NOTE: This was written in response to families homeschooling due to the COVID pandemic. My answer is still relevant to those who’re using a “school-at-home” method and are frustrated with the results.
Dear Crisis Homeschooler,
Speaking as an ex-school psychologist and, more importantly, a 30+ year homeschooler, it helps to understand that what the schools do is second best (actually, not even second best). The teachers and principals I worked with would’ve loved to do what we do (or should do) – tailor education to each child’s interests, abilities, and passions.
But they can’t – they don’t have the time or resources to do that. So they have to use textbooks and other resources that have been passed through committee after committee to get approved. Then they have to standardize everything to a class of 25 or so same-age students and focus on teaching to the test.
Why would we want to duplicate that?
We don’t want standardized children. We want children who can engage in meaningful learning experiences, who value learning, and who will learn how to learn for the rest of their lives.
Meaningful learning doesn’t involve 8-hour days full of textbooks and worksheets. It doesn’t mean homework. (Homework is irrelevant in a homeschool setting). It doesn’t mean testing. (Which is also irrelevant in a homeschool setting). It means unlearning everything “society” has taught us about learning as it’s portrayed in the public schools (and in many private schools, and even some homeschools).
That’s why what you’ve been doing as a “crisis homeschooler” isn’t working. It doesn’t even work for the public schools, and you’re seeing first-hand why it doesn’t.
When your local library opens again, see if it has my book, Homeschooling Essentials. It will show you what homeschooling really is (or could be). It describes typical days and schedules, different homeschooling methods, favorite curricula and resources, and includes advice from hundreds of homeschool parents who answered my surveys.
If your library doesn’t have it, I will donate copies. Just ask them to email me.
You can do this!