Life education beats the smarm

Scott explains how children can learn much more of life while out of school.

Readership: All; Parents;

Author’s Note: This comment deserved its own post.  I thought it might bring a smile to the faces of this crowd.  Cut and pasted from my FB page on 2020 April 20.

Academics are important. We must learn to communicate in the languages of literature, mathematics and science so that we can interact with each other and the world around us. We must be able to articulate and describe what we have found in the natural world to each other and future generations. Formal education enables us to think clearly about difficult problems. But these are mere tools for communicating ideas and processes. There is more to learn, and this learning can be obtained in different ways.

A lot of children are stuck indoors as a result of the COVID-19 quarantine.  Even if they study online, you might think children aren’t learning as much while they are out of school.  But this is not necessarily true.  Children’s brains are naturally wired to learn, and they will learn things no matter where they are, or what they’re doing.

Since I have my own ranch way out in the sticks, I don’t have to worry too much about either getting sick, or having any Karen-like neighbor blow the whistle on me for breaking whatever quarantine is in effect.  I’m really thankful for that.

Mychael is in Great Falls this weekend, as she is every weekend, working in the ER.

ljubomir farm goatThis morning, I went out to feed the animals and I noticed that several goats had managed to push the gate open because someone did not close it the way I require them to.

AND there were three new baby goats in the pasture!

So, I went back up to the house, told the kids to get dressed and come help me.  We needed to get all the goats back into the corral without letting the others escape.  This takes planning, tactics and strategy — and a little physical exertion (PE!).  If you have ever tried to catch goats, you’ll understand.

Then, we had to fix the damage to the gate.  Because of the way the gate is constructed, this involved a geometry lesson and an explanation of the leverage required to keep it shut.  So, this gave me an opportunity to talk to them about geometry and physics, and how to use their brain.

After the goats were caught and the gate was repaired, we rolled back to the ranch with all of us on the four-wheeler, including the three baby goats and the momma.  So I got to explain how automatic transmissions work.

One of the hydrants had siphoned some water back into the hose that leads to the goat water tank.  This was in danger of freezing if the weather gets too cold tonight, and this would break the weep valve buried 8 feet below the ground.  I got to explain materials science to them as well.

Kenna already knew what to do once we got the goats into the barn, because she is a farm girl.  The farrier showed up a little early and Kenna and Aleks got to learn about equine feet and why it is so important to keep them trimmed and healthy.

Later, we loaded up the trash into my truck because we have to haul our own trash out of these backwoods, and the kids asked me how the trash guy knows how much and whom to charge by weight for what I am dropping off.  Since the transfer station does not have a scale like the main dump does, and I have a dump permit with a client number assigned to me, I explained how he estimates the weight of the trash and uses the tag as a reference for billing, something I pay yearly.  So there’s a lesson in estimating and a little about economics.

Driving back from the transfer station we talked about many things, including how road grades work, why the stream is probably going to be low this year, and the fire risk for this summer.

We also talked about how we might level the round pen and fill it with sand so the horses can have a better surface to train on.  This involved calculating the area of a circle, by the way.  We also discussed where to get filler sand, and how much we would need to buy, what equipment would be needed to do the job, and how many hours of work it would take.

This stuff goes on all day when you have 15 acres, goats, horses, chickens, ducks, dogs, cats, and a donkey.  It never ends.

At the end of the day, when I finally sit down to check my email, I get a bazillion nasty messages from teachers about missing assignments, missing test scores, and missing vocabulary words.  I just grin to myself sheepishly.  My kids know more about the how the world works because of the life I am giving them, than they can learn by being forced to sit still and be lectured for 6 hours.

There’s a part of me that wants to write them back and ask, “What the ћәll do you think we have been doing all day?”  Mychael has a hotter temper than me, so I’ll let her do that.

It’s not that I don’t value classical education.  I have a Ph.D.  My wife is an RN.  We believe education is important.  But in general, the educator class – obsessed with credentials and certificates – is full of themselves and in panic mode.  Not to mention the fact that a person can pour out tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars while earning a degree that in no way guarantees success or future earning potential.


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15 Responses to Life education beats the smarm

  1. Elspeth says:

    One quibble with Scott:

    What happens in most schools is not “classical education”. It’s formal<//i> education or traditional education, but it’s not classical. You can find a long, drawn-out explanation here, but one of the hallmarks of classical education is that esteems the western tradition as worthy of continuation even as it acknowledges others.

    we are trying to give our kids a classical education, with an emphasis on the Christian tradition. we have no idea what we’re doing, so we pay for help. We hope it sticks, 🙂

    Overall, I agree with you. There is a lot of learning that takes place outside of the formal classroom. And much of it is missed precisely because we insist that kids spend all of their days at a desk, then come home and do lots of homework besides. We don’t even live on a ranch in the sticks and we’ve experienced and learned a lot more about nature through observation than normal. Just by being at home more.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. JPF says:

    Out of 2 years of my (post-secondary) diploma for my field…. Well, I skipped about 25% of the classes. I was allowed to skip those classes because they were not actually needed and/or they were generic enough that other classes I took covered the requirement.
    I am grateful that the program director was honest enough to admit that I did not need to take them. He could have refused that. In fact, as I recall, he was the one to volunteer that I did not need to take them. He was a man, and about 60 years old; maybe he had better ethics due to being from another generation.

    Of the remaining 75% of classes that I took, I remember 7 (35% of the total for 2 years) being useful. The remainder of the classes were filler that had some very limited value; should have been reduced to a few lectures.

    And the K-12 years were worse. What a waste of time. Parents should be allowed to do English, Math, plus half of the science and social studies assignments with their children, and skip the rest.
    I say half of the science and social studies, because from grades 1 to 9 those were mostly time-fillers for the teachers. An excuse to employ teachers, rather than useful.
    And there is no way that a solid grounding in English grammar and literature should take 12 years.

    I work in a STEM job, and I still think grade 1 to 8 science was of little value. And I ignored the teacher at least 75% of the time in math class, because there was so much “assignment work time” and the lectures were so slow.
    Allowing governments to interfere in a father’s authority over his family by forcing government-approved schooling from ages 6 to 16 was a mistake.


  3. larryzb says:

    Children can and do learn so much outside of the class room. Parents need to take an active role here and not simply think the schools are doing a good job. The anti-Christian indoctrination in many public school systems is deeply troubling and is more widespread than most people realize. Higher education today stateside is largely indoctrination. The schools are not striving to help students develop critical and independent thinking skills, and that bodes ill for the future of society in the Western world.


  4. lastmod says:

    My mother was a RN. She didn’t learn these skills by taking walks in the woods, and being read to at home. Now, I will assume the posters and authors of this forum are near geniuses and experts on everything. Nor did I write mechanical manuals for IBM by having my father taking me camping / hiking as a teenager. Nor did I copyright two patents because I was read to at home as a boy, nor because my parents made me take piano lessons.

    Then take your kids out of school. Home school them. Problem solved and tempers don’t need to flare.


    • JPF says:

      There is a difference between the base-level education given to children, and the specialist education that is (or should be) given in a university.
      Your mother’s RN degree is a good example. It would be unreasonable for me to expect she could have received that specialized, in-depth training, in a school with 1000 other students, only 5 of whom wanted to go into nursing. She needed a program that accepted only nurse wannabes, with the training focused on the appropriate area.
      For example, I strongly suspect that I know less than 1% of her specialized knowledge — despite my twenty years of formal education. I hope she knows at least 100 times as much as I do about medicine. And this is fine. I do not expect my high school to put me on the same level as your mother (in medicine).

      Being able to add, subtract, multiple, speak English correctly, and correctly name the states and something about their various populations or industries are all general knowledge however. (Or should be general knowledge.) There is no reason to think that a father who has successfully passed grade 12 English, math, science and Social Studies cannot teach his children at least up to grade 9. The stuff taught up to grade 10 is just not that hard.

      But you are correct; if a person does not want their children exposed to the cesspool in the public schools, they can choose to home school. Unless they would rather make money and then whine about how other people are raising their own children…

      Not sure where your comment about tempers flaring comes from; I don’t see it.


  5. lastmod says:


    Scott said this in the post:

    “It’s not that I don’t value classical education. I have a Ph.D. My wife is an RN. We believe education is important. But in general, the educator class – obsessed with credentials and certificates – is full of themselves and in panic mode.”

    Then you went on to tell me there is a difference in base-level education and university leve. Which there is. I’m not that stupid.

    As for tempser flaring, read the post

    “There’s a part of me that wants to write them back and ask, “What the ћәll do you think we have been doing all day?” Mychael has a hotter temper than me, so I’ll let her do that.”

    WHat have you been doing all day? Your wife is working as a RN, and you are working as a PHD in the psycholoy field.

    Teaching your children at home is expected. The educator class, flawed as it is would be getting more flack if they were not doing anything. They can’t win.


  6. SFC Ton says:

    Public education is for dumbasses who can’t figure out how to make money; sheeple who don’t have the balls to be free; the fully indoctrinated and kids with shitty parents who don’t care about their childern


  7. lastmod says:

    SFC Ton.

    I was trained to be aschoolteacher, in the lower grades (k-6) my undergrad trak is a BS in elementary ed / special ed. Teaching is a tough job mostly because of people like you who make like comments like you did in the above post.

    Men in the chritsian world want men to lead. I was a Dodo of an exception in a elementary school classroom. A man teaching young children. Men like yourself view this as unmaly. Rollo would have some chart and dianetics explaining why this is bad and indirectly some for of female societal shit test that I failed……..and Roosh in his pre Orthodox days would have viewed me as a lesser man for being a field like this, or a lesser man for not banging my female collegues in the supply closet at lunch… in his bowing to icons christianity he would just view me as an inferior man.

    Fortunately I also went to a strong backed liberal-arts college and had options when I left the teaching field after a year to get into a half-decent graduate school. Actually a pretty decent polytechnic.

    Good teachers usually leave the teaching field. Bad teachers stay, and there are some teachers who probably were decent at one time……but you know….it became a “job” and nothing they did made a difference. Someone was always upset at them (people like you). Can’t beat em join em thing….got onl;y six years til retirement / pension thing or having that mentality.

    I was never an A student…well, in social studies / history……I wasn’t top of the class, nor the bottom. I made the honor roll or high honor roll here and there……..and sometimes, the best grade I could get with all the studying and extra help was a C (calculus). I thank my high school math teacher Mr. Gorga because he knew it was hard for me, but he still pushed me in this class.

    And besides……….you teach a class of 30 hormone raging boys higher end math like calculus….keeping order, and getting them to pass the NYS Regents Exam. Hardly a dumbass of a teacher


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