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12/23/2013

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Terry Freeman

I'm rather nervous whenever I see "public good", since it is usually followed by a method to use force to extract funds and compel participation, which has no real accountability. We've got a wealth of experience which shows that political "accountability" is a pale shadow of the real thing, taking one's child and one's money away from inferior producers - an option not available when government is deeply involved.

It is quite proper to view home education as a natural experiment. One of the most important lessons to be learned is that the traditional structure - 180 days per year, 6 hours per day, times 12 years - is completely and utterly without rational basis. When many home-schooled students are ready for college at age 12 or 14, the "12 year" paradigm is nonsense. When many spend an hour or two or three doing formal study, instead of six plus the time for homework, the traditional method is obviously inefficient. The fundamental idea behind government education is to control the process, including the teachers, with a barrage of intrusive tests. The idea behind home education is to teach to the individual child, wherever the child may be, and to pitch all formal tests except, where mandated, an annual standardized test. What replaces those tests? Micro-tests comprised of a single question or two. Can Johnny read? Ask him to do so. Listen for any problems and provide immediate, targeted advice. Give Johnny lots of time to read, and occasional feedback, and he'll improve. In a similar way, ask a question and listen to how Susan solves math problems. A brief targeted conversation can carry more math content than a week of lectures.

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