Wednesday, August 24, 2011
You Run Faster When There's Other People In The Race
As I've mentioned before, well-meaning persons often worry aloud that our home-schooled children will not be "socialized." They do not know what they mean.
They know what that used to mean, and so cling to the formulation. Children used to be thrown together, and would learn this and that by observing others and comparing themselves to what they saw. A natural kind of competition springs up and children test themselves against others over and over. This is all dead as a Pharoah.
Children are now thrown together to inure them to being thrown together, forevermore, among a group of persons that must not in any way compete with one another. They must remain passive, or they will be made so by discipline or a trip down pharmaceutical lane. By never being allowed to test themselves against others, and ratcheting their efforts up to match what they've seen from others, they never reach their full potential.
I have run in footraces. Longer than that one in the video. You run faster in a race than you do in practice. The other people spur you on. Cheerleaders don't. It's an interesting and exhilarating phenomenon.
We had a child in our home to visit. He described a class he had in school. The teacher was dyslexic. No one was allowed to "notice" that the teacher was dyslexic for fear of ferocious consequences. Since the teacher was chalking mathematical equations on the board with the integers and letters scrambled, the children found themselves adrift as to what to do, but they knew better than to say anything about it. Egalitarianism is often an interesting thing in practice.
The child that told us this is a perfectly intelligent and well-adjusted kid, and I questioned him closely about this because it seemed so fantastic, but I was ultimately convinced that he was telling the truth. I also noticed that he looked both ways, furtively, before speaking, as if someone would overhear what was said, even though it was said in a place that no one with any connection to the school could possibly be. I recognized it as the unconscious cringe of the beat dog when the paperboy makes a delivery.
So maybe I'm wrong, and nothing much has changed. Children are all still thrown together for their own good, to test their mettle among a crowd of their peers -- but it's now a race now to see who can walk backwards the slowest. The trophy doesn't shine, but at least it doesn't have any sharp edges.