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I would never send my kids to school (2017) (supermemo.guru)
48 points by garaetjjte 28 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 85 comments



Have to read more to be able to comment meaningfully, but an early red flag is distilled in this statement:

"I am looking for a formula for mass-production of little Nobel Prize winners, researchers, engineers, and creative problem solvers"

There are many potential educational systems that would do better for the top [1|5|10]% of learners, while doing far worse for the remainder of the bell curve (however it is defined). One has to be upfront and honest with themselves, and audience, if the goals and proposals will benefit all overall, or select few. I am not yet convinced that less-structured approach will provide clear benefits for everybody :-/


People routinely criticize rigid schooling yet the very people they aspire to emulate are products of such systems. The people who often struggled in such systems (artists, athletes, celebrities) are looked down upon. Even entrepreneurs, by in large, did well in school. For every Steve Jobs there's 10 other founders who were former super students that aggressively tracked into tier-1 schools through hard work and (yes) conformity. No offense but every founder story I read about their "rebellion" is almost silly. It's always like "My parents wanted me to be an investment banker but I said NO!"


Yes, if you look at extreme versions like the Soviet system it by and large did what it was supposed to do and produced for all it's other flaws a pretty solid amount of very well trained experts, and a very highly educated general populace. I'd include athletes from your list as well because they also tend to thrive in very rigid environments, artists and celebrities less so.

In my experience whenever I hear people talk about unschooling or free thought for their children it isn't about children at all but about the political beliefs of their parents. There's still this kind of 60s hippie or California 'free spirit' individualist attitude that also has a renaissance in 'hacker' circles. It seems to me more about the beliefs of a certain social class than generally about education.


That's a rather charitable view of the Soviet education system, probably colored by the biased selection you'd see in the West.

By 1990, that "very highly educated general populace" was setting out jars of water in front of their TV screens, so they would get charged with healing powers of ESPers


I don't think schooling has much to do with people's failure or success as much as other factors that are either inherited genetically, financially, or socially. If you want high performers make sure they have the best genetics, come from secure families, have lots of money, and have a wealthy and powerful social network. Outside of that we have lottery winners and for those theorizing about to reproduce them is stupid as they are in fact lottery winners that won because of chance not for any good reasonable reason.


Product of the system doesn't sound right as even before schooling was common, there were some people who would rise to the top of the success ladder and some who would fall down. It is a fact of life that everyone is different and those difference allow some to be successful and others not. In fact, incomes have held stagnant through the rise of post secondary school popularity, indicating that schooling does not provide success (of the monetary kind). Mathematically, incomes need to be rising if people are making more money through attaining increasing levels of scholastic achievement when compared to people who lack such achievement. In reality, people continue to fall into the same income segments that they always would have, with some rising to the top, and others falling down.

What is well understood at this point is that people who are born into the right circumstances (genetics, family wealth, avoidance of illness/handicaps, etc.) are able to be more successful in what they do, be it school or other ventures. This is why you see a correlation between those successful entrepreneurs and success in school. Even Steve Jobs was successful in school, despite going about it in a non-traditional way. People are not successful because of school, people do well in school because they are successful.


> I am not yet convinced that less-structured approach will provide clear benefits for everybody

I'll go even further and say I'm convinced that a less-structured approach will clearly not provide benefits for everybody.

I had my boy in a Montessori environment, which is more unstructured and focused on the type of self-learning the author is describing. It worked really well for me growing up, so I wanted to provide that environment for my son. Well, it was a disaster. After a neuropsych evaluation for him, he's now in an exact opposite, highly structured learning environment. He's not only much happier, but back to progressing appropriately in his education.


Different environments for different people. A kid with ADHD will have serious problems in Montessori style school, even when medicated.

Not everyone needs to be a creative Nobel prize winner or otherwise prominent, as much as parents would like that.

The real trick is in finding potential ones and not breaking people in the process. Feeling like a reject for failing with assorted psychological issues or having trouble retraining. I'm taking here of the Chinese filter system.


If he's looking for a formula for mass production of Nobel Prize winners he probably hasn't yet discovered the central limit theorem and thought through its implications for his little idea.


Even in the 3rd world countries some teachers who know what they're doing have managed to organize schools that rely on competition as the admission process. That works pretty well for not losing potential Nobel Prize winners. Mass production of Nobel Prize winners would be just an act of violence towards the "more average" children.


That example illustrates my point perfectly.

Not only are the people normally distributed, the schools are too.

That tippy, tippy top will always ever only be a handful.

That's not to say we can't raise the bar globally, but realistically we're probably at or close to the ceiling ;f what's possible for mass education.


The statement you quoted is definitely a red flag for me. It sounds like the parent wants the kids to fulfill the parent's dreams, rather than their own dreams. What if one of the kids just wants to work at a surf shop so they can hang out on the beach?


I have similar concerns with people who claim existing education would massively benefit if homework didn’t exist as a teaching tool or means of gauging progress and development.


There's a kernel of truth behind that one, FWIW. A growing body of evidence indicates that there can be too much of a good thing: Past a certain point, more homework actually hinders learning rather than helping it.

By way of analogy, it's not at all unlike how most weightlifting advice says to give your muscles a day of rest in between workout sessions.

e.g., I recently watched a talk where a researcher cited a study that found that putting kids in remedial literacy programs, with all their drilling and whatnot, seems to do more harm than good. The (deliberately over-simplified) impression I got was that, if you leave the kids alone instead of bothering them, you'll generally see a markedly bigger improvement through simple regression to the mean.

That this gets over-simiplified into a simple "homework bad" in the popular sphere is unfortunate. Sadly, nobody has yet figured out a way to inoculate science so that it can survive on Facebook.


I totally agree. I still think homework has utility at least in helping students develop patterns of study and figuring out problems without help from a teacher available at arms length.

Too much is definitely a detriment to anyone’s education, but I think this usually happens when classroom instruction is imbalanced with material covered as “homework”.

By far I learned the most in a physics class in high school with homework but you could correct a number of problems in class if you completed it at home (not easy). I liked this balance, but there were still students who seemed to lack the discipline to actually just do the homework and not wait for class to see how many solutions they could copy.


There is research into this - and it seems to work well for elementary school kids, with a minimum of homework for older students. (universities are different). Scandinavian countries do this and always score well. AT least here in Norway, they also do not hold elementary kids back, but work with them appropriately. There is more than one way of gauging development and progress.


I don't always feel great about sending my kid to school, but until you can get a critical mass for some kind of alternative, the cost in social isolation for keeping kids out of school seems way too high to me.


My wife and I home school our kids. Homeschooling doesn't mean your kids never see other kids (unless you live really isolated lives anyway). We found other home school families, there are associations, my kids take classes with other kids (Chemistry, an English class), they still participate in sports (there are lots of club sports leagues, and you should be able to get your kid into any sport at their local high school district).

Anyway, the socialization taught in school is often the wrong type of socialization. "here is how to talk and play only with kids your own age".


Would love to home school. Do you both work? Or only one of you?


My wife does not work. She wouldn't have made enough to pay for childcare anyway, plus this is what she really wanted to do in the first place (homeschool the kids). We also moved to a cheaper city where the cost of living is more affordable. We don't live in an expensive house, cars are used and payed for. You can make it work, but there are trade-offs.

I will also mention: we have 5 kids. Oldest now in college, youngest in 4th grade.


I don’t know if you remember school, but the social environment that exists in K-12 is deeply dysfunctional and I’m not convinced it prepares you well for socializing in real life. Children are antisocial and schools are an instance of the inmates running the asylum.

Ben Sasse’s book “the Vanishing American Adult” points out that the modern child-centric school system is an extremely recent invention. Back in the day, children were socialized by hanging out around adults who could teach them how to be humans.

If my wife and I cared more about our kids we’d home school them.


Having spent plenty of time in both, I think it's actually a depressingly good microcosm. You have a status hierarchy. Those at the top can be arbitrarily cruel to those at the bottom with minimal consequences so long as they don't cross the delinated brightlines. Everyone is obsessed with status and its markers, because it determines everything about your life - who you can talk to, who you can date, who you can work with, etc.

The people who are supposed to be overseeing this and averting this mess generally have other concerns, limiting their ability and willingness to intercede.

Really, the only changes are the time-horizon and how the social groups are sorted.


I think one of the key differences between childhood and adulthood is that status in childhood is based solely on one's ability to play the status game.

In adulthood it more based on one's ability to actually perform socially useful activities. Not 100% obviously, but a lot more than childhood.


> Everyone is obsessed with status and its markers,

Obsessed? Some. Aware? Everyone is aware of them, consciously or not.

> because it determines everything about your life - who you can talk to, who you can date, who you can work with, etc.

I mean, sort of. It’s always present in these determinations, but it’s only one factor.

I believe you’re right to say that some exposure to a status-focused microcosm is good for understanding how to navigate society, but I really don’t think it’s as extreme as you make it out to be.


Where do you live? This is not my experience with adulthood at all, especially once I left DC.


A planet known as "Earth", among a species of jumped-up plains apes.

I've found this to be a pretty apt generalization in literally every place I've lived, which at this point encompasses a half-dozen major cities spread out over several thousand miles.


Have you tried getting away from highly educated people?


Yes.

Minimal differences, really.


And that is the main thing: socialization. Families in cities, specially now that most people rarely have more than 3 children and live relatively far from grandparents, the cost of not understanding how to behave with mid size groups of people or how to read social contexts is priceless, and most probably won't come easily from other channels since now doesn't seem that common to see children running in the streets freely.


Don't know about your situation but my siblings and I were raised in a mostly homeschool environment and achieved constant socialization via homeschool groups ( spurred on or hosted by my Mother ), church, various small town activities, and the fact that there were 5 of us.


There is also a cost in learning. I'll doff my hat to parents who have the time, energy, resources and ability to teach their own kids a wide range of subjects but in practice this seems to be the exception. Most homeschooled kids I've known have been very behind their schooled peers.


I taught a couple of home school co-ops during school. I found that for this particular group, these kids basically didn't learn math, but were good writers, well read and eloquent speakers.

My wife says that they were all incredible awkward to be around, so there may be something to the social thing.


> so there may be something to the social thing

You have a point there. In regular school you are forced to be 'social' or risk punishment. I put 'social' in quotes because I think what is considered social is subjective and mostly made up. But watching how people are treating one another in this world I'm not sure if that social component is really working out good. Homeschooled kids are definitely not as slavishly as the 'socially' drilled kids from regular school.


> Most homeschooled kids I've known have been very behind their schooled peers.

Behind? In what? We are homeschooling our daughter. For her age she's amazing with computers, english and painting/drawing(which is her passion), and also unlike her peers at school she learned to enjoy life long learning and has become autodidact as well. She never learned the usual things taught at school like: forcing other people what to do, bullying, all day on social media, hate to learn, etc, etc..


Might be a harsh wake up call in the future. Unfortunately world does not revolve around what you are or can do. Not even what you do. It is fundamentally unfair and it's just that different might makes right nowadays, rather than violence.


I concur. We're heavily considering taking our children out of the school system and this is our primary blocker. We're doing research on it and it does seem like there are a number of social groups specifically geared toward solving this problem in our area. It seems like it is growing much more common, though a disproportionate number of the groups are still non-secular, which makes them a bad match for us.


We're going down this path as well and it's been a struggle to find secular options, but it is indeed growing much more common.

I'd suggest that social development can be served by literally just playing with friends though. In our area, the YMCA offers sports basically the whole year, which is a good way for the kids to spend time in a structured group setting (and if you're lucky, you can even be the coach!), and my wife has found plenty of fellow homeschoolers and unschoolers on FB who are looking for some social interaction for their kids (we happen to live in a place that isn't particularly religious though).

Relatedly, everyone just seems to agree that the socialization provided by school is good and necessary, and I'm not so sure that's true. It's been our experience that all of our friends and relatives, when they do complain about school, complain about bullying or kids otherwise misbehaving in a way that's stressful to the child in question.

In addition, our experience on the playground has been that kids who are in school tend to be way more likely to be rude and aggressive. And I don't say this to suggest that school makes kids rude and aggressive, just that I have 4 kids and I have spent a lot of time around a lot of different kids and I've seen zero evidence that school provides positive socialization beyond what could be had by attending regular play groups.


Some homeschoolers say "When we worry about socialization for our kids, we grab them, drag them into the bathroom, and beat them up for their lunch money".

That is, socialization in the public school system very much has a downside.


Haha, I've never heard that before. I personally don't think socialization at public school has much to recommend it, but lots of people also have fond memories of their time in school, so I haven't found it productive to get really negative on it.

I mostly just want to remove socialization as the deciding factor that makes parents keep their kids in school when they'd really rather do something else, because, as you say, socialization in public school very much has a downside, and I think at best, it's a wash compared to homeschool.


It is silly to believe that bullies are just in school. School just provides a target rich environment for them.

And if you shield kids too much such as by over structuring their life, they might be defenseless later on. It's a fine balance and requires care, care which neither schools nor homeschooling parents are likely to be able to provide. Not even specialists most likely.

It's an open question.


My wife and I home school. All three of our kids have plenty of friends, play dates at a park or science museum, sleep overs etc. There is nothing isolating about home schooling unless you choose to isolate your children.


Is socialization the main thing? I think you could setup a community for other parents who homeschool.

Also, school is a terrible place to socialize.


Being terrible is part of the value of public school. Unless you happen to get yourself into the prison system, it is very likely that you will never encounter an environment as degrading, hostile, and illogical as a public school system. One is exposed to people of all different abilities and disabilities, in a way that one is almost never forced to cope with after the age of 18. Exposure to that full spectrum of humanity is valuable.


Idk seems like a waste of time. Why not let kids get really good at things.


The ones that can will regardless.

We could waste people's time considerably less than we currently do, but it would require a sober look at what people are capable of and tracking them into vocational training that matches their abilities much earlier than we do, rather than sticking our fingers in our ears and singing "lalala everyone should go to college."


> The ones that can will regardless.

This is really wrong attitude. Success sometimes depends on a small push at a particular time.


Your mileage may vary, but I find that extrinsic motivation is a very weak force.


Me too. Which is why school is shit.


Because some of them will get really good at hanging out on the street corner with their friends. We want our adults to be prepared for more than that.

On the other hand, "being terrible" is also not exactly a great reason to stick kids in school...


I'm struggling with this right now. My 7 year old child is "profoundly gifted" which is an IQ above 145 (he is almost 160). He is mostly a wonderful child and he is very very smart. He is well above his peers and is mostly sweet but he has extreme behavioral issues many times throughout the day. He has friends that love to play with him but like a German Shepherd, will out of nowhere attack them verbally because he perceived a slight and will scream and say horrible things. We have sent him to psychologists and behaviorists and burned through our savings and spent close to $200k over the last two years and we have run out of money. I'm getting close to the point where I accept that school isn't for him.

I've been told that most schools do not cater for profoundly gifted children, especially the asynchrony of the emotional development. I don't blame the schools because children like my son are very extreme. I don't know what setting is right for him, but we have no choice but to look into home schooling, let him grow academically and in emotional peace, and maybe when his maturity increases we can reintegrate him with other children. Or maybe home schooling will be such a relief for him that his anxiety or whatever it is that is causing this will get naturally alleviated.


Not sure if this is helpful or not; but I have a very similar 8 year old. (Although his emotional maturity isn't quite as far behind as your child, and his response is to shut down rather than attack.) Similar challenge with IQ where he works 3-4 years ahead of grade levels and tests as profoundly gifted.

We found a charter school that mixes home school and in class education. So he is in a typical school environment 2 days a week and we home school the other three days. This has been a good mix for us; he can get some socialization at school (plus other activities we are involved in). It's not as all encompassing and stressful as a full 5 day a week school would be. We can do academically advanced work 3 days a week; while still giving him a chance to work his underdeveloped social skills with a little less pressure on the system. Best of luck; parenting can be hard :)


Thank you. This is an interesting idea. I will look to see if my area has something similar (SF Bay Area).


I'm sorry to hear about this; that sounds like a really difficult situation for everyone involved.

If I can presume to mount my own soapbox in response, though: This strikes me as a symptom of the rather extreme age segregation that goes on in typical schools. I went to quite a few, and my favorite for the social environment had middle school and high school all together in one building, with a total student body of a bit over 100. And one of the neat things that happened there is that, while kids were generally age-segregated in their actual classes, we were all together for lunchtime, school plays, etc. The group of people I typically sat with at lunch time during my junior year of high school included seniors and also one 6th grader.

In retrospect, I imagine that made for a better environment for everyone's social and emotional development.


Thank you. I toyed with the idea of having him accelerated, but emotionally he is so immature that the older kids will very quickly, to be honest rightfully, ostracize him. I have noticed he does get along better with older kids, maybe because they are more predictable for him, but I'm quite sure he is mature enough to handle the higher emotional expectations of older kids.


I was homeschooled for all but 2nd and 3rd grade. I have mixed feelings about my experience of it (for me it worked out sort of OK for various lucky reasons) but no mixed feelings about the concept of it, and I now believe it should be illegal. It's possible, even common, to have a terrible social experience AND a terrible education in homeschooling.

Most of the reasoning for it was that public schools are evil and stupid and raise evil drone kids with evil drone values. This is a terrible perspective to inculcate into your children and it warped my view of everyone around me well into my twenties. Also the homeschooling community tends to self-select for a lot of the most narcissistic and BPD types of parents who actually do inflict major developmental and psychological damage and abuse on their children.

There was also a smattering of justifying it to the effect of "children learn better at home than they do in a classroom environment". This may be partly and technically true, but in practice it gets cancelled out by the fact that most parents are not actually able to educate children effectively past a 3rd grade level.

There are always exceptions. The broad exception, as usual, is when the family has plenty of money and the parents have LOTS of autonomy over their work schedules. The home-schooled children of doctors and lawyers that I knew had private tutors in some subjects and did all kinds of travel, participated in sports and robot building competitions, even worked for state legislators as part of their "high school".

Long story short, I am sending my children to Minneapolis public schools. As a parent, I hugely get the desire to keep your kids close and be their everything all the way through to adulthood. It was hard for us to watch our six year old get on the school bus and think about this first chapter of our lives together was in some sense ending. But I also know from experience and observation, the protectionist instinct to keep your kids that close for that long is really not healthy.


"I didn't like it, it worked out badly for me, so it should be illegal for everyone"? That seems like a bit of an over-reaction.

> There are always exceptions.

And yet you believe it should be illegal. It's going to be hard to make it illegal and still allow the exceptions, though. "Illegal unless you have plenty of money and autonomy over your schedule" is a pretty sketchy law.


> "I didn't like it, it worked out badly for me, so it should be illegal for everyone"? That seems like a bit of an over-reaction.

It actually didn't work out that badly for me, I thought I made that clear. It worked out badly for most of the people I know, though.

I think it should be illegal because it's broadly unhealthy for society. It's part of a broader belief that the way to fix a suboptimal public education system is to make sure all parents have big incentives to invest time and resources to improve it, rather than for the wealthy to flee and create a system that works only for themselves and leave the public system and the remaining people it serves to wither on the vine.

> > There are always exceptions. > And yet you believe it should be illegal. It's going to be hard to make it illegal and still allow the exceptions, though.

Yes, despite the fact that some kids (such as myself) did OK under homeschooling, it should still be illegal. I also knew a kid who learned to drive a stick at age ten with no license, and he didn't die. He was an exception. Still a bad idea that should not be legal.


> I think it should be illegal because it's broadly unhealthy for society. It's part of a broader belief that the way to fix a suboptimal public education system is to make sure all parents have big incentives to invest time and resources to improve it, rather than for the wealthy to flee and create a system that works only for themselves and leave the public system and the remaining people it serves to wither on the vine.

By that logic, private schools should also be made illegal. And that should be a higher priority than homeschooling, because (I believe) more people send their kids to private schools than homeschool. (Also by the same logic, charter schools and magnet schools are suspect.)

I mean, you are correct in saying that that may be the best chance for the public education system. However, I think that your proposed solution is not only misguided, but heavy-handed authoritarian to boot. Let's throw away parental authority over children, and give it to the state, so that the schools will be better? No thanks. I want the schools to be better, but not at your price.


> By that logic, private schools should also be made illegal.

I used to think this too, actually. But now I think that Finland’s approach satisfies the goal while being a bit less drastic. Private schools are still allowed, but are not allowed to charge tuition fees (they are funded by a state grant if approved), are not allowed to have a selective admission process, and must offer the same educational and social services as the municipal schools.

It’s important to remember, the current system we have is heavy-handed and authoritarian too. It traps lots of people in an underfunded system and then tells them that system is hopeless and they are bad for using it. And parents do not “give up authority over their children” by sending them to public school. By fearing and vilifying any state action whatsoever, what you end up doing is vilifying, fearing (and eventually crippling) democracy. Instead of doing this, consider looking at measures that have been tried, proven to work, and have high satisfaction where they have been done, and join me in advocating an evidence-based approach to improving life for normal people!


Parents do not give up control of their children by sending them to public school. (At least, not in the sense I meant. They do, voluntarily, give up some control, but that's not what I was talking about.)

But parents being required to send their children to public school is a forced removal of control from parents. No, I will not join you in advocating that (not even if you include your restricted version of private schools). I trust the median parent to decide what's best for their children more than I trust the state.


How do you feel about truancy laws?

Also: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6T2zUEiVQU4


Ambivalent.

Also: I'm not going to watch a video to try to figure out what your point is. If you've got something to say, say it.



A discussion about how school is modeled seems on point for this site, but the author of this seems a bit... zany?

"Before humanity is taken over by AI?"


Yeah, I get the sense that this guy attached himself to a topic in the early 80s and has been on a self-directed tangent ever since. He makes a lot of unfounded claims, peppering in just enough references to sound credible.

I’m sure he believes everything he says wholeheartedly, but self-directed learning without guidance can lead you to pick up some weird ideas before having the context to understand why they’re “weird”. I don’t think he’s entirely off-base with his criticisms of the school system, but I also don’t think he presents any arguments that aren’t well-established already.

The question of which sources to trust (and thus learn from) is the biggest reason not to go entirely self-directed with learning. One is equally likely to end up with a theological argument as a scientific one depending on which sources you were introduced to first.


I feel fortunate in that most of the zany ideas I attached myself to in my late teens/early 20's were re: physics and mathematics. Because they could be pretty easily shown as nonsense with just a tiny bit more education and thought, like concretely, useless nonsense, for very straight forward easy to demonstrate reasons, I was able to later discard them without too much difficulty, and accept that I didn't actually have any Big Ideas about math and physics, ideas that were going to change the world.

If my Big Ideas about how the world works had been about something more difficult to prove or disprove, like sociology or psychology, I kind of think I would still believe them, because it's one thing to elaborate your maths to a logical contradiction on a couple of sheets of paper, and another to run a well-controlled experiment with thousands of subjects.


It sounds like it could be related to the LessWrong cult [1]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LessWrong#Roko's_basilisk


There's a movie relevant to this topic called Captain Fantastic. It's about a father who raises his kids in the forests of the Pacific NW.

I do think it's true that school is oppressive. I guess it's oppressive for the same reason modern mass societies are oppressive: strict conformity is tacitly enforced. The nail that stands out (for whatever reason) is usually hammered in. Of course we also gain a lot from the way we've arranged our societies (and our schools). We're optimizing for the best outcomes on average -- and we may be doing that fairly well -- but that doesn't mean we're anywhere close to optimal for a given individual.

Unfortunately, "optimal for each individual" may not be a realizable goal. But if you have the resources, alternative means of educating your children seem tempting.

It's also well-documented that girls seem to tolerate school better than boys (and get better grades), which is interesting.


If you found this interesting, you may find John Taylor Gatto’s “The Six-Lesson Schoolteacher” fascinating. He is mentioned in the linked book, of course.

http://www.cantrip.org/gatto.html

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17619435

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=182727


There is a lot to read here. So far as I can tell it's a mix of proven ideas (spaced repitition, need for sleep, exercise, etc) and speculation (everyone is better without heavily structured schooling).

My guess is we could use more customized, self-driven efforts in schools and intermingled age groups. Though I doubt his vision would be practical without devoting a lot more resources per child.


> ) and speculation (everyone is better without heavily structured schooling).

https://www.theguardian.com/education/2016/sep/20/grammar-sc...

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/why-are-finlands-s...

This isn't speculation. Some of the best performing primary schools in the world are in Scandinavian countries, and they have a heavily unstructured "structure" if you want to call it that, day consisting of mostly playtime and activities, no standardized tests (even when there are testing, the results aren't publicized).

A far-cry from some of the rigor and structure our kids face here in the US, where the primary objective seems to have been to raise obedient subservient factory workers rather than inspire dreams, aspirations, and creativity and teaching children how to truly learn, rather than simply perform a task.


Picking Finland as a model is problematic. Compared to the US, it's a small, socially homogenous country that speaks a language isolate.

A much better comparison is Canada, which demographically and socially is much closer to the United States but ranks even higher than Finland in education scores.

AFAIK from my contacts in Canada, their schooling system is very similar to the US, but had much better results.


I am not just picking Finland however. I am picking Scandanavia as a region, which consists of 21 million, or a little over half of Canada's population. The sample size is large enough, in my opinion.

It passes the smell test as well: teaching children how to learn versus teaching children how to perform a task or pass a test Obviously the former is going to be better.

Not forcing children to sit in classrooms for the majority of the day is obviously going to be better.

Not being obsessed with standardize testing losing sight of the overall goal of preparing your children for life sounds obviously better.

Starting at 7 years old sounds obviously better - I can specifically attest to this as a parent, where Americans seem obsessed to have their glorified daycare service aka "preschool and kindergarten" so that they can work more of their already overworked life away)

Irrespective of the above points: I get it (the point about population size, different countries, economic systems, political systems, etc). This fact is brought up every time a desired attribute about a smaller country is mentioned. The things I am talking about are irrespective of population size. It requires a perspective change and getting rid of politicians that still somehow think the turn of the century, industrial-age, overtly standardized school system we have built here in America that more resembles a prison than a place of learning is working and just needs more: more money, more teachers, more books, more standardization (now we need to account for all different metrics and biases! more money to the test generators) etc, so we can keep on chugging along with this failed system when the elephant in the room is the system itself is what is a overall failure and needs a complete rebuild -- which is exactly what Finland did in the 60s when it had similar challenges from the Soviet-era education system.


ditches need digging too. every us school i or my kids have been a part of has a gifted and talented program. two tier approach seems a reasonable compromise


As one of the kids who went through a “gifted and talented” program, it was largely a way to segregate social classes. The “regular” classes were actually harder to do well in, but they weren’t full of blonde white kids.


Even here, there's a method to the madness. It may appear unstructured compared to the US.


It's interesting to me to think, compared to our evolutionary history, schools are really really foreign and unnatural. Until relatively recently, the average kid would have grown up in a small community surrounded by her parents, relatives, and other adults. At toddler age she would play with other kids or find ways to amuse herself, later like 5, 6 and up, she'd start to help out with chores.

Whereas at a school kids are cooped up in a high pressure environment, with other kids who are all just as immature, and a few adults to supervise.

My parents homeschooled my brothers and I. I'm really torn as to whether I want to do the same for my kids some day. One the one hand, I feel like it was a good healthy environment to learn and grow up. On the other, I've always felt like I don't fit into society and sometimes am jealous of "normal" people.


>I've always felt like I don't fit into society

Many who were not homeschooled feel the same way. I don't think this has to do with being homeschooled or not, it has to do with how some people adapt better than others. I went to regular school and sometimes I get that feeling that it is hard to fit in with the average, but that is not a bad thing after all. Modern times are quite tough for everyone. Perhaps we all have that feeling but never talk about it.


Someone needs to disrupt education from the current Industrial Age model to a more current Information Age model. I lean towards a self-paced video model like Khan Academy, with some personal instruction to answer questions, along with some group activities to socialize the children. Unfortunately, our government and union run education institutions resist any changes.


It's even pre-industrial age model. School and its strict class system originate from the church. And I totally agree it should be disrupted by a more scientific proven model so kids can actually start to enjoy learning. The problem is that we have billions of people that were conditioned in traditional school. There is practically no way to change those peoples minds, whatever argument you come up with, it's futile. That's all the downvotes ;)


You're right, there are some elements from the Agrarian Age, namely getting summers off to help with the harvest. But, if it's one thing I have learned, it's that anything can be disrupted!


School is supposed to be a place of learning. Instead, it became a daycare for kids to spend their days in autopilot mode


Man, this is rant level 1000. It seems the guy was really hurt by the school system.


Sounds like someone had a bad school experience.


[flagged]


One of these is not like the other.

With your first sentence you're accusing people of having personal experience(!), while with the second sentence you're just plain insulting people.




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