One reason we home educate is because the student-teacher ratio is phenomenal with an extra helping of awesome. The goal is to provide an awesome foundation from which our daughter can grow to become an extraordinarily competent individual who can independently improve, achieve, and create value anywhere in the world. In other words, how can we assist our daughter in realizing her full potential as a human being? Notice how these questions don’t say anything about being a “good student.” The goal is not to be a good student. The goal is to become an effective human being.
One On One
A low student-teacher ratio helps an individual advance at his or her own pace. It also increases their ability to be a successful autodidact. A great student-teacher ratio allows for quick adjustment and/or replacement of ineffective teaching methods and curricula. This means the concept of “falling behind” doesn’t apply because any measurement of ability, progress, and achievement is from one person only. It’s difficult to fall behind yourself. You move on when ready and this eliminates wasted time and stress worrying about falling behind others. It also creates more effective focus on the study material while encouraging continued advancement.
Moving Towards Effective
Prior to home educating, I only accepted the traditional school system option even though it was clear its design does not effectively adapt, adjust, or accommodate individual students with unique learning styles. The traditional school system is for large numbers of students and a mass production of education. This means lowering the ability to achieve high and effective levels of individualization.
As a comparison, would you rather receive customer service from a local mom and pop store or the call center of a multi-national conglomerate who doesn’t really need your business? Would you rather be educated in an environment created and adapted specifically for your learning style or in an environment where the goal is mass “advancement” of students?
Evaluating The “Norm”
Somehow, people were convinced the best learning environment for children only exists where kids are forcibly placed together. Then, the kids are told to sit still in large groups according to age with a sub-par student-teacher ratio. One only has to ask how easy it is for a student to adjust or have influence on their schedule and how things are done.
In these environments, individual identity, individual capability, individual freedom, and individual expression are sacrificed in favor of group advancement, group restrictions, group rules, and group expectations. This leads to control of students’ movement, thought, and output; a prioritization of group identity over self-identity. A group identity is great if it’s built on a solid foundation of individuals with strong self-identities. The aim is to move from dependence to independence to interdependence. You can read more here about the three stages of wisdom. Developing a strong, independent self-identity does not involve a constant state of group and peer dependence.
Mass Production Realities
Learning in large groups often represses the abilities of capable students as it rushes forward not so capable students. Individuality disappears as the goal ends up being “pass” and “advance” as many students as possible to keep production moving. This is the perfect formula for a “What do I need to pass the test?” outlook instead of a “What do I need to kick butt in life?” mindset. We lower expectations to guarantee the greatest number of students “moves forward”. At the end, the goal is not to help kids achieve their true potential but to “pass” as many kids as possible.
These are my opinions and thoughts why an individualized learning environment is superior to a mass produced, group-oriented education. My arguments may or may not persuade you and I look forward to constructive feedback. Although difficult at times, I am striving to listen to opposing opinions, hopefully backed up by logic and reason.
In Motion to Improve, Achieve, and Create Value
P.S. If you have the energy to go a bit further, check out the four YouTube videos below which I believe are well worth your time and energy.
By Dr. Duke Pesta: