Unnecessary Deadlines

I have never understood why people give themselves deadlines on activities which require no deadlines:  “I have to get my hair cut this week” or “I need to do the laundry today” and “I must finish my book before Saturday” and so on.  Other than an attempt to impose some kind of self-discipline over chronic procrastination, all this does is add a layer of stress into one’s life — all the more so because it’s both needless and self-imposed.  An ex-boss of mine put it in perspective, speaking purely of business matters and not of obvious crisis situations:  “There is no decision can’t be improved by waiting till the next day.”

Over at Insty’s place, Mark Tapscott posted a long letter from a friend who is grappling with the fact that his kids — and the kids of many of his upper-middle-class neighbors — will not be attending public school anytime soon, thanks to the teachers unions’ unnecessary obsession with the health risks of their members being exposed to the germ-laden petri dish that is the average school.  (It’s definitely worth going over there and reading it.)  Leaving aside the obvious retort that other workers (in supermarkets etc.) seem to have had few problems in this regard, I want to focus instead on one aspect of this hapless parent’s dilemma.  Here’s the part that got me thinking:

“And, for the families who either cannot leave a job or are not interested in what has been proposed by the public school systems, they are either spending tens of thousands of dollars per year on private education or are now for the first time acquainting themselves with homeschooling options. I will also add that in many cases, private schools are full and homeschooling curriculum options are sold out leaving families with no idea what they will do in a few weeks.”

Somebody needs to sit this harried man down and explain one of the most beneficial aspects of homeschooling:  there are no deadlines.  The “few weeks” he’s talking about is an artificial construct:  schools say that the new semester must begin on September 7, therefore that’s when education should begin.  Of course, that’s utter nonsense if you’re not chained to the public (or any) school system:  your kid can take up classes on September 7, or October 15 (or tomorrow, for that matter) — because given the glacial speed of public education, the kid will catch up with, and overtake, his former classmates in a matter of weeks.  (Remember that the entire middle- and high school mathematics curriculum — all five years of classroom instruction — can be learned by an average student in just over six months, when delivered at their own pace at home.)

I remember the mother of my son fretting about his slowness in getting toilet-trained, and telling her:  “I promise you that by the time he’s fifteen he’ll be using the toilet just like everybody else.”  And from an educational perspective, whether a kid starts learning in August or September is irrelevant to their future progress.

Everyone seems to want to set deadlines on education:  must complete high school by age 18, then go straight to college and finish the undergrad degree in four years, or else “they’ll be left behind” — as though that matters, when of course it doesn’t.

Unsaid in all this, of course, is that if education is truly unshackled from the education establishment, there’s nothing to stop a kid from finishing their undergrad degree by age 18, either, if the kid is smart enough and motivated enough — because just as homeschooled kids of high-school age typically finish twelfth grade earlier than their classroom-educated contemporaries, the appearance of online university-level classes (delivered either by streaming or by DVD) means that the homeschooled college student could finish their degree in two years and not the more common four.

The only thing that holds parents back from homeschooling is their own sense of inferiority — that somehow, even college-trained adults can’t teach their kids mathematics (the discipline which frightens parents the most).  Let me assure you all right now:  with the proper course materials, anyone can teach their kids anything.

And best of all, there’s no need to feel pressure to do it by any specified date — hell, you can even learn the stuff with your kids as you go along, and how bad can that be?


  1. Knowing what I now do, I know I could have learned everything I learned in public schools and university for two degrees, I could have learned in less than a year. The amount of useless filler was extraordinary and I expect it still is.

    Thank God for the internet and even though I hate to say it, You-Tube.

    My chief hand is basically a jack of all trades. About 5 years ago I showed him how to find instructional videos on technical matters. The skills that man has acquired since are fantastic.

    As Instapundit has said about other things, the schools, education establishment and teachers, including their rat-bastard commie unions, are being “disintermediated”. Amazon made a lot of money shortening the supply chain from producer to consumer and some other internet system is about to shorten the supply chain from real teachers to real students.

  2. I don’t have kids so I have no dog in the education fight, but you’re right on about the unnecessary deadlines.

    A contrast of two managers:
    Manager 1: Some years ago I worked as a consultant (computer programmer/analyst) for the electric utility of a Very Large Municipality. Whenever someone brought an “emergency” to my manager, he’d look up at the ceiling, look back at you and say “The lights are still on, it can’t be too bad.”

    Manager 2: Calls me at 3:00 on Friday afternoon, tells me she’s about to forward an email to me, and I’ll need to work over the weekend because we have a deadline of first-thing Monday morning. When the email arrives it includes how the deadline was arrived at. First, it was in the form of the requester asking “when can you get us this information” to which she replies “By Monday morning”, no indication that this was a hard external deadline. Second, she’d made that promise the previous Tuesday afternoon, meaning I COULD have gotten it done on time during my regular work hours, but I didn’t even know it needed to be done until Friday afternoon. I seriously considered telling her I couldn’t work over the weekend, but I got it done. Damn work ethic.

    Regarding home-schooling, my church has an associated school which caters largely to home-schooled children, teaching topics the parents aren’t equipped to teach (like music or foreign languages, if you can’t play an instrument/speak a language, you can’t teach someone else to do so). Also religion of course (duh, Catholic church and Catholic school) and math, history etc if the parents don’t find themselves capable. It’s cheaper than hiring a private teacher, the classes are small enough that the kids get individual attention as needed, and they avoid all the PC nonsense that brings so many parents to home-schooling in the first place (because, again, Catholic).

  3. So your kids aren’t in school. So what? Show me where it says kids will grow up as morons if they’re not in some sort of “official” education program ten months out of the year. Take a look around you. I would be willing to bet a portion of my meager pension that those “children” you see on TV every night peacefully burning, rioting, beating, and looting, are products of our fine, Liberal controlled, educational systems throughout the country.

    I say, your kids aren’t in school? Hit your knees and thank your God for this hidden blessing. Do you think your child will be any less served if you keep him/her/them out of those petri dishes for a few months, or a few years, till this virus subsides? If they’re not sick when you send them to school, they sure as hell might be when they come home. You’ve spent most of six months now avoiding the China Virus, what are you going to do if/when your child brings this viral evil into your home?

    Think about that before you rise up on your soap box and whine that nobody cares about “the children” not getting their share of what passes for education these days.

    Here’s an idea: TEACH THEM SOMETHING YOURSELF! It doesn’t have to be long division or algebra. It doesn’t have to be diagraming sentences or literary composition. Generations before us learned to read from a McGuffey Reader, many of them at home, not in the old red schoolhouse.

    Take them camping. Teach them to fish. Take them to the range. Show them how to paint a wall, saw a board, maintain a car. There is so much in this world that they really should know, things that they will never learn in a formal school.

    The choice is YOURS! Will you raise an Antifa moron, or someone who can harvest an 8-point buck and dress it out to feed their family?

  4. I don’t do clocks or calendars and my schedule is MINE. Been this way since the early 80’s and see no reason to ever change. The only exception(s) in this are mandatory appt’s or deadlines, which are very few – maybe 3-5 per year at most.

    We taught our son at an early age a few things to encourage him to spend the rest of his life learning as much as he can about all things that interest him and a short list of academia subjects as well. As my ol’ gray haired Pappy sed: “Teach a kid to rid then get out of his way.”

    Public school: a place where you go to be brainwashed for 12 years and get to pay for it for the rest of your life, literally and figuratively.

    Lastly, my wife wrote a published book on Homeschooling back in the 90’s and has run a Homeschool website since than, has been interviewed by the Wall Street Journal and Rush Limbaugh.

    The US would be 1000% better off with the total collapse of the gov’t ruled education system.

    1. “The US would be 1000% better off with the total collapse of the gov’t ruled education system.”

      Only for those of us capable of independent thought, but you make a point hard to argue against.

  5. I have a coworker whose son just graduated with a degree in Computer Science and got a job doing Artificial Intelligence apps. He just turned 18 last month.

  6. I have engendered a lot of wrath when I say this. But it is absolutely true. Schools are nothing more than state subsidized daycare. This whole thing is not about parents who can’t teach their kids, its about those that don’t want to be bothered. All the while preening about how they value teachers, and get student of the month bumper stickers.

    Leftist brainwashing aside. I have a 4 year university degree. For all I spent on it I acquired very little actual knowledge beyond how to have an axe to grind. 95% of my academic knowledge ended up being self taught.

    It will be interesting to see if the public school system and all its infrastructures/bureaucracies/staff go the way of Steel Mill jobs of the 70’s.

  7. “Never put off till tomorrow what may be done day after tomorrow just as well.”
    ― Mark Twain

  8. I suspect the “deadline” to get the kids back to school was based on the statement: “if I have to put up with my evil spawn one more week, I will kill and eat them.”

  9. While I agree with you overall, there have been times when “I have to do the laundry today”, as it was either that or go out and buy more clothes. I hate clothes shopping more than I hate doing laundry.

    And “I need to get a haircut this week” while in the military is not necessarily an internally set deadline.

    1. I think we can all agree that when you’ve worn your undies both normally and inside-out, a laundry deadline may be necessary.

  10. Let’s put this in perspective.
    Let’s say, for comparison:
    * each day at 7am, you load all your firearms onto a government truck so they can take them to a place you know is filled with marxist cross-dressing traitors and other certified whack-jobs.
    * then, each day around 3pm, you expect TheGovernmentAgents to return your firearms… in better condition.
    If you don’t trust TheGovernmentAgents to care for your firearms, how could you trust them with your most-treasured possessions?

    If that doesn’t convince you, imagine loaning your dog to TheGovernmentAgents for the day.

    I remain dubious.

    1. Loan out my guns? loan out my dog? Jaysus, I thought the Commie Democrats were filled with ludicrous ideas.

      I know, your post was proving a point and your post proved it well.


  11. Re: Home Schooling
    Seen somewhere on-line:

    Little Girl: This teacher knows nothing about history or math or english.
    Little Boy: Sis, it’s not that bad.
    Little Girl: Yes it is. And worse yet, her breath smells of vodka IN THE MORNING!
    Little Boy: Heh! Mom’s doing the best she can.

  12. What’s this entire middle- and high school mathematics curriculum, Kim?

    Because we’re having a hell of a time with math in our homeschool.
    I’d love to try that for our boy.

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