Only half joking about homeschooling
It's easy to think about opting kids out of school. But...
|Jun 7, 2019|
It's easy to think about opting kids out of school. We think about our precious little individuals and imagine them ground up in that machinery.
But there's a huge amount of hubris in imagining that we can do a better job. I know nothing about education in the States but quite a lot about the UK. As a child myself I assumed I would grow up to be a teacher. My mother was, for 35 years. Dad was - he and my mum met working at the school I would later attend. My aunt was. Now my sister and my sister-in-law are.
Here's the thing: Teachers care so much. More than anyone they understand the limits of the system, and its failures. They take on those burdens. They care deeply about children and childhood. They have worked tremendously hard to become educators. (Obviously there are stressed, embittered, and overwhelmed exceptions who should not be in the profession for their own sake.)
And yet the lure of homeschooling or unschooling remains strong. The education system is cutting edge in many areas and dismally lacking in others. Phonics: fantastic. Dance: not so much. The more a child tends away from the average - in either direction - the more of a struggle it might be. Of course, all parents think their child is far from average, so that doesn't help a dispassionate discussion.
When I talk about my nieces going to school in just a few years - too young - to be drilled in how to answer standardised tests - I'm only half joking when I talk about homeschooling.
I have a general theory that you have to be in it to win it. You have to be part of something to make it better. Whether that's the EU or the education system. Turning your back on the thing that needs improving isn't helpful - not least to other people who don't have the option. Only a certain type of person can even consider homeschooling their kids.
A compromise then. And one that the village can help with, not just parents.
To work with and for our schools, as part of the community invested in helping grow great kids. To encourage those kids in all their interests. To keep showing them lifelong learning. To value educators, to value parents. To creating the time, space, and skills, for home to be the main learning environment. To learn about and challenge government policy and keep nudging the system in a better direction.
Austin Kleon's tweet... "I find these long “things they should teach in school” lists interesting because they bring to the surface how many of us have internalized the notion that school is the primary place to learn things"
Sir Ken Robinson's Do schools kill creativity? TED Talk is the most viewed ever. I've watched it dozens of times. And while we are there let's watch Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's The danger of a single story.
Shaunta Grimes writes about unschooling her son, and herself.
See Do It for volunteering opportunities, find your local volunteering bureau, check local newspapers etc for ways you can make a difference.