Friday, December 22, 2006

The 98th Carnival of Education

Lots of lessons

If you haven't checked out the 98th Carnival of Education, you can do so over at MedianSib's. Yours truly is represented on the roster by A well-earned F. (Hey, that sounds like I flunked!) MedianSib has done a ton of homework assembling this entry in the continuing series of education carnivals and it will take you hours to work through her generous compilation.

I've noticed that the Carnival of Education frequently has a rather conservative flavor, and this one is no exception. The next installment, for example, will be hosted at Right on the Left Coast, and MediumSib herself lists Michelle Malkin's blog as one of her favorites. (In case you haven't suspected, I'm not big on Malkin.) I suppose my report on a student taking advantage of the system fits right into the rightish ambiance.

MediumSib helpfully sprinkled her Carnival of Education roster with excerpts from some of the offerings. That's a nice feature in a carnival round-up. One that struck me (but not in a particularly good way), was an item by Taz's Mom on homeschooling:
So why is everyone up in arms about homeschool? Was not homeschool the only school for hundreds of years? God didn’t set up a public school in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve didn’t kiss their children goodbye as they boarded the camel bus to go to the nearby public school when they were five years old. What makes people think that children being taught by their mothers and fathers is such a bad thing?
Well, in the first place, I don't know that “everyone” is up in arms about homeschooling or that people in general think it's a bad thing for kids to learn stuff from their parents. Some of my students in college (and one of my colleagues) were homeschooled and they seem to be doing okay.

Second, the argument advanced by Taz's Mom in defense of homeschooling is entirely specious and raises questions about how well Taz's Mom performs as a homeschool teacher—especially in teaching logic. I'm fairly certain that the Garden of Eden (if it ever existed) didn't have laundromats in it either, but that doesn't automatically make them contrary to the will of God or otherwise some kind of bad thing. (I'm sure you can think of other examples.)

Finally, a lot of parents may be limited in how far they can take their children with homeschooling. I'm sure parents vary in their knowledge and skills as much as any other large group of human beings. The obvious bottom line is that there is nothing inherently good or bad about homeschooling. In fact, every child learns from his or her parents—at least to some degree, but the real story about homeschooling is what you do with it. One possible outcome is the trio of little creationists, homeschooled to a fare-thee-well in the narrowest of interpretations of Genesis. That's less of an education than it is an indoctrination.

But go see the 98th Carnival of Education for yourself. MedianSib's impressive work will give her successors a high mark to shoot for.

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