Monday, September 03, 2007

Thoughts about the Value of Education

As homeschoolers my wife and I think often about education. What does it mean to be educated, or to have an education? Why should our children even have an education? It is a lot of work mastering Algebra, reading about history, and learning a new language. Why bother?

Here are a couple reasons:

Better income: Currently the average life long expected salary for a high school graduate is around $1.2 million and the average life long salary for a college graduate is $2.1 million. It appears this gap will continue to widen as the demand for educated workers grows.

Longer lives: Educated people live longer. I’ve read references to studies that poorly educated people suffer more from problems with misusing prescription drugs because they didn’t understand the doctor’s directions. Educated people as a group tend to eat better and take care of them selves, because they know the consequences of poor eating habits.

More power: Educated people can have greater influence. I’ve wondered if homeschoolers, while a small percentage of the population, will have a great impact on society over the next twenty years.

Fun: Some times our daughters get excited about learning. Recently my second daughter bought a book about drawing horses. She loved the book. She went through every page and devoured the book.

As we start back up with a new school year it is helpful to remember some of the reasons why we educate our daughter. We've shared the above reasons with our daughters. Sometimes as children they just want to play. By sharing the long term benefits of hard work, they are more willing to study and learn.

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Hanley Family said...

More in point: look at how much power homeschoolers already wield. With only 2 to 4 percent of the population, homeschool laws tend to get laxer rather than stricter.

Educated, organized and not afraid to speak up...that is what any members of a movement need!

Elizabeth said...

I enjoyed your blog. As a mother of two in my 10th official year of homeschooling, my goal is still the same as the day I started -- I strive to teach my children to think. If they can think, they can learn; they can contribute to society; they will find a way to achieve their goals and deal with whatever life throws at them.

Lydia Netzer said...

I think I'd add that education gives context and context gives meaning to life. When you see the things you experience in the context of history, or in the context of other world cultures, or scientific information, it means more to you than if you are just looking with your eyes.

I think there's a raccoon on the roof. Gosh, that just made me jump out of my skin!

Henry Cate said...

Dana, it will be interesting to see where homeschooling goes over the next ten years. I think it will continue to grow. At some point I'd expect a dramatic change, some kind of tipping point. Maybe we'll completely restructure public schools and go with something like vouchers.

Thanks Elizabeth for your kind words. Yes, we are trying to help our daughters learn to think, and to improve their ability to think.

Lydia, you make a great point. The more we know, the deeper our understanding.