If you think that “socialization” is important for the development of your homeschooled children, think again. It’s not just important. It’s everything! So says a retired Canadian public school teacher in a letter-to-the-editor of the Edmonton Journal. While discussing the recent Concordia University and Mount Allison University study that revealed Canadian homeschoolers academically outperformed their public school counterparts, Donna Martyn wrote, “Succeeding academically is probably less than 15 per cent of the value of public schooling. It is, however, a desirable byproduct.”
It’s a desirable byproduct. Like Spam.
So, what is important in Canadian education? It isn’t academics and it isn’t “the moral benefits of homeschooling.” The value of a Canadian public school education is that “when children come together at an early age, they are to be taught to learn, work, share, play (and otherwise cope) - in groups. Not just any group, but a microcosmic group of their fellow children - products of the society of which they are to become a part.” According to Ms. Martyn, “Home-schooling deprives children of the chance to do just that.”
A “microcosmic group.” They must have small class sizes.
Maybe Americans just don’t understand our cousins to the north. Maybe Canadians don’t interact inter-generationally. It is possible that peer groups remain intact for the life of the Canadian citizen with very little contact with Canadians outside of their age group. That’s why it is so important that “children must learn to get along with people of their own peer group.” It “is essential if they are to become functioning members of Canadian society.” Homeschoolers have a different understanding of what it means to prepare our children to participate in the greater world outside of the home.
If Donna Martyn is correct, I have to wonder about the curriculum content in Canadian public schools. Are they wasting valuable resources on reading, writing, and arithmetic if academics are only a 15% byproduct of a K-12 education? Is reading and math just a clever ploy to distract young children while they really learn to stand in line or share toys?
“No, Johnny, we are not carrying a one to the tens column when we add nine plus six. We are sharing the one with the tens column. Learning to share is important.”
The absurdity of Donna Martyn’s educational philosophy is clear. Her philosophy is the polar opposite of the “whole child” concerns Linda wrote about in yesterday’s post. Ms. Martyn doesn’t appear to be concerned about the intellectual development of children at all. It is a dangerous approach to education that reduces a human being to a simple cog in a societal wheel, depriving children of the ability (and quite possibly the desire) to become dynamic, well-rounded, moral, and successful adults. Her goal is for children to cope.
Maybe it’s a Canadian thing. I’ll take homeschooling.