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Apprenticeship and Home Schooling

Written by Gary North on October 31, 2015

Formal classroom education has been substituted for apprenticeship programs for at least a century. Decade by decade, the state gains greater control over the minds of students by requiring long hours of classroom instruction. This instruction is compulsory. In most states, the school has to grant a license to any student who works after school.

All of this has to do with indoctrination. It also has to do with a form of occupational licensure. Students in the late 19th century were expected to end their formal education sometime around the eighth grade. Then they were to go into salaried positions in small businesses. It was assumed that they would learn on the job whatever they needed in order to advance their careers. Because the state has steadily extended the requirements of classroom education, these older opportunities have dried up.

One of the reasons why I decided to set a limit of an hour per lesson for the Ron Paul Curriculum was that I hoped that students would not spend more than five hours a day in academic learning. There are no major homework assignments in the curriculum until the junior year: term papers. The student listens to an audio lecture for half an hour, and he does a half hour of reading. The total is about five hours per day.

I did this deliberately. I am a great believer in apprenticeship programs. If a student can get a job during the day, but still complete his academic work, I am in favor of it. A homeschool student has this advantage: he can work in the mornings. Most students are unable to do this. If a business wants to hire an entry-level employee, it can hire a homeschooler, and the homeschooler then does his schoolwork in the afternoon. There’s nothing wrong with this schedule. It may not work for some students because of internal time clocks, but it can work with some of them. If there is enough money involved, students can learn to readjust their internal clocks. They may not want to do this for getting up early to do school work, but for going to work and making money, students may be willing to make the adjustments.

Working on the job is not really the equivalent of an apprenticeship program. There is probably no one-on-one instruction by a mentor. But a student who shows promise at the age of 14 may catch the attention of a business owner. This would have to be a small-business owner, but that is an excellent person to provide mentoring opportunities.

If a student goes to college by staying at home, taking exams instead of attending classes, he can keep his high school job and still graduate at age 21 or 22. In other words, he doesn’t lose any time in comparison with his peers, and he is able to earn income through the whole four-year period. Also, he cuts his college expenses to about $15,000. He can make far more than this in a part-time job over a four-year period.

(For the rest of my article, click the link.)

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