It's that time of year again.. time for the annual Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee
In Canada, we can watch the proceedings on one of our cable sports networks, "TSN". In the 'States, it's on ESPN, also a sports network.
They broadcast poker tournaments and dog shows, (not to mention golf) so why not spelling bees...
I've managed to catch a few minutes of it over the years, and am always struck by the deer-in-the-headlights look in the students' eyes. They are terrified; perhaps it's because of the TV cameras, or perhaps it's the pressure of being in the finals.. or both. To make things worse, by the time they reach the finals, they aren't using real words anymore. Apotropaic?? Propaedeutic?? Please.
This news report says that the top three finalists were all home-schooled. Home schooling is something I don't understand. I'm not saying it's wrong or bad (necessarily), just that I don't understand it.
Yes, good schools are hard to find. Yes, public schools have their limitations and in some areas are completely unacceptable. Private schools are often prohibitively expensive and in many cases aren't much better, scholastically and especially socially. Still, I don't see home schooling as a generally viable option.
How many parents have the time and patience to devote to this undertaking? How many children will accept their parents acting as their teachers as well? What about socialization? After-school activities are not a substitute for learning to spend hours away from home and away from parental involvement. Home schooling belongs to the "real world" even less than conventional schools.
It just seems to me that there's more to life than good grades, cramming a child's head with information, and winning spelling bees.
Linque Du Jour: from the "Just Plain Weird" file:
Then again, perhaps home schooling could have helped this guy..