Monday, June 11, 2012

This Just In: Cursive Out

The teacher told Jack, "Your handwriting, your printing is so nice, so clear, so legible that you don't have to learn cursive."

That was in fourth grade. We pulled him out of school to homeschool/unschool him this past March (when he was in sixth grade).

Now look at this:

Cursive Writing No Longer Necessary

Not sure what it means in the long run, or even short run. Also not sure how significant it is.

But I thought it worth noting.

So it's now noted.

Special thanks to


PS. There's stuff about wasted time on rote learning in the article, too.


One small step for keyboarding.

One giant step for diversified education.

Change, even a little bit, is pretty significant, right?


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

HomeWork: The Cunning Flip

The homework tonight is read pages 32 to 33 and answer the questions on page 35. Also do the even numbered math problems in chapter three of your math book. And remember to start the outline for your mid-semester project.

So much to do. So little time to do it.

Parents receive an email at home that conveys the homework assignments for today.

Parents pick up where the teacher leaves off.

The school's mission statement: We will teach your children. We will educate your child.

The school takes on this mission. This responsibility. This obligation.

The parents are obligated to leave their kids with the school. The school is obligated to teach the kids.

And what if the child isn't taught? Doesn't learn? Fails?

Can the parents have a meeting with the teacher?

A parent - teacher meeting?

And ask: Why?

Yes... well...

Unless the obligation to teach and educate has been cleverly flipped from the teacher and the school.

Over to the parent and into the home.

The cunning flip.



A parent - teacher meeting happening right now.

Let's listen in...

Parent:  My child isn't doing well in school. My child says he hates school. My child doesn't like going to school. Why does my child hate school? Why does my child not like school? Why does my child feel bad about not getting all the school work done? There's just so much work to do. It seems so overwhelming, so impossible to finish. And it seems like my child's self esteem is suffering. Suffering in the name of education.

School teacher:  I completely understand. Let me ask you a quick question: Are you, as the child's parent, helping in a positive way with your child's homework? Supervising the homework? Encouraging completion of all of the homework? Doing the homework yourself? Did you receive my email? You know, I send you a homework email everyday.

Parent:  Oh, my. How clever of you.

School teacher:  Yes. Homework is really a linchpin in traditional education. Homework keeps alive an illusion. The illusion that the obligation undertaken by the school, to teach the child, is too big. Too much to do alone. Parents need to participate. To share in the accountability. Parents need to reduce the size of the school's obligation by helping at home, sharing the work. Parents need to shoulder the responsibility of teaching. Of educating their child. It's a lot of work. It's too much work for one institution. And... and this is important, the very most important part:  If something goes wrong, the child doesn't do well, the child fails or some how isn't educated, the school cannot be blamed. The school cannot be found at fault. That would seriously hurt the grand tradition of the school. We just cannot allow such a thing to happen. And, so, we have.. homework.

Parent:  Yes. Of course. And I want to do my part.

School teacher:  I just knew you would understand.