Thursday, October 13, 2011
The Kids Are Playing Rock Band Right Now, And The Bigger One Is Using A Real Guitar
My wife and I go out for a walk at lunchtime sometimes. First I eat at the computer while working a little on emails and such, then I give my young son a drum lesson as part of his schooling, and if it's not raining we walk around the neighborhood for fifteen minutes. The time together is one of those precious mundane things you don't appreciate until they're gone, I imagine.
We homeschool our two children. Mostly my wife does, I mean. I give them music lessons. I'm having trouble with the drum lessons for the little fellow. It sometimes takes me longer to demonstrate the sticking in the first place than it does for him to execute it. He has a tendency to look all around the room while I'm trying to figure it out, and I scold him for not paying attention but then he sits down and plays it, first time, to make me feel silly.
Our computers are a joke. The little one's runs Windows 98 and isn't Intertunnel connected. Mine's an ancient Pentium running XP. It can't run a YouTube video on hi-def without the video card seizing up like a defendant with a light pointed at them. But it has Intertunnel so he's always keen to get a crack at it. All the children in the public school are given an expensive Apple laptop that is completely useless for any sort of real work, and simply use it to update their Facebook pages and play games while they're in class. We'd kill for a laptop, but since we save the town around twenty-two large by keeping our kids home we get nothing.
When we returned from our walk yesterday, this was on my screen, drawn in MS Paint:
I went and asked him about it. He was building a model of it with K'Nex plastic dross, and explained it to me. Ten protons gives it its atomic number, dad.
I'd bookmarked a Khan Academy website, thinking my older son might be able to use it. But my younger son sneaks into my office when I'm out or at the tablesaw, and he's watched at least four of the chemistry lectures. They're college courses. He's eight.
Little boys like to know things about the way the world works. They like lists. They like dinosaurs and atoms and planets and Lego sets and army men, and man do six-year-olds like lists of presidents.
There are lots of videos on YouTube of people who think their kids are geniuses because they've memorized something. The education and rearing of children has become so degraded and mysterious that people don't even recognize what comes naturally to children, especially male children, anymore. You have to beat the love of learning out of children. This has been totally accomplished, at least as far as boys are concerned in the public schools.
I couldn't sleep the other night, and went back to the desk at 1:30AM to write a little. I heard my older son murmuring, through the floor, up in his room. His friend had Skyped him for help with his Physics homework. Our son had already finished all his schoolwork for the next morning -- he does it at night the day before it's assigned almost without exception -- but his friend will be rousted out of bed like a vagrant and put on a bus a few hours after I heard them. He's just as bright as my son, but his teacher has dyslexia and can't explain anything properly to him. Nothing can trump social engineering in public school.
Mark my words. There is a day coming. It is not on the horizon yet, but it is not far over it. Prospective employers are going to look at your children's resume, and if it refers to any sort of "public school" on it, they're going to roundfile it without hesitation, and they're going to call HR and ask them to find another homeschooled kid. Maybe they'll settle for an expensive privately schooled kid if there's no "non-socialized" kids available.