Humble Rants 21 August 2013

Posted Wednesday, August 21, 2013 in Opinion

Humble Rants 21 August 2013

by Robert Skoglund aka The humble Farmer

When we think of educational opportunities, we think of the schools we attended. I walked to a one-room school for four years and then was bused for the seven it took to finish grade school, grammar school and high school. Tommy, who sat up back of me in the one room school, retired as head of the Berwick Pratt and Whitney plant down Berwick way. Somehow, he survived our background. My windy thesis here is that today’s kids could and should still avail themselves of the same advantages Tommy and I once enjoyed at a rural one-room school. OK, haul in a trailer. They use them for classrooms now.

Even thirty years ago a hen farmer might have been able to argue that it is better to bus kids into a central building where they can be processed and turned out, exactly the same, like chickens headed for the freezer.

But now don’t many people work at home on a computer? Is it still necessary for many very highly skilled people to drive to an office? You might be one of these talented people who work from home. Although how you have time to work and read this, too, is beyond me. Nowadays you can do just about everything from your bedroom or your solar radiant heated office in the cellar that you could do from an office in town.

OK. No holding hands in the stock room.

When I first started writing for newspapers I had to take my copy to Rockland to get it typed on a special typewriter. Then I had to get at least 55 photocopies and then take the envelopes to the post office. As a volunteer, I used to drive from St. George to Orono every week to make a radio program.

Now I can write my column and make my television and radio programs and mail them out electronically without ever leaving my cellar. Most of all of that bulky and expensive equipment is now in my computer.

I discovered YouTube on my computer and have spent hours watching Yale professors lecture on John Locke, Nietzsche, Adam Smith, Schopenhauer and others. I can listen to Paul Potts sing Nessun Dorma. I can put on earphones so it doesn't disturb the neighbors.

You quickly see that I mention all this only to illustrate that the way we now work and educate ourselves has recently changed. Even conservative old Maine men are being dragged into this brave new electronic world, kicking and screaming.

My wife's 10-year-old grandchild showed me an amazing rich-kid toy that enables her to chat face to face with her buddies up in Fort Kent. Anything she wants to know she seems to be able to access on this mysterious machine no larger than my wallet.

Yes, my point to all this. The world is now at every student’s fingertips. Kids know how to access this material better than most adults do. Why bus them 40 miles a day when they could walk to their own one-room school and look at the same computer screen they’d be seeing in the crowded henhouse? Aren’t those who home school already half way there?

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