History, Homeschooling and the Internet

I’ve been addicted to reading since I was three years old. I can’t help it, it’s what I do. 

For many years, well into adulthood, I spent several hours each weekend reading the voluminous Sunday edition of the Chicago Tribune. But it’s now a shadow of its former self, thanks to the Internet, which is where I do most of my reading these days.

I love having such a variety of interesting things to read. Once in a while, however, I hit on something really good, something someone has written that is so spot-on that I just have to share it with others. And have I got something good to share today.

Prolific writer and economic historian Gary North has written an awesome piece entitled “Public Education is Going Down” that clearly explains how the rise of the Internet is slowly killing public education. His theory is that, thanks to the growing availability of knowledge online at an increasingly lower cost, we parents are regaining the educational control that was lost centuries ago:

Home schooling is a throwback to the fifteenth century. It lets parents choose the content and structure of their children’s education. But it goes far beyond anything available then. One size does not fit all: all parents or all children. There is enormous diversity today, and it is getting even more diverse.

Read the entire article for yourself, and be sure to catch his last line. It made me smile  :)

Homeschooling and Unemployed Parents

I heard on the radio this morning that 40% of the unemployed have been out of work for over a year. I don’t know how they come up with these statistics, but a quick mental survey of the people in my family and social circle makes me think that 40% is close to accurate or maybe even a little on the low side.

Am I the only person who thinks these people could take advantage of their downtime by homeschooling their kids? Given the state of the schools today, it seems like a win-win situation: the unemployed person finds something worthwhile to do with their days, and their child or teen actually learns a few things by working with their parent. Many of these parents aren’t going to find a job anytime soon. Given the changes in our economy, homeschooling might even turn out to be a long-term solution for both parent and child.

After all, homeschooling isn’t that hard, and teaching a child can be done much more efficiently at home than in a classroom of 30 students (62 if you live in Detroit.) Considering that many high schools students now text their way through class, it’s pretty easy to learn more at home than at school these days.

With all the great educational tools available in public libraries and on the Internet (for instance, there’s a nice free math and science education just waiting for young people right here), what can the schools do for kids today that we parents can’t? (Please don’t tell me that football games and proms are essential, because an entire generation of homeschooled adults have shown that they aren’t!)

Some people believe that the public schools are already going down, as Gary North has stated in his excellent article on the subject. The quality of education continues its slide into the abyss, and funding is likely to be cut, thanks to the financial problems most states and the Feds are struggling with.

I think that dying schools and unemployed parents could be blessings in disguise for American families. Unemployed parents who decide to take advantage of their newly found free time to facilitate their children’s learning can develop closer relationships with them while giving them a better, more individualized education that they can get in school. At the same time, they’ll combat the demoralizing feelings that come with being unemployed because they’ll be spending their days doing something that’s important and personally rewarding. They may even find that they feel better about themselves than they did when they were employed. Win-win, indeed!