Monday, March 19, 2012

Education in Finland

One of the reasons I home school is because I'm concerned that testing and competing will cause my children to view learning as a chore. I think when you learn because of external compulsion you can retain some of it, but when you are learning something because you want to learn it that's when real education is occurring. That internal motivation is what really produces achievement.

It looks like Finland takes a similar approach.


Chad said...

Great Jon - why don't you take this wonderful plan into the inner city of Detroit (public schools) and put it to the test then. But one thing - you have to make sure that your children are enrolled at the same school or school system. Are you willing to risk your childrens education for our beliefs? Like all of the Elite Liberals who talk big - have all the answers - they have no desire to put real skin in the game.

Also Jon - you can kid yourself all you would like, but your not fooling me. Your home schooling your kids because you want them to succeed and succeed big. Your not teaching them just the basics of education and you will advance them in areas that they are good at - your home schooling them in hopes that they will be great at something in life. If they came to you and said that school was not their bag and they wanted to be an auto mechanic or truck driver you would have none of it - please keep it real.

I moved to a school district rated 5 stars for my kids - they are going to a school that has sent kids to college for sports (some now Professionals), for smarts and for other abilities/talents as well. I am going to give them every chance to succeed, but within the basic framework created in America. All around them there will be kids going to the Ivy League, getting scholarships to the Big Ten for sports and being accepted into other elite colleges - all of which will push them to be thier best. On top of that and because of my beliefs - I will be hiring a tutor that will teach beyond what the school can/does. But at the end of the day, I am going to allow my children to have their own voice and I will embrace their thoughts even if they conflict with my own.

Seeing how vocal you are on your blog - how forcefull you are in your arguements -- I only wonder how brainwashed your kids might be especially not interacting with people of different views and values. I wonder if your home schooling for them or for you?

Will they be allowed to have their own voice, their own values and beliefs - I wonder.

Jon said...

In case it isn't obvious it doesn't matter what plans I bring to what school systems. I'm not the superintendent and I don't get to say how they are run.

What I can do is home school, and that's what I do. I'm totally putting my money where my mouth is. It's a bit nerve racking to tell you the truth. I'm not exactly 100% confident this is what is best for them. I'm doing the best I know. I'll be happy to tell you how it's going. Over dinner. Not here.

I could be mistaken about this. I think the biggest question mark I have is, are they going to be delayed in their educational development, behind their peers? Possibly. If so I'll have to try and make it right.

You are absolutely wrong about being a mechanic. Couldn't be more wrong. I kid you not, it was no more than three days ago I told my wife that if my son lived in a little RV in the woods with a fishing pole and no job but was happy, I would be happy for him.

I do not agree with the mindset that says we must accumulate, accumulate, accumulate. I do not agree that more money is more happiness. That's not just an opinion. That's what the evidence shows. People do need a certain amount of money below which they are unhappy. Basically you need enough to pay the bills, eat out a bit, maybe take the occasional vacation. Works out to about $60K per year in the US. It varies a bit depending on where you live. Beyond that amount of money happiness does not increase. What's interesting is people perceive they would be happier if they had more money. But the data show that they would not be.

And that's what I want for my kids. Happiness. Not necessarily prestige. If they end up wealthy because they are doing what they love, fine. Nothing wrong with it. But being human is about being creative. Exploring. Learning. Pursuing your own interest. School on a given day for my kids could be nothing more than this. We're going to the library. Do whatever you want.

I may be pushy in an online debate, but I also know that I'm dealing with argumentative people here. People that are interested in some push back. I am very much different with people that aren't interested in arguing with me.

Chad said...

You know I actually believe you - yeah it is easy to be judgemental, but I do believe you.

Truth is I had planned to home school since my first child's birth - now I realize that it is beyond my abilities. Even my wife who has a Master's degree hanging on the wall knows we are out dated by now. I know - for a fact - that I can not give them what they need and that was very hard to admit, but it is the absolute truth. I wish you and your wife the best of luck - it is an amazing sacrifice.

I am in somewhat in an agreement with you about money - it doesn't make happiness. Some of the best days in my life came when I had $5 in my bank account. I think it is what you make of it. Now we can afford a few more things sure, but again some of the best days we have are those days where we never leave the living room. Besides the money and earning more comes with a price - some days/nights I don't get to tuck my kids in bed - sometimes I don't get to see certain things I would like to see. At the same time, I am building or at least trying to build stability for the family long term. Delicate balance, but a good one.

Jon said...

If you ask me I don't think you need anything to home school your kids except a desire to see them succeed and a willingness to act as a sort of guide. It's not like there's certain "latest and greatest" teaching methods that are important. Many of the parents we know that home school have no college degree. My wife has two bachelors degrees, one in education. She says it's totally irrelevant to what she does.

Avoiding public school is motivated by a couple of primary things for me. It's not about what I want to do to my kids. What I'm mainly trying to do is get out of their way. It's what I want to prevent others from doing to my kids. First I don't want my kids to view learning as a chore, like they learn and do their homework for fear of the cracking whip. Passing tests is worth nothing. And second I don't want my kids to be cogs in the capitalist wheel. Dutiful consumers seeking that temporary gratification that comes with the purchase of some new hi-tech device, only to shortly thereafter crave something else. Sinking tons of energy into unimportant efforts like sports. Comfortable with mindless work that is profitable. Accepting of authoritarian structures. That's the express purpose of compulsory education. I do not share the view that this is a worthy purpose for a human life. I want my kids to find their own purpose.

Like I say, you're not talking to someone that is totally confident he's using the right approach. If the are happy adults I will regard myself as having succeeded. If they are unhappy then I will have failed. This is my best guess at a path towards success. Time will tell.

Chad said...

What I find interesting here is that you don't want other people's ideas forced on your children, yet nearly every argument you make forces your ideas on everyone else. In order for health care to work you need 100% participation, for Socialism to work it requires government to have total control.

That is what really scares me about this - your true colors are coming through bright and bold. If you believe your ideas are right shouldn't you be arming your children with knowledge then send them into the world to carry the torch? This sounds like more isolation and fear that your children may like/adopt a believe in conflict with yours versus arming them with the proper tools to not only survive this cruel world, but succeed in it.

I know my opinion is less than mudd to you, but I really hope that you will take a good hard look at this. This is America - Capitalism is boss and frankly it will be long after our grandchildren's grandchildren have left this world - to say that you want to keep anyone away from the "capitalist wheel" is like saying you or I will stay away from the sun.