Food for thought in this article by Eric Hoel in March. While school choice makes little difference to a child’s outcomes, individual tutoring does.
The traditional line for why essentially all intellectuals used to be aristocrats is that they were the only people with the leisure time to pursue the life of the mind. But what if it was never solely about leisure, but also a style of education that has fallen out of favor?
That style of education, Hoel argues, is one in which a child regularly engages with expert tutors, passionate in their fields, from a young age. This individualized education, though, is expensive and not easily extended to the masses. Which, of course, was a matter of great concern to Charlotte Mason. “A Liberal Education for All” she declared – an education of leisure, not oriented toward work and productivity but toward learning just because all humans need to learn.
Charlotte Mason had answers, too. If we can’t put distinguished, eloquent tutors in the homes of every child, we can put their well-written, engaging books into every child’s hands. A narrative, engaging book makes an excellent medium for ideas – it’s almost like sitting in a room and having a conversation with that distinguished tutor. Aware of this, she put her efforts toward training and supporting parents, teachers, and governesses in using living books as the foundation of a child’s education. So while Eric Hoel wonders if technology could provide some of this specialized tutoring that works so well for children, I suspect that we would be better off, in the first place, “knowing what we are about” in the first instance, and getting a grasp on a “few basic principles” of education in the second.