Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Better Late Than Early - an unschooling book
Have you ever borrowed a book from a friend or the library and then proceeded to go out and buy a copy because you had to own it, and scribble on it, and make notes and markings because the information in it is so valuable? Well, I'm reading such a book which I borrowed from the library and I just proceeded to order a used copy for myself from Abe Books, not from Amazon this time. The prices on Amazon ranged from $25 to $150. I got it for less than $10 on Abe, including shipping. Abe books searches all used copies for sale on the net, lists them, and the buyer chooses the seller. The book was published in 1975 and is now out-of-print.
Better Late Than Early was written by Dr. Raymond and Dorothy Moore. I'm loving reading this book. It reveals the history of preschools/day care, investigates early education studies, and cautions against current schooling practices. In the book, the authors repetitively insist that formal schooling for "normal" children should not begin before the age of 8, the "age of reason." The book makes very strong arguments against early schooling and premature institutionalization of children before they reach that critical developmental stage. We learn in the book that pre-schools were initially only meant for the underprivileged, and later became a mainstream practice due to social and political pressures.
According to Moore, "children thrive better in bad homes than in good institutions."
I couldn't agree moore.
I always said that the best service government can provide to working American mothers is not the funding of more day care and monetary handouts, but instead pay mothers (or fathers) to stay home with their kids for a couple of years or so. The results would be far better for the children, for our society, and a much better return on investment on the welfare tax dollar.
It's so refreshing to see that Moore agrees, and backs up this rationale with research-based evidence. "Certainly, the public should have concern for children, but we definitely feel that more effort and money should be directed toward helping parents in the home, rather than bringing children to school."
The authors provide a common-sense reasoning for delayed schooling using their own experience and a multitude of studies that contradict today's early child education practices, which are being enforced in our society with no scientific backing at all. The Moores do believe that in some cases, early schooling is an appropriate and reasonable choice for some special children. But for most average children, they say this is not the case. And if such schools were absolutely necessary, they should very closely mirror the home, with similar adult relationships, rooms, and chores. The teacher's role would resemble that of a surrogate parent, not a rules enforcer and test-giver. Children would have the same teacher for 3 or 4 years. The primary job of the teacher would be to love the child, care for them, play with them, and teach them age-appropriate day to day home skills and self care.
This is my dream school--a home school away from home for children under 8. A place for gentle guided growth, not an academic wireless zombie-zone.
So, I need to own this book because it carries many of the principles which my future school will be founded upon.
Stay tuned...to the school revolution.