Friday, February 8, 2013

No Feedback Loop

One of the biggest problems I see in schools today is the complete lack of any meaningful feedback loop. Schools and teachers do their thing, and they have some result; but there's no effort to correlate what the teachers do with the result they have, and then change what they do in an effort to get closer to the desired result.

For instance, the teachers might assign reading logs, and the result is that kids hate reading. Surely that indicates it's time to try something new? Apparently not, because no matter how many parents might tell them so, the teachers simply refuse to believe that their actions have the result they actually have, rather than the result teachers want them to have ("the kids will learn time management skills!")


  1. What IS keeping your daughter(s) in school? Why haven't you made the switch to homeschooling yet?

  2. That's a direct way of asking, how's the homeschooling coming along? I second it. Go for it! It can be so much fun, your daughter can delve into subjects, she can sleep, she can eat right, she can have a life, an education, balance. This is her life. This is it. This is her teenage-hood. You don't want to risk that, do you? What are you waiting for? :).

  3. Yes, I must confess to being quite curious about where you're at with Homeschooling.

  4. Where we're at so far is that Older Daughter is still at Friends Omphalos. She'd like to finish out the year, for various reasons, including the Spring Concert.

    We're looking into homeschooling for next year (and the rest of this year, if all else fails.) I'm at the stage of being terrified that we'll turn into some weird mother-daughter version of Howard Hughes -- depressed recluses.

    The academics aren't the hard part. Older Daughter already knows more than most American high-schoolers. It's the question of having a social life and helping Older Daughter find her way in the world. Of course, school isn't helping a whole lot with those issues either.

  5. A few things to remember to confront your terror. Because homeschooling feels as if you are perched precariously on a cliff, peering anxiously over a precipice. You take your child under your arm, inhale deeply, close your eyes and prepare to jump. You have no parachute. You think you have gone mad. You are certain you are going to crash and burn. You shut your eyes tight. You jump. You discover you have wings.

    Jump already. Do it. The longer you wait, the more scared you will be.

    You will not turn into depressive recluses when you discover how many people homeschool. There are SO many events, activities, field trips and classes, you will be blown away by the all choices.

    Will it be a walk in the park? Not always. Not every day. Can you do worse than the status quo? Nope. You cannot. If you can't do worse, what are you afraid of?

    Take the money you spend on private school and start off by traveling. Unschool. When you homeschool, you can either bring school into your home or homeschool. They are not the same. The latter takes the world and makes THAT your classroom. Everything out there is a learning opportunity. It becomes so incredibly superior to anything school has to offer, you'll wonder why you waited.

    Remember this as you fear screwing up. You cannot do worse. You cannot worse. Repeat after me. You cannot do worse.

    I am not trying to be evangelical. I am not a fundamentalist (with no offense to those who are, some of the nicest people I met were). I am not an isolationist hippie. Those are two presiding myths.

    I was just a mom who'd had enough. School is broken. I couldn't fix it in time. I couldn't salvage the school. I couldn't salvage my family. I could not get 8 back. But I could save 13.

    Most people I know do not regret taking this plunge. They only regret having waited. You don't have to wait to finish the school year. That's another myth. That you'll teach your child to be a quitter. Rather, you are sending the child this message, courtesy of that Kenny Rogers tune: "You gotta know when to hold ‘em, you gotta know when to fold ‘em, you gotta know when to walk away, you gotta know when to run..."

  6. By all the choices, meant to write.

  7. You cannot do worse, meant to write. Oy. I thought I edited.

  8. I couldn't salvage the school, I could salvage my family, meant to write. I am editing now! After the fact...

  9. No charge. This time :).

  10. I know you are afraid and unsure, but please, please don't be.

    You will not turn into timid recluses. You may need some time to relax and detox from school, time where you or she don't feel like pursuing a lot of outside activities, but that won't last forever.

    There's a huge support network out there. It will be fine. I promise.