Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Thoughts about the affects of a Carnival of Homeschooling

At The Common Room Headmistress makes a good point about the Carnival of Homeschooling:

"I hesitated over this one, because I don't like ghettoizing home-education (which is one reason why we're not blogging at a popular homeschooling blog hosting service)."

I agree that homeschoolers should not be isolated, but I think there is power in associating with people who have similar interests and can teach us what they have learned. On the flip side, we can also learn from people who have different interests and different perspectives. I plan to continue reading the blogs of Joanne Jacobs, Education Wonks, and others who are interested in public education.

I hope this doesn't become an "either/or" situation. There may be a few who have followed the Carnival of Education who might now only read the Carnival of Homeschooling. I hope we'll get new people who haven't been reading any Carnivals, and that many homeschoolers who read the Carnival of Education will now also read the Carnival of Homeschooling.

Malcolm Gladwell, in his book The Tipping Point talks about “Connectors,” people who help spread memes. (Memes is another name for ideas, and is used when talking about how ideas spread.) Connectors are the people who are involved in many unrelated groups at the same time. For example, connectors are involved in local politics, sing with a choir, work with a Boy Scout group, etc. When news comes to a person who only associates with a small group of like minded individuals, the information likely never gets beyond his small group. In contrast, a “Connector” will pass the idea into different groups. The idea or news has much greater exposure.

Malcolm has a fascinating discussion of the midnight ride of Paul Revere. I had not realized that there were others who went out to notify the countryside. The reason Paul Revere got all the fame and glory is because he was so effective. Almost all the colonial forces that met the British were notified through Paul Revere. This is especially powerful considering he was arrested after just a couple hours. He was a classic Connector. He rode into a small village late at night and knock on the door of someone he knew. Paul Revere would pass on the message, hop back on his horse and ride to the next town. Because the person knew Paul Revere, he would trust the message and wake up his neighbors and friends. So when the British arrived, the colonists were ready. To show the power of Connectors, Malcolm also tells of William Dawes, who also rode out into the country side, but he had no personal contacts. So when he knocked on their door, people were upset, didn’t trust him, and didn’t pass on the message.

My hope is that we can be “Connectors,” and link good ideas from various groups. As good ideas pops up in a homeschooling post, we can forward it on to various education blogs, and to the Carnival of Education. When we see a good idea in an education blog, we can mention it on homeschooling blogs.

6 comments:

Gary Freedman said...

I dop't believe in home schooling. Kids need to get the school experience.

Headmistress, zookeeper said...

Mr. Cate, that's pretty much the conclusion I reached, though you said it better. That's why I decided to post it and participate. I'm glad you're doing this.

Mr. Freedman, Why? What is there in the school experience that cannot be duplicated in any other fashion that you think is so vitally important. And why do you think so?

Henry Cate said...

Headmistress, thanks for reassuring me that putting together the carnival is a good think. I appreicate it.

DavidofOz said...

Mr Freedman is funny.
If I wanted to give my children a "school experience" I would beat them up and take their pocket money myself. We threaten our children with a school timetable and they get better attitudes immediately.
They need a school experience the way they need a road accident.

Extreme Wisdom said...

Henry,

As you work to spread "memes" about homeschooling, remember that there has to a "receptivity" to new ideas as well as simply "broadcasting" them.

This is a little trickier. Look at how "receptive" Mr. Freedman above is.

As some one who wishes to promote ideas, we need to be more than simply conscious of our audience. We need to think of ways to open their minds.

This can be done in a variety of ways (postive & negative). Often, simply asking your audience to be open in advance does the trick.

Who answers "no" to the question "Are you open-minded?"

Anonymous said...

regarding the generalization by Davidus --perhaps YOU were beaten up and had YOUR pocket money stolen...I'm sorry for you that you feel this is the school experience; it is most definitely NOT for the vast majority.
Homeschooling for these reasons is frightening. I hope your attitudes don't rub off on your homeschooled children.