Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Why Don't Students Like School?

Here's an article from Psychology Today that is sure to ruffle some feathers. Peter Gray tackles the question "Why Don't Students Like School?" Since he is a professor at Boston College, a specialist in developmental and evolutionary psychology, and a textbook author, his opinion probably carries more weight in academic circles than the opinion of a homeschooling parent like myself, but I have a feeling that the educational big whigs aren't going to appreciate the commentary in any case. Gray says the answer is, "well duhhh" that children like freedom, and no matter how fun you try to make it, or how normal it seems to do, or how much it is for their own good, the majority of kids have no choice whatsoever in school.

Now, not all schools are created equal, and I know some kids enjoy their time at their institution, but I guess that is the big difference right there; they want to be there, and would choose to be if they had a choice. I also think that sometimes when people get so used to having their days organized by someone else, that they lose track of what to do with themselves, and fall into the "I'm bored" trap. With all the access that most Americans have to books, games, computers, crafts, and a million other things, it isn't usually a lack of things to do, but a case of lost initiative. In any case, I'd say a whole lotta kids don't have either the desire or the choice about school.

It makes me glad for the big batch of freedom my offspring have in our mostly happy homeschool. They seem to value it too. They like their free time, and the flexibility in what they do with it.

I'll be interested to hear what other people with kids both in and out of traditional school think about it.