This topic is being discussed in my home a lot lately. I read this blog today and found it interesting. I thought I would share.
Monday, November 17, 2008
I am a homeschooler
by Claire M.
"You were homeschooled, weren't you?" (Of course the question came on the heels of another demonstration of my woefully-deficient knowledge of pop culture.) "Through high school?"
"That's the big debate in our house now, whether to homeschool through high school. Did you use videos and co-ops and that kind of thing?"
I didn't want to bore the whole group with the whole long answer, so for the rest of the Bible study, I was distracted by all the things unsaid. Things like that the biggest advantage of homeschooling, in my mind, is the opportunity to learn for the sake of learning, to step outside the academic game and study the things that fascinate you, to learn the way you learn best, to learn from rich life experience and not just memorize things for a test and a grade. I would have said that if you're just going to create a mini-school, you might as well send your kids to school, because school probably does the school thing better than you can.
Not to say that co-ops and core curriculum and all that doesn't have a place. And certainly, people might have very conventional ideas about education and still homeschool for other reasons. If you're going to educate conventionally, homeschooling at least lets you do it efficiently and leave the rest of the day open for exploring and creating and just being a kid. But feeling obligated to recreate school at home is such a sad waste of homeschooling's potential.
This is all fresh in my mind because I am, for the next month, doing in med school something that's very like homeschooling. It's a reading month, a free-form elective that requires merely a topic, an advisor, and whatever sort of work the two of you agree on. I had my first meeting with my advisor today, discussing a handful of journal articles we'd read, and came away thinking, This is what education is supposed to be like.
In a classroom setting, I would have been given a sheaf of articles in a coursepack, which I would have perused dutifully--if at all--the night before the class. Then I would have struggled to stay awake through a long small-group discussion of a topic about which nobody except the disheartened professor seemed to care.
But this month it's different. This is my topic, spinning along in whatever direction my interests and my advisor's guidance takes it. I read and thought and came to today's meeting with questions, eager to explore them with someone knowledgable and equally interested. I didn't have to ward of yawns, because the topics we were discussing were things I'd been mulling over all week.
I didn't find it hard, when I started college, to adjust to playing the academic game. (Actually, I quickly discovered that I didn't need to work as hard as I thought I did.) And I've been in this world for long enough that I'm used to it. But days like today, when I get to breathe again the free air of just learning, I realize that the dad at Bible study had it wrong.
It's not that I "was homeschooled." It's that I am a homeschooler.