“Taking Away the Youth”- Perspective of an Illini Graduate Student (homeschooler)

A former homeschooler – now University of Illinois graduate student – wrote an insightful perspective.

In comparison, the education hours expended per Japanese child was mentioned:
By increasing the amount of hours spent in school, something will have to be cut. Students in public school today have school to attend, homework to do, extracurricular activities to do at school, extracurricular activities outside of school, a job, and family/friend time. The first thing to go, if students are like me, is sleep. In order to do “everything” as normal, hours must be added to the day. Students will be more likely to fall asleep in classrooms, and what can they learn when they are sleeping? Should we instead cut the extracurricular activities? Let’s take all the fun out of being a child. Many Japanese students spend extra hours outside the classroom attending private tutor lessons. How long will students have to focus on school before we deem it too long?
Unfortunately, there is a heavy price to pay for that pressure on Japanese kids to perform, as evidenced in this particular post from IRDIAL:
The nail that sticks out is hammered down
Kyoko Aizawa of Otherwise Japan (a homeschool support organization) sent out word last summer of a new Japanese law.   Kyoko states this new law authorizes arbitrary governmental visits of any child’s home.
Zero to five is a popular catch phrase in the United States now.   It describes a plan to get children “school ready”, from the time they are first born until they walk in the kindergarten door.  That oversight (including home visits) is suggested far and wide, from the right to the left. Universal screening for mental health is often part of that package.
Comparing notes from various countries (read the comments to Colleen’s column for an interesting perspective of Chinese education)  makes one see a systematic parallel of educational philosophies. If the Obama administration (and his predecessors) spent more quality time (and quality funding) on the current school time frames and their end results, then maybe progress would be seen.  As long as remedial college and adult education programs continue to grow as a new educational market, what happens to the students in the current institutional learning environment regarding their educational success and their future happiness?
This email was cleaned by emailStripper, available for free from http://www.papercut.biz/emailStripper.htmA former homeschooler – now University of Illinois graduate student – wrote an insightful perspective.

Taking away the youth of students Daily Illini Colleen Lindsay

We have already started educating children earlier. Kindergarten went from being a fun-filled day to strict guidelines and drills. Now, we have introduced Pre-K. If you dare go into Kindergarten without having been to Pre-K you will be at a disadvantage and “behind” other students. When mothers start comparing about the knowledge and understanding of 3 and 4-year-olds then you know there are problems. Not that I don’t think that 4-year-olds are smart. I know one who is, arguably, the smartest little boy I know. But, it is not because he spends his days undergoing number and letter drills. What are we willing to sacrifice to improve our national image? We have already sacrificed our small children. And what has this gotten us? Well, the scores have not improved, but our children’s lifestyles have been compromised. Now, we want to take the happiness and fun away from school-age children and teens.

Quality education beats the quantity every day. Instead of having our students sit under the same learning environment for longer and expect them to improve, maybe we need to change that learning environment. Maybe the problem is not with the students. Perhaps it is in the curriculum, or the teachers, or the learning environment, or the class size.

She goes on with her own homeschooling experience that could be used as a successful model. More one on one, less of what John Gatto describes as social management, and decidely shorter ’school day’ hours for most of us homeschoolers.  That ’school day’ not negating the motto that we’re always learning, while our eyes are open.

Being raised in a homeschool learning environment, I can speak first-hand about the positives. I watched my peers and siblings achieve lofty goals. One such homeschool graduate graduated junior college at age 16 and is a college senior at age 18. This is not atypical of the homeschool community.

In comparison, the education hours expended per Japanese child was mentioned:

By increasing the amount of hours spent in school, something will have to be cut. Students in public school today have school to attend, homework to do, extracurricular activities to do at school, extracurricular activities outside of school, a job, and family/friend time. The first thing to go, if students are like me, is sleep. In order to do “everything” as normal, hours must be added to the day. Students will be more likely to fall asleep in classrooms, and what can they learn when they are sleeping? Should we instead cut the extracurricular activities? Let’s take all the fun out of being a child. Many Japanese students spend extra hours outside the classroom attending private tutor lessons. How long will students have to focus on school before we deem it too long?

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