Most parents imagine that school, if it could function properly, would be the ideal educational model. So, instead of taking a fresh look at what education should accomplish, they put their efforts into recreating “school” at home. Their hope is not to replace “school,” but to do “school” better. The problem is that school was never designed to be an elite educational model. It was designed to mass produce students. So there are many things that schools do that are in the best interest of the system, not the students!
The issue I am addressing today is school’s over emphasis on writing. In school, speech is a class, but writing is the standard. As school progresses, writing becomes more and more important, until it seems nearly every assignment is a mini-essay.
Observing this, I wrongfully assumed the importance of writing in school was a reflection of the importance of writing in the “real world.” This of course, is not the case. After leaving college, I quickly discovered that only teachers care about writing and the few people who become authors. Every job interview, every business interaction, every opportunity to communicate, demanded verbal skills. So, I began to wonder, “Why do schools prefer writing?” The answer is simple.
Schools demand writing, because writing is easier to access and grade. The “Writing Bias” in schools has everything to do with efficiency and little to do with practical application. Teachers simply do not have the time to hear oral presentations from hundreds of students everyday. Now, I know what you are thinking. Isn’t it a little hypocritical to say writing isn’t important, when here I am writing to tell you just how unimportant writing is? Not at all!
First, I never said writing isn’t important. I realize certain professions require a lot more writing than others. But here is my point, even professional writers talk ten times more than they write! Now it might be argued that students already spend all their time talking, and that is why schools have to focus on writing. While it is true that people already spend the majority of their time talking, there is a difference between writing a paper and sending a friendly e-mail, and there is a huge difference between verbally presenting information in a persuasive and logical manner and just talking to a friend on the phone. Children need to become confident “professional” speakers because that is what the professional world is really looking for. So, since our job as homeschooling parents is not to recreate the school model, but to adequately prepare our children for the “real world,” I recommend that we place our emphasis on verbal communication. For example, in our homeschool, instead of tests and essays we do oral examinations and speeches. My daughters still write every day, but we try to maintain an 80/20 split in favor of verbal communication.
Hope I gave you some food for thought. Whether you agree or disagree, we love to hear your comments!