Amen.'