"Intellectual distinction is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for election to a Rhodes Scholarship. Selection committees are charged to seek excellence in qualities of mind and in qualities of person which, in combination, offer the promise of effective service to the world in the decades ahead. The Rhodes Scholarships, in short, are investments in individuals rather than in project proposals..."

Saturday, August 16, 2008

What have we done to the teenagers?

This post digresses from normal TJEd conversation only slightly...

After reading this article by Holly Pierlot (_A Mother's Rule of Life_), it made me think of conversations I have recently had with people about the book I'm reading right now by John Taylor Gatto (_The Underground History of American Education_). Teenagers. Adolescence. These are all words that didn't exist before the 1900's.

The American Education model has created this artificial stage in development between childhood and young adult. School has become a detention center for youth under the guise of education, higher education, but what are we really teaching? Sex, drugs and rock and roll? Or, is it texting, peer attachment, and, well, sex, drugs and rock and roll.

One hundred years ago, 16 year olds were getting married, having children, settling down and supporting themselves. All of that has been extended in the name of "education". It affects us as homeschoolers, too. We are required to teach our children to 16. Now, don't think I'm ready to kick my 10 year old out the door. I know many 16 year olds (and adults) that won't/don't need college because their mission is something else - plumber, electrician, nanny. Those jobs are best apprenticed and why can't that apprenticeship take place starting at 16? Thank goodness for the PSEO option in Minnesota.
PSEO offers high school juniors and seniors (whether currently in public, nonpublic, or home schools) the opportunity to take courses at eligible post-secondary institutions. Students must meet the admissions requirements of the post-secondary institution, but do not pay for tuition, fees, or books. They earn high school credit courses and, if students continue their education beyond high school, colleges or universities may choose to transfer their completed coursework through PSEO as college credits. More than 7,000 Minnesota students were in the PSEO program last year – including 321 students from private high schools and 700 students who were in home schools.
So, all hope is not lost...

Now, do I want my kids in a post secondary institution at 16? Well, probably not, but at least we're not stuck waiting for 17 or 18 to start college if they are ready. I know a boy who was homeschooled. He did full time PSEO (the limit allowed by state law). He's in pre-med. He will have earned his Bachelor's in 2 years Post Secondary (out of high school) and will be moving into med school by the time he is 19. Good for him!

At the turn of the 20th century, America was short on cheap labor. Child labor advocates were decrying the horrors of sweat shops. The solution? REQUIRE public education from K-12th grade. It keeps the kids out of the sweat shops, trains the masses for following directions and submission. It also makes full time jobs available for moms because they have state funded day care. Think how better educated our founding fathers were with MUCH less school. Ben Franklin only had a couple of years at most and he even escaped a harsh apprenticeship with his brother. And, with the masses thinking they can't be do anything but work a 9-5 job somewhere for a company or shift work at a factory or hospital, they won't be inclined to come up with new ideas, inventions, improvements or innovations. We leave all that to the "well educated people". My son comes up with a million new ideas a day. If he were in school they would have told him to be quiet a long time ago. I think my son has it in him to create some great new things and he's not afraid to fail.

And, I think this extended childhood leads to many other problems such as gangs (did those exist before all this), high school shootings, grade school shootings, 20 somethings that don't know what to do with their lives. I think we need to be thinking about and working with our kids on their missions very early on in life.

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