Friday, December 15, 2006

Golly, Moses, naturally we're punks ...

I think West Side Story got it slightly wrong. I'm developing a theory that it's not that mothers may be junkies or that fathers may be drunks which ails society so. Those are problems, sure, but I'm beginning to wonder whether the root of certain problems lie in school.

Yes, it's easy to blame schools - but by the same token it's easy to blame parents, too. Let me explain.

Since we've home-educated our kids, I've noticed a few things. Their behaviour is different - towards us and towards each other. When they were in school, they had begun to follow the pack mentality that pervades such places. Their self-esteem was driven by how high or low their ranking was within the herd. Their attitude and approach to life followed suit. My eldest son had pronounced communication difficulties and whilst he had good friends, got picked on by kids and staff alike. Just before we deregistered him from school, he had started to say things like "I'm a bad person" and "they don't want me in school". Within a fortnight of leaving school he had started to gain some confidence in himself; he walked taller and spoke more clearly.

I now realise that a major cause of disaffected youth is school. Not school per se, but the abnormally high concentrations of almost uncontrolled children. This arrangement is so divorced from what I'd call "normal family life" that it has a detrimental affect on those involved. I've known since I was at school that the stress makes teachers ill. Now I see that it also affects the children. Without the family structure, kids become anti-social. It's the Lord of the Flies thing: releasing the "beast within". I'm particularly interested to see that small schools we've seen recently (say 100 pupils over four or five years) do not exhibit the same problems.

That's it, really. I'm unsure what the solution is, but the problem is the abnormally large groups of unparented children at school. Maybe we should all home-educate ...


Stray Taoist said...

Hmm, I disagree. Somewhat.

See, it is easy to blame the parents. Easy to blame the school. Some will even blame society. Some (rightly) blame soft-left-ism and statism.

But as in everything, it is more complex than that. Or is it? OR IS IT?

No, it isn't. Having observed this culture for a while (thankfully not much of it in the schools round our way, the ones my progeny go to are both excellent.) I have come to the same conclusion as Gary Clail and his On-U Sound System from the early 90s discotechque era of my life.

There is something wrong with human nature. Or, more specifically, there is something wrong with the core of British culture. Highest teenage drinkers and shaggers, worst drugs and booze problems, most CCTV-ed place in Europe, and so it goes on.

Remove their free will! Oh, hang on:

I do think it is a national disease. So we end up doing the best for *our* children, as we are good middleclass parents striving in a world that is against us. Rah! Smash the state!

Henry Cate said...

"Maybe we should all home-educate ..."

With homeschooling growing around 10% a year it will take awhile. My guess is homeschooling will climb to at least 20% in the next twenty years. After that it largely depends on if public schools get worse and what kinds of laws get passed.