Social Behavior as construed in a school

Posted On September 14, 2008

Filed under Why Homeschool

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“And when Maxine confronted the teacher directly, shouting in class and drowning her out, she was punished in some routine way and was again deprived of the individual response which would have meant much to her…

This last sentence is worth thinking about. What are these routine punishments? A teacher might only say something like “We don’t do that kind of thing here.” More likely there would be demerits, or stayins after school, or trips to the principal’s office. In all of these the point is that the child is made to feel, not that he has annoyed real people by breaking into a real conversation, but only that he has broken some rule, interrupted the working of the organization. What comes from the teacher is not a protest, not a personal cry of outrage “Maxine, why do you have to interrupt all the time when I’m talking?” but only orders, threats, punishments.

From a personal response Maxine might learn many things: that people can and do talk seriously to each other, that their talk means something and is important to them, that they can feel it as an attack – as indeed it is – if someone tries to stop them from talking. But in a regular school there is no such real talk. The teacher talks about what is in the curriculum or lesson plan; the children play – or perhaps refuse to play – whatever parts are set out for them.

I have never seen more true mean spiritedness among children than when they were in a school and a class in which adults tried to prevent or, if they could no prevent, to selttle all their quarrels. Nothing was ever trully worked out, settled, finished.”

(What Do I Do Monday by John Holt pg 49-51)

I have often thought, the one drawback to homeschool, is not learning to sit still and listen. Not following all the rules. I didn’t think about how construed those rules are. They learn rules of social behavior from real interactions. They learn to sit and listen in Primary, and even when mom is working with sister. Day after monotonous day of school lectures is never recreated outside of school. You are more likely to get a boss who reacts like mom, than like your school marm. Kids must be left as kids in order to actually socialize.