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confessions of a home-schooler.

safariboy

Here’s an interesting article I came across on home-schooling.  I found it encouraging.  Some points I loved about it:

“Call us crackpots, but our kids spend their days at beaches and museums, not in school.”

“They have never heard of “Transformers”, and we’re OK with that.”

“If you grew up in the school system, you can’t imagine how totally different this looks,” says Alicia Bayer, who home-schools her four kids in Westbrook, Minn., a small town about 160 miles southwest of Minneapolis.  “I didn’t go buy desks.  We don’t sit in rows.  We don’t spend an hour on one subject and then move on to another.”

Bayer tells me she began her “grand adventure” by teaching her eldest daughter to read at age 4.  When she first met another home-schooler online, she began to understand how different it was in practice from what she had envisioned.  “She told me that one of her daughters was asleep at noon, because she’d been up all night studying the constellations,” Bayer remembers.  “Another one was across the street taking soil samples from a vacant lot that she was convinced was contaminated with toxic waste, and a third one was someplace in the house curled up with a book.  It sounded like what I was doing, and what I wanted to do.”

The author’s wife also has a blog entitled, “Do-It-Yourself Preschool”.  (As a caveat, I appreciate this method for preschool ONLY — not for further grades.)  Her little intro goes a little something fabulous like this:

“Relax:  You don’t need a curriculum.  You don’t need special training.  And you certainly don’t need flash cards, special software, or any of the dopey rote-learning toys that are passed off as “educational” these days.  Welcome to DIY Preschool, the adventurous parent’s alternative to structured schooling.”

On the flip-side, I was not encouraged by an article entitled, “Unschooling.”  The school of “Unschooling” is a completely unstructured environment which allows a child to do whatever piques their interest and whenever they want — a form of learning as you go mentality.  Give me a break Joanne Rendell.  I’d call this irresponsible.  I believe in kids needing structure even in a homeschooled environment, especially when it comes to their education.  I don’t think it requires the structure found in typical schools, but structure nevertheless is necessary.