KBCraig on January 03, 2011, 03:17:13 am
If I had to guess, schooling would be primarily home schooling. So far, home schooling not only kicks government school ass, but private school ass as well. Of course, you might hire a math specialist to teach mathematics to Barbie ("Math is hard!" says Barbie), but concerned parents and the internet will be the cornerstone to superior education.

A basic elementary education, as it was known until the late 19th Century in America, can be adequately taught at home by any parents who are functionally literate and numerate.

I used to compare the Jethro Bodine "Sixth Grade Edjumecation!" to a modern High School diploma, until the latter proved insufficient by comparison.

I consider all of the following equivalent levels of general education:

1890: Sixth grade
1940: Eighth grade
1970: Twelfth grade, high school diploma
1990: College, BA/BS degree

And after that, it breaks down completely, simply because many current BA/BS and even MA/MS diplomates lack the literacy and numeracy (not to mention knowledge of history, language, and rhetoric), that would be required for a Sixth grade diploma from a one-room schoolhouse on the American prairie just 120 year ago.


Quote
Plus, check this out:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704584804575645070639938954.html

Thanks very much for that link. I recall his original self-learning project, where he placed internet kiosks in the back country of India, in regions that had never seen television, let alone computers. When he came back weeks later, the children had mostly mastered the internet, and were hungry for more.

We are home schoolers. Our oldest four (two hers, two mine) mostly suffered through public schools, but when Little Mister Honeymoon Surprise came along (9 months, 1 day after the wedding; 8 years after his youngest sibling), we vowed we would not subject him to that. Literally from the day he was born (and sometimes even before then), he was read to by parents or older siblings. At Age Two, he knew his alphabet; by Three, he was reading on his own.

He turned 8 in November.

This (Sunday) evening when I called from work to check on things at home, my wife had to cut me short, because LMHS had been poring through my collegiate dictionary, and had questions. Among other things, he had recited to her the Popes Innocent; since we're not Roman Catholic, I was only vaguely aware that there hadn been a Pope Innocent, but he listed all 13 from memory, using their Latin names.

This is the same kid who doesn't get to use the computer himself, although we do allow him to read certain pages or articles. Just the day before, he asked me which month the War of 1812 started. I didn't know off-hand, so I pulled up the Wikipedia article, then promptly got scooted out of my computer chair while he read the entire article. Not just once, but over and over. He used my Apple Magic Mouse to scroll through the article, but never clicked any links. Three hours later, I had to give him the boot. It only took him 15-20 minutes to read the article straight through, but he had to go back and really absorb it.

Same kid, within the previous week, saw the year 1880 on some television program. "1880? Cool! That was just 4 years before Eleanor Roosevelt was born!" Wait... WTF? I can understand a kid who loves history learning the presidents, but knowing the year a particular first lady was born, and pulling that up out of context, only related to a similar date?

We are educated people, but at this point we're just trying to keep up and provide enough materical to feed his autodidactic hunger, until we can turn him loose at an institute of higher learning. By that time we'll be living in New Hampshire, and thankfully Dartmouth has a full scholarship program for anyone who can meet their academic standards. His big sister might have to go with him, because I doubt he'll be driving by the time he's ready for college.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2011, 03:19:54 am by KBCraig »

terry_freeman on January 03, 2011, 08:41:04 am
Yes, I agree - autodidactic learning will become the prominent method. People - including children - will seek out information and mentors. Parents will share what they know.

If you can find a copy of Ben Franklin's Autobiography, it is an interesting read. Ben had just two years of formal schooling. Somewhere around the age of 10 or 12, Ben's father took him around to see various people engaged in their trades, to enable Ben to choose "what to do when I grow up" - which is to say, at the age of 12 or so.

The Autobiography relates a sea voyage to Britain, where Ben carried a large sum of money which was owed to someone in Britain. Ben, acting as an agent of the debtor, was only 17 years old at the time.

Ben taught himself languages, mathematics, science, and rhetoric. He organized study groups of like-minded autodidacts.

mellyrn on January 03, 2011, 11:20:39 am
While homeschooling my own, we looked into Sumerian history.  They made zillions of clay-tablet letters, many of them still familiar (a daughter sent off to a priestess school writing home to ask for more money, for example).

The descriptions of schools and schooling floored me.  A boy would be wakened by his mom, who handed him his packed lunch.  He went to the school building, where he sat in rows on benches facing the teacher at the front of the class.  The teacher presented the day's lesson, and the boy went home to do his homework.

A poem preserved from them describes a boy struggling to do well, who decides to invite his teacher home for dinner -- sort of the Sumerian version of bringing an apple, apparently.

"Modern" classrooms are still pretty archaic, hey?

My dream school consists of a community of people all doing whatever it is they do, who accept that kids will be barging in and out, observing, asking questions, wanting to help.  A "teacher" -- more like a 'childherd', I guess -- would be handy for those adults who are less kid-friendly or -competent, or who just have their hands full when the student arrives.  The childherd could also facilitate student discussions on why Sov. Businessman was doing what he did the way he did, or its implications to society, or whatever the kids were intrigued by.

St Johns College in Annapolis has this structure to their classes:  the students read the assigned reading (so they're all talking about the same thing) beforehand; when they come to class, the tutor poses "the opening question".  The tutor may have read the material for the first time himself just the night before, and all the tutors facilitate (as opposed to "teach") all the classes sooner or later.  The "opening question" may be anything. 

It launches a discussion and, since the students in one class are necessarily not the same as the students in another class doing the same reading, each discussion will be unique.   All students have the same curriculum; there are no "majors".  All three of mine went to St Johns; no two of them got the same education -- save that they all reeeally learned critical thinking.

Parents' Day, we got a chance to experience it.  Mine was a geometry class and the reading had been the first chapter of Euclid's original work (St Johns teaches from original sources), so we were discussing what was a 'point', a 'line' and so on.  It was terribly funny -- 'discussion'?  Hah!  We almost came to blows as some insisted that a line is a row of points, like a string of pearls, and others were equally vehement that, since a point has no dimensionality, no amount of them could "add up" to a line.  Hee.

quadibloc on January 03, 2011, 08:36:29 pm
We almost came to blows as some insisted that a line is a row of points, like a string of pearls, and others were equally vehement that, since a point has no dimensionality, no amount of them could "add up" to a line.
This is what's wrong with the school system these days. They stick teachers up in front of a class who don't understand enough about the subject they're teaching to answer the kids' questions.

Since a point has no dimensionality, it is impossible to build a line from a finite number of points, or even a collection of points with cardinality aleph-null (that is, an infinite number of points that can be placed in one-to-one correspondence with the integers or the counting numbers). But a line indeed does consist of points and nothing but - however, a much larger number of points, having the cardinality of the continuum.

And then the teacher explains Cantor's diagonal proof.

mellyrn on January 04, 2011, 06:53:31 am
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This is what's wrong with the school system these days. They stick teachers up in front of a class who don't understand enough about the subject they're teaching to answer the kids' questions.

And that's the beauty of St Johns, where the whole point is to referee the students' own exploration (not only of the problem at hand, but how to communicate with their fellow students).  Had we been actual students, there for multiple classes, we would have progressed beyond that initial brawl.

Plane on January 04, 2011, 09:11:02 pm
We almost came to blows as some insisted that a line is a row of points, like a string of pearls, and others were equally vehement that, since a point has no dimensionality, no amount of them could "add up" to a line.
This is what's wrong with the school system these days. They stick teachers up in front of a class who don't understand enough about the subject they're teaching to answer the kids' questions.

Since a point has no dimensionality, it is impossible to build a line from a finite number of points, or even a collection of points with cardinality aleph-null (that is, an infinite number of points that can be placed in one-to-one correspondence with the integers or the counting numbers). But a line indeed does consist of points and nothing but - however, a much larger number of points, having the cardinality of the continuum.

And then the teacher explains Cantor's diagonal proof.



I think of a line as a set of points.

Two described points define a line , there will only be one straight line that shares these two points as described.
All the rest of the points that are on the line are members of a set described when the line is defined. This is an infinate number of points all of the points in this set can be described as belonging to this line and haveing a magnitude of distance from one of the points that are used to describe the line.

NeitherRuleNorBeRuled on January 04, 2011, 09:26:02 pm
Since a point has no dimensionality, it is impossible to build a line from a finite number of points, or even a collection of points with cardinality aleph-null (that is, an infinite number of points that can be placed in one-to-one correspondence with the integers or the counting numbers). But a line indeed does consist of points and nothing but - however, a much larger number of points, having the cardinality of the continuum.

And then the teacher explains Cantor's diagonal proof.

I think of a line as a set of points.

Two described points define a line , there will only be one straight line that shares these two points as described.
All the rest of the points that are on the line are members of a set described when the line is defined. This is an infinate number of points all of the points in this set can be described as belonging to this line and haveing a magnitude of distance from one of the points that are used to describe the line.

More precisely, as quadibloc indicates, an uncountably infinite set.  That's where Cantor's work comes in, since he discovered and proved that some infinities are bigger than other infinities. :o

 

anything