Thursday, April 12, 2012

Some Encouragement For Homeschoolers

My wife and several of her fellow homeschool moms took the little ones to OMSI (The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry) a couple of days back.  Apparently, while there, my wife noticed that the place had a very high concentration of homeschooled kids and that OMSI, like quite a few other similar places (for instance, the Oregon Coast Aquarium at Newport has homeschool-only events, even sleepovers) has a fairly significant cultural penetration by homeschoolers.

In retrospect, this shouldn't be terribly surprising.  Homeschoolers have terrific amounts of flexibility in their schedules and seem positively drawn to cultural institutions that don't suck.  Apparently those institutions like them a lot also, probably because as I've pointed out before, homeschooled kids are much less annoying on average than public schooled kids.  A lot of them even have intellectual curiosity, which makes the job of museum curator/attendant/babysitter a lot more entertaining.

As to why this should be important and encouraging, ask yourself this:

Who is it that tends to volunteer at such places?  Lots of retirees and wives of rich guys is who.  Oh, and teenagers of wealthy families that are burnishing their college applications with volunteer hours.  Having those groups develop a first hand appreciation and affection for homeschooled kids is decidedly to our advantage.  These are groups that punch above their weight politically.  Having them at least unwilling to participate in any crusade against homeschooling may help buy sufficient time to become politically unassailable.  Memberships at such places are often very good deals as well, and frequently you can get one like my wife's friend has (2 parents, plus 3 adult visitors and up to 10 kids with kids under 3 not counted against that limit).  Between several families, you can have similar memberships at multiple institutions at very reasonable prices (my wife's friend got hers via a groupon).


Alrenous said...

Ah, a new entry for my list of indicators that public school is worse than nothing.

I get the impression that most homeschoolers are untrained in education. Is that about right? I would expect that the homeschool advantage would go down when it becomes widely adopted, but only slightly.

I should see if I can find one of these museums locally and volunteer, try to quietly run some ad-hoc retention tests on the kids. Bet they'll smoke establishment kids on that, too.

Jehu said...

Most homeschoolers don't have any kind of education certification if that's what you mean. Those that do actually get slightly worse results than homeschoolers with a college degree (upper 80s vs low 90s in percentiles).

Alrenous said...

Is that adjusted for IQ?

Jehu said...

No, nobody's education stats control for parental IQ. I posted that as a free dissertation topic for a social scientist that is actually interested in seeking truth though. You might attribute the lower performance of people with teaching certs relative to other degrees to the teachers having lower iq, or you might conclude said training was worse than useless. But the data to separate the two narratives isn't there.

Alrenous said...

I know the instruction is worse than useless, but that requires the students to actually absorb and then apply the instruction. It would appear education is graded on the "-studies" curve, so, about that... As a physics undergrad, I had 2-3 hours of labs a week. Student teachers get a couple hours in a classroom with borrowed authority, for what, half a month? Oh, and I could actually fail tests.

As a result, education is the grease trap of colleges. (Connotations of that are wrong, beef grease is good for you...)

Alrenous said...

Should have thought about that a little longer.

It's not really worse than useless. Schools have been getting monotonically better at creating proggie mind-slaves. Each class is just a little more delightful to the bureaucracy than the one before. Pay the piper, etc.

Mike in Boston said...

Maybe this is why homeschooling and stay-at-home moms are now illegal in Sweden, that socialist paradise.

Jehu said...

Yes I've heard that there's an exodus to Finland of homeschoolers in Sweden to the Swedish-speaking areas there.

Alrenous said...

Haha! Stockholm syndrome gets a new connotation.

"“One mother told me when she went with her 18 month son to his medical checkup, and he was not in daycare. They said, ‘Oh, your son is not in daycare? But he has to go to daycare. He needs that and you need to work,’” Himmselstrand told CBN News."

Haha 'work.' You mean 'pay taxes,' right?

Rage against mothers at home - in case anyone thought feminism was against the oppression of women.

"The motto for a leading educator in the country states, "Sweden: No more housewives, but higher wages for women."