The homeschooling movement was a great beginning. It was supposed to be an alternative form of child-rearing and education.
And, it was. In its beginning. Then it lapsed into the public-school-at-home mentality of many of today’s homeschooling parents.
I have been waiting my entire adult life for those “in the know” to finally step forward and admit that the world’s educational systems are actually hurting children.
That is one reason I so appreciated John Taylor Gatto’s writings. When a New York State Teacher-of-the Year tells you, “Find out what the public school does and do something else,”the ears of every homeschooling parent should perk up and parents should want to know more.
For years, John has seemed to be “a voice crying in the wilderness” for all but a few.
Now, more and more internationally recognized educators are beginning to step onto the stage with stinging denunciations of what public schools are doing to kids. An example are the TED Talks by someone of no less stature than Sir Ken Robinson, Professor Emeritus of Education at England’s University of Warwick whose TED Talks have been viewed by over 34 million people.
Something of real significance is happening in educational circles when the most watched TED Talks ever are on the subject of education! If you haven’t yet watched them, where have you been? As homeschooling parents, these two talks by Dr. Robinson are important enough for you to spend a few minutes of your time: Do Schools Kill Creativity? and Education’s Death Valley
Another thing I have been waiting to hear is an honest response to the question of why high schoolers are forced to spend four years studying upper-level math. Of course math is helpful, even essential; but, four years of high school math! I am convinced that one day high school math will become the elective it should be for those who actually love the subject and want to become engineers or architects?
Aside from the fact that high school math harms many a young person’s self-esteem, we all intuitively know that most people will never use what they are being forced to learn (assuming they are learning it).
May I introduce a middle & high school math teacher whose TED Talk is stirring up a controversy I believe needs to be stirred up? His short talk suggests that high school math is not only not necessary, it is harmful to most students. He says, “At the end of Elementary School you have learned all the math you will need to know in real life so what the heck are we learning all this Middle & High School math stuff for?” He even offers alternatives for those who are not “math-minded” and who are not headed for a career that actually needs upper-level math. Here is his TED Talk: Why Math Instruction Is Unnecessary
In my previous post, I suggested it is time for homeschooling parents to take the advice of a former New York State Teacher-of-the-Year who said, “Find out what the Public School does and do something else.”
However, as I interact with today’s homeschoolers, I find they are not yet ready to do this.
In fact, homeschooling parents are actually forfeiting two critical opportunities: First, to provide their own children with the best educational experience possible; and, second, to demonstrate how all children should be educated.
Homeschoolers could slowly be changing the culture of education all over the world. Instead, it is the other way round: Homeschoolers are defaulting to imitating the world’s educational culture.
Why? Because we are afraid and fear causes us to do things that, while relieving our fears, harm our children’s futures which is exactly what public school does to its children.
Why are we afraid?
First, we believe we don’t know what we are doing. And, we are right.
Second, we believe everyone else does know what they are doing. And, we are wrong.
Not knowing what we are doing causes us to look to others to tell us what we should be doing. And, since we actually believe others know what they are doing, we do what they do.
It is not wrong to turn to someone else for help in our homeschooling journey, as long as we are looking to the right one(s). More on that in my next post.
If you have been paying even minimal attention, you would know that the public school’s way of educating children (meaning its curriculum choices and the way that curricula is taught) is under a microscope and is being largely discredited. Yet, the fear under which most homeschoolers live causes them to default to teaching the same subjects that are taught in the public schools and in the same way those subjects are taught.
Even if it takes another generation, homeschoolers eventually must be willing to do something else or we can simply add homeschooling to public schooling, private schooling, and Christian schooling as alternative means of replicating public schooling’s failed educational philosophies.
NEXT POST: 4 beliefs—and 2 tyrannies—that are hurting our kids.
Post by: Chris Davis (www.homeschoolingwisdom.com)