The homeschool movement has continued to grow and shift over the last few years. Megatrends in homeschooling to note:
- Growth. Homeschooling is no longer the rare fringy movement that characterized it ten and twenty years ago. Now several percent of the US population, perhaps 3% is actively homeschooling.
- Mainstream Awareness, Many Involved. Because of the widespread awareness and acceptance of homeschooling, the pirate or “us-them” mentality that characterized homeschooling for many years has somewhat dissipated. In fact, many families now homeschool for a few years or homeschool some but not all of the kids. Before, the homeschooling community was somewhat separated from the others, this is not nearly so much the case.
- Homeschooling Acceptance. In the old days, homeschoolers had trouble getting resources and even text books or teacher editions. Now, there’s a significant number of vendors, especially technology vendors, who actively market to homeschoolers. Time4Learning, Accellus High School, Reading Eggs, Time4Writing, Science4Us, VocabularySpellingCity, HugeSpelling, All About Spelling, and Writing Without Tears are just a few of the vendors who cater to homeschoolers. There is even a site about homeschooler’s literature!
- Technology – The homeschool market and community are now using all the great community tools on the net to find and work with each other. There are Facebook groups (and Twitter and so on) for Road Schooling, Military Homeschoolers, Waldorf Homeschoolers, UnSchoolers, Classical Homeschoolers, and so on and so on.
To stay in shape, I ride my bike and I go to the gym. At the gym, I often wear earbuds and listen to podcasts, often TED talks. On my bike, for safety, I only wear one earbud and I also listen to podcasts.
Today, I listened to a series of podcasts by Malcolm Gladwell and Panoply Media. It’s a ten week series with this being the 3rd week. I liked them but don’t love them.
The first podcast that I listened to featured Wilt Chamberlin, one the greatest US basketball player. It’s not really about basketball, it’s about how peer pressure and the mob mentality works. In a clever and entertaining fashion, the podcast sets up the fact that Wilt’s achilles heel as a player was his foul shooting. And a weak foul shooter cannot be the goto guy in a tight game at a critical moment since the defense will just foul, watch him miss the foul shots, and then get the ball back. In modern times, Shaq had the same problem. The solution of course is to learn to shoot better foul shots. At one point in his career, Wilt changed his style and started shooting brilliantly and consistently. But then, for no reason other than peer pressure, he changed back. The question can also be put this way: Is it better to shoot foul shots underhand (“granny-style”) and be a high percentage shooter, or to be like everyone else and shoot the macho over-the-head low percentage style.
It’s a fascinating question. He discusses it in many ways but he leaves out the counter arguments which sort of annoy me. I think there’s a case for it to be easier for someone to train only one way to shoot, always overhand, rather than two different ways. Or to say that this is a historical point since in the modern NBA, the foul shooting percentage is now way up. It’s between 69% and 81%.
Here’s an interesting question. Should real or mythical American history be taught to K12 students? It’s a great discussion for the 4th because it turns the usual range of political questions on their head. Here’s some ways of framing the question:
USA: Land of the Free
- In Russia, China, and maybe even in France, they teach their history in a way that makes them sound glorious and very heroic with no mistakes ever made. It’s not history, it’s self-glorification and propaganda. I’m delighted to live in the Land of the Free where when I read a history book, I know it’s not controlled by bureaucrats and politicians, it’s by independent historical scholars writing it the way they see it. Wouldn’t you agree? Here’s a trivia question, what states in the US lead in terms of their legislature trying to legislate what should be taught in K12 history textbooks?
- What information is commonly taught in K12 which you believe to be inaccurate and which has been inserted into American history for some political or other purpose?
- Who do you think is the biggest obstacle to telling real US History: The Federal or State Governments? (Hint, remember that states control curriculum, standards, and the schools in their state).
- Why do US history professors at universities all seem to think that the history taught in K12 is basically propoganda?