Thursday, May 19, 2005

Homeschooling as Growing a Nutritionally-Adequate Diet

If someone proposed that inner-city people should feed themselves by growing their own food they would be called all sorts of names implying that they were cruel and unrealistic.

When I listed the various options for obtaining food (Costco, Safeway, 7-11, restaurants, etc.) I initially balked before adding "growing your own." Indeed, I chickened out and wrote "growing some of your own food." What a ridiculous notion to grow your own food!

But homeschooling is exactly like expecting people to grow their own food and still have a diverse and nutritionally-adequate diet. The fact that some people manage to do this well is testimony to the amazing creativity and resilience of human beings. I suspect if similarly forced into a corner (as were people in communist regimes), people could home-grow their own food and actually do pretty well for themselves. Our pioneer ancestors did as well, of course, but in both cases the lives of the people so living involved harder work than most of us can imagine.

The fact that people homeschool, "grow their own," rather than send their children to be nourished on the free dog food-style education available speaks volumes about the effects of an absence of a market in education.

23 Comments:

Blogger COD said...

Your comments also seem to indicate that you believe people only homeschool because of a lack of other options.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Even if we had a free market for education, many, many people would still choose to take personal responsibility for their children's education. Home education, at it's core, is not about reading, writing, and math. It's about family being central to your life. It's about parents calling the shots. It's about every child being unique. them. Montessori may do that better than a government employee, but it won't do it better than a parent.

Government employee or not, sending your kids away all day to be educated by strangers is never going to be an acceptable option for many people.

5:37 AM  
Blogger Michael Strong said...

I certainly agree that some people choose to homeschool, would do so under any circumstances, and have an absolute right to do so. I am completely supportive of homeschooling and did not mean to imply otherwise.

I also know that there are people who would like to have better options but who homeschool, in part, because the existing set of options is so dreadful.

6:25 AM  
Blogger Daryl Cobranchi said...

But homeschooling is exactly like expecting people to grow their own food and still have a diverse and nutritionally-adequate diet.

With supporters like this...

8:34 AM  
Anonymous Janine said...

Think you just got busted MS for doin' the backstroke!

Might be an interesting polling question though. My guess is you'd find that the majority of homeschoolers are doing so out of choice as opposed to the lack of one.

12:57 PM  
Blogger Michael Strong said...

I've lived on a farm where we grew most of our own food. I am completely supportive of people growing their own food.

Is it more work than buying groceries? Yes. Is there less diversity than when buying groceries? Yes. Is it somewhat difficult to have enough fresh veggies in winter? Not if one is happy with cabbage . . . Is it better than dog food? Absolutely!

I'm happy with analogy and don't see a problem at all in saying that growing one's own food and homeschooling are good things while simultaneously acknowledging that markets provide vastly more than any individual family can provide on their own.

1:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You said, "I'm happy with analogy and don't see a problem at all in saying that growing one's own food and homeschooling are good things while simultaneously acknowledging that markets provide vastly more than any individual family can provide on their own."

Well, I think the analogy breaks down because my children require MY time, attention and lap. No market can provide MY time, attention or lap for my child.

Homeschooling for most of the homeschoolers I know is not about offering a certain variety of resources, a mix of certain books or posters or microscopes or a diversity of experiences or offerings.

It's about the child's OWN family and own home. The market place cannot provide this to my child.

This is why many people can't figure out why homeschooling works. They're trying to figure it out like the child is a plant in the garden that anybody can water or feed or tend.

But I do appreciate that you're thinking about homeschooling. I think that's great. I just don't think you understand what's really integral to homeschooling. In fact, that's why some people call it "family based education" -- it's not just about interchangeable parts, it's about the child's OWN family and what the child can learn and do and feel and be in the comfort and security of family and home and love.

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