What strikes me about the conversation on my post about Cave of the Mounds is how all conversations about homeschooling seem to lead back to the argument over the well-rounded kid.
I feel that I have provided tons of conclusive evidence that the very people who supposedly promote well-roundedness—the academics—are selecting for specialists rather than well-rounded, so the idea that we value well-roundedness in education is largely a myth, propagated by people who fail to specialize and want to justify it. For many reasons, aiming for well-roundedness is useless in today’s world.
The very idea of well-rounded presupposes that we have an agreed-upon set of ideas that create a well-rounded person. I think that went out of fashion when Allan Bloom went out of fashion. (He’s an incredibly annoying cheerleader for the white male canon.)
Anyway, Daniel Baskin, someone who has routinely great comments on this blog and sends routinely great emails to me, sent me this link about how Finland educates their kids. And it strikes me that Finland can do so much more with their students because the students are relatively homogenous: Finland’s no melting pot.
Well-rounded requires a common culture, and a common culture requires a stagnant population, not the continuous influx from other cultures we experience in the US.
So the idea of a well-rounded education is just so inappropriate for the US that I can’t believe we are still talking about it. And it’s revealing that the discussion is among people who did not go to high-end schools, where the idea of well-roundedness is long past. The people who did not succeed wildly in academia are telling everyone how to succeed in academia. It’s absurd.
Well-roundedness is dead. Long-live inquisitiveness.