Home and Rural Schooling – Is It the Answer?

The current Pandemic is incredibly brutal and deadly.   We are all scared, and someone who says they are not scared is lying.  I long for the earlier days, when I had simple deadly diseases, like cancer, heart disease, and Pulmonary Embolisms.  Stuff you can fight.  We have not learned how to fight Coronavirus or COVID 19 yet.  I think we are making remarkable strides, however.

One of the things that is going to change is our relationship with school.  I think it is fair to say that parents will never look at a simple cold the same as they did a few weeks ago.  I have a friend who is convinced that Moms will be the main source of educational excellence in the future.  He is advocating the implementation of Home Schooling.  Is it possible to have a two parent structure after Coronavirus?  I believe that most people will do what I did, which was a mutual agreement by my wife and I to open a homebound business.  We did, and do, drapes and window hangings,  My wife is extremely talented on the sewing machine and she used that talent to pay our excessive bills.

She also worked at a bank part-time.  Like many banks of the 1980’s,  it went under so it was back to draperies and window hangings.  My brother-in-law said that she was Lowell’s Laura Ashley.  It was a high compliment.  She can turn anything into  a drape.  I can install any wall-hanging.

We dabbled in education, until she got her Bachelor’s, her Master’s, and her Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study.  She is more educated then I was.   Then she finally became a teacher.  We still do some window hangings but they are farther and farther in-between.  It is a good business and we do not want to let it go.

My point is that everyone is going to have to change how they approach family-life and business.  Right now, millions of people are productively working at home.  No big office buildings, no huge inline computer systems.  Things have changed.

Education is going to change.  I see a great many people keeping their children at home.  People who espouse home schooling are going to be a major part of the educational system.  Curriculum will have to be written for them.  They may have to pay for some of it out of their own pocket, but that is a small  price to pay.

There are two areas to look at in this massive change.  The first is the successful implementation of home learning.  The second is looking over stresses besetting the rural school movement.  We look at rural schools as being built for the farmer.  We forget that these “hicks” participate very strongly in their children’s education.  We will still have a school system that has parents going to work, but we might have fewer students.

So, I had a mother next door to me who educated her children at home.  She was incredible, she had five children and  she  educated all  of them at home.  They were heads and shoulders above what my wife and I saw in our public school.  She took my daughter, and incorporated her in her lessons.  My daughter recently graduated from college with a Bachelor’s.  She excelled in all of the areas that this next-door-neighbor taught her.  We saw home-schooling first-hand and it was incredible.

Home schooling is safe.  Run by a caring parent, it excels.  I remember being a child, and my father was the local Superintendent,  one of his best parents did not send her children to him, but rather had a small classroom built in her home.  Her students were her children, and like my neighbor, she excelled in teaching the curriculum to her students.  They all did very well in standard testing.

THE RURAL SCHOOL SYSTEM

Rural schools are a lot like standard Home Schooling.  The tallest child is commonly heads  taller than the teacher, so discipline is a consideration.  It is a major consideration according to those teachers who are eclipsed by his height.    The information is the result of an appraisal of the rural school problems in “The Rural School From Within” by M.G. Kirkpatrick, B.S. Ph.D.  It is an older text and contains a chapter on “Managing Boys.”   The author says that, “the teacher is (often) a non-resident.”  The rural school teacher can live in the classroom but he or she is probably not the most aggressive in the room.  The large son of a large father dictates some of the practices of the room.  The teacher knows that he or she has to win their efforts by persuasion.

The teacher is often discouraged in a rural school.  His or her efforts are not rewarded.  I lived in a rural town of 27 people, including one priest and eight nuns.  My father was the Superintendent, the youngest Superintendent in the state.  The state was Iowa.

My father fired a teacher who could not maintain discipline.  He moved onto a bigger district and rehired the woman because discipline was not a major problem in his larger school district.  The district was more controlled.

The author talks a great deal about how religion is part of the rural landscape.  He learned that there were two books to be lent to skittish teachers, and one was the Bible.  Now, the Bible was the reason that the Puritans taught their children to read.  But a good rural high school needs reading material and he took it upon himself to order it.  Home-schoolers have, usually, access to some books.  The woman living next to us introduced anti-abortion books to her children.  But it was a book.

Rural schools are largely a thing of the past.  But the lessons are good.  Holidays are part of the rural education experience.  The school Christmas tree is described as “Nearly all Christmas trees are wonderful and this (one) differed in being very wonderful.” (Page 143)  To teach money handling and business acument, they set up a lemonade stand.  It worked.  The students got something out of it.

So that is basically it.  I think that how we handle our children who have been scared out of their skins recently, will determine whether there is a strong movement to diminish our teaching staff.  Rural school patterns, and Home Schooling will grow as a result of our inability to handle the Pandemic.