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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

"Time Isn't Fair"

Today started off bad and didn't get better.

I'm not exactly depressed or upset, but things just haven't been good. Even so, I've keep my smile most of the time.

We'll see if I cry tonight.

I had a fight discussion with Brittany this morning, which took time out of my morning routine. This made me "late" for work [read: I came in at 7:30 instead of 6:30], and started things off on a less than pleasant note. Toward the end of our conversation, as I was heading out the door, I asked, "Why does time fly when I don't have any?"

"Because time isn't fair," my wise wife replied.

I noted that fact and tucked it away for a blog post later.

Two hours later, during our large group meeting, we got news that shattered morale. Not fun, but not public information either. Sorry.

We've long known that life isn't fair. That's one of those lessons that we learn early on but only apply toward things working against us. We rarely remember or notice when life has been unjust in our favor.

We've also known that time is a sneaky creature as well: He never waits for us and he moves more quickly when we're enjoying ourselves. He also runs away when we could really use him. Yet I had never heard, until this morning, that time itself is unfair.

Many research claims aren't exactly fair either. My mom sent me a link to an article that says homeschoolers do better academically than their public schooled peers, suggesting that I remind parents "that homeschooling works." And homeschooling absolutely does work.

Homeschooling is great!

But I've read very fascinating articles that point out that such statistics are horribly skewed. Milton Gaither points out that if we
control for variables like family income, race, and parent educational attainment level when making comparisons with the general population ...homeschoolers usually come out looking more average on things like standardized tests and college matriculation.

Mr. Gaither further responds to the report linked in the article above by saying:
What [Mr. Ray] ought to be saying and what other journalists and pundits who use his studies ought to be saying is not that homeschoolers outperform public schoolers. They ought to be saying that some middle-class, white, two-parent, conservative Protestant homeschoolers who volunteered for a research study that was pitched to them as a great opportunity to show off homeschooler success to the public, score in the 80th percentile or above on standardized tests.

So, yes, my mom is absolutely right: Homeschooling works. It works at least as well as any other educational system available.

Is it statistically 30% better than average?

That has, as far as I know, yet to be empirically demonstrated.

But time isn't playing fair again, and I must leave this post for now. Just remember: Just because someone has data or some other "proof," they may not be playing fair either. The difficulty is getting to the truth, since none of us are completely fair.

~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Expectant Father

10 comments:

Jana, Mom to Mr. Q and Miss E + 7 said...

"Is it statistically 30% better than average?

That has, as far as I know, yet to be empirically demonstrated."

In my 20 years of homeschooling, I have never been asked to do a survey, submit test scores, etc... So I can only assume that atleast this blue collar family was not factored into those statistics.

Homeschooling works for parents who devote time and attention to detail to thier children. It is a time consuming sacrific I cherish. But it is certainly not for everyone.

Sorry you had a tough day. Brittany is very wise ;-).

5intow said...

Reminds me of a quote I often heard from my high school history teacher. Not about time, but it seems fitting to the latter part of the post, "Statistics don't lie, but liars use statistics."

There is generally more truth hidden underneath than apparent at first glance. I love homeschooling, but I agree that it can't necessarily be flaunted as the best method. Also, there are so many reasons that I homeschool that can't be tested for anyway.

Back to time, interesting to think that God is not bound by time. I can't wait to enjoy the timelessness of heaven.

mary grace said...

NEither myself, nor anyone I know in my (relatively) large circle of homeschooling compatriots has ever been surveyed for any of the studies you see touted in the media. I've always wondered exactly WHO this control group is, and how one is selected to participate.

That was random. Sorry. :-)

I'm sorry that your day was the kind that makes you happy when the sun goes down. May tomorrow bring you joy and blessing, and renewed hope in the fact that while time is not fair, it is, at the very least, in constant motion and therefore no season is a burden for too long.

Melonie said...

Time for crazy cheery junk:

Remember what Annie always said....the sun'll come out....tomorrow..... yada yada yada TOMORROWWWWW....there'll be SUnnnnnnnn.

I know. My singing is horrible. Sorry.

But you know you're singing along. Because who wants to be the person who ignored a poor little orphan girl, right?

Seriously though, I'm sorry you had a cruddy day, I like Brittany's comment about time, and I hope things perk up with Sonlight and everybody's okay there.

As for statistics and homeschool research and people who aren't fair about homeschooling, don't make me go there. HA. Because if I get up on THAT soapbox we'll be here all night. Well, it'll be night for me. Day for you. But neither of us wants me on that rant. I don't have any blood pressure medication and once I get into the homeschoolers (individuals and organizations) who are RABID about trying to prove homeschooling is the be all and end all (trust me, I've done this 10 years and I know it's not perfect for every family - that's the first thing I tell people who get that "OH NO, one of THEM!" look and hunker down expecting me to attack them because they don't homeschool.....) well now... you get the basic gist. Or jist. Whichever. My brain is boiling now. heh heh.

Remember....sun .... tomorrow....bet yer bottom dollar..... ;-P

Jenn4him said...

First, I want to thank you for visiting my little blog. Second, I want to tell you how much I greatly admire your family. Without what your family has done, I am not sure I would be homeschooling. Really. It grieves me to hear that my Sonlight family is hurting. Being part of a family business myself, I have seen my share of ups and downs. I pray that the Lord will bless your family's efforts. Like I said, Sonlight means a lot to my family. I could go on and on!
Jenn4Him
Core 4

Cindy said...

Interesting thought on the statistics given about homeschoolers being skewed. Who knows? Who cares? I just know I wouldn't send my kids to public school even if I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that they'd receive an infinitely superior education. Education isn't even really my reason for homeschooling.

On an small attempt to be humorous, did you know that 97% of statistics are made up on the spot?

~ Angi :) said...

Time unfair?

I hear your point. Yet even in unfairness, time has purpose - the purpose of refining us, as Ecclesiastes 3 so eloquently reminds us. Yet how many take note of this imbedded verse in the chapter?

I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it. Ecc 3:10

Face the unfairness as a rigourous obstacle course to be run. Expand your lungs. Stretch your muscles. Win the race. Obtain the crown.

For surely, one day, time as we know it now will no longer be our understanding nor our experience.

Praying for faith to replace shattered morale today . . .

Carletta said...

This statement is so true:

"We rarely remember or notice when life has been unjust in our favor."

I would love to see some unbiased statistics about how homeschoolers perform. But then again, maybe some of the most important benefits can't be measured with tests, charts and graphs.

Jessica said...

Good points you make. I have always felt like I can never get a very clear picture of the effects of vaccines for the same reasons -- each side can turn statistics in their favor.

Sorry to hear about morale busting at SL. My hubby has been waiting around for about three months to hear whether his part of the company will be sold or shut down, and if sold, if he will be laid off or not. Not great for morale!

Thanks for your nice comments on my blog. I hope your tomorrow is better than your today.

Luke said...

Jana and Mary Grace, they should have included you in their studies <smile>.

5intow, I wanted to include that quote in my post, but I couldn't find a person to whom I could attribute it. I'm glad you brought it up <smile>.

Melonie, you made my day so much brighter! I love it. Thank you.

Jenn, thank you so much for your encouragement! It is greatly appreciated.

Cindy, good points, and, yes, I had heard that stat before <smile>.

Angi, thank you for the encouragement. I needed it.

Carletta, I completely agree with you.

Jessica, I hear you about the Vax issue. I don't feel like I've had enough real information on the subject. It's really not pretty.

Thank you all, again, for the encouragement!

~Luke


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