This is a picture of a teacher in Providence public schools reading his resignation letter. He teaches second grade, and he’s fed up with the changes schools have made in order to ensure that kids are good test takers. At the end of his letter, what’s clear is that a huge result of test-focused schooling is that the socialization aspects of school are lost; you can’t test socialization, so in a test-based system there is no point in having it.
You can hear the whole resignation letter here. These are the highlights:
1. Kids have no socialization time to reconnect with their friends at the beginning of the day.
2. Kids are starved for socialization by lunchtime, but the cafeteria is too noisy to hear themselves talk.
3. Recess is the best time for socialization. It is only twenty minutes out of the whole day. And, on top of that, teachers use it as a carrot to get kids to behave, and it’s the kids who need recess the most who often get it taken away.
4. Because there’s so much emphasis on prepping for tests, there is no longer time set aside for celebration of birthdays and holidays.
5. There are only five kids in this guy’s class who could hold it together socially and emotionally to face the unbending classroom routine day after day.
Every parent I talk to who reads my blog and has their kid in school tells me they have the kid in school because of socialization. I don’t believe it anymore. It’s absurd that homeschoolers talk to people of all ages, all day long, and kids in school have to listen to a teacher all day long. I simply don’t believe that the real barrier to parents doing homeschooling is loss of socialization. I think it’s fear of being home with kids all day.
But if you focus on the fear you really have, the barriers that are really there for you, then you can make better decisions for your kids. It’s fine if you are too scared to homeschool. I was one of those people too. But don’t make it about socialization. It’s just not even a contest: homeschooling is better for socialization because parents value it so much and schools don’t.