Does the traditional school setting bore students, causing them to lose interest in learning? Given the institutional, restrained atmosphere that’s necessary to keep a classroom of 30 children in order, it seems highly likely. And, as the Washington Post reports, it’s that type of atmosphere that is leading parents like Lisa Cain to pull their kids out of the system and homeschool.
When Lisa Cain’s second-grade son became bored at his charter school in the District last year, she started searching for a new school. She went to public schools — “about 25 open houses,” she said — and visited a handful of private ones, too. At the same time, she pored over education research and theory.
“The more I learned about education, the more I found that kids learn by being excited about the subject and taking it upon themselves to learn. Not, ‘Okay, now we are going to do this,’” she said.
As the Washington Post goes on to report, Cain is just another in the increasingly diverse group of parents who believe it’s time to remove their children from the learning constraints of the education system. In Washington D.C. alone, “the number of registered home-schooling families grew by a third over the past two years.”
For years we’ve read about how homeschooling children are far ahead of the curve on tests, graduation rates, and other measures of academic achievement. Despite these accomplishments, critics continue to label homeschool kids as sheltered, socially unadjusted, and by implication, miserably deprived individuals.
Yet, parents like Lisa Crain are increasingly discovering that their children thrive when pulled out of the education system which bores and institutionalizes them:
So far, a month into the new school year, she has noticed a change in her son. “He is excited and talking about what he’s doing during the day,” she said of the third-grader. She also noticed a difference in the stress level at home without homework battles and a hectic rush-hour commute to school.
“My surprise, so far, is how natural and how much easier it is,” she said. “We are all natural learners, and learning doesn’t just happen at school. It happens everywhere.”
Would we see more of today’s school children thriving if they were learning in a more natural, individualized environment than the traditional school system can offer?