By some standards, Kim and I are at the beginning stages of homeschooling. On the other hand, if you subscribe to the belief that homeschooling begins at birth, then we’ve been at it for over five years. Either way, we are still in the stage of learning as much about it as we can. There are so many different styles of homeschooling, so many misconceptions about it, so much philosophy of how human beings actually learn, and so much history that led us to the educational system we have today.
It’s endlessly fascinating to us both. We regularly find ourselves deep down rabbit holes, voraciously exploring books and blogs on the subject and excitedly emailing each other links to gems we’ve uncovered. At times it feels a bit obsessive, but when I pause to remember that this is all about our kids’ education and future, I wonder why this kind of “obsessiveness” is not actually the norm.
Amidst all of the digging, some personal beliefs have grown more ironclad, while other times I’ve been surprised to find myself doing a complete about-face on some opinions I held pretty strongly just six months ago.
One of my latest rabbit holes has been Penelope Trunk’s blog on education. Kim and I interviewed her several years ago on how to avoid being overworked. We knew she was an expert at giving out career advice, but had missed the fact that she pulled her kids out of school to homeschool them.
What I love about Penelope is her deep vulnerability and ruthless honesty. She is not afraid to say things other people won’t. That’s how I’d like to be. I don’t agree with her on everything (if I did that would be kind of creepy), but I love how her writing affirms some of our decisions but also challenges me to question what I believe. Plus, she links to a lot of great research, creating even more rabbit holes to explore!
Below I’ve included links to some of my favorite posts of hers, with pull quotes from each that either challenged me, surprised me, or had me standing up and shouting, “Amen, sister!”
To be honest, I debated a bit about posting some of these, for fear that people will think I’m trying to “covert” them. Believe me, I don’t have the energy for such a crusade, and I have learned in my adventures as a professional speaker that it’s pretty impossible to change anybody else but myself anyway. But I do believe that sharing interesting stuff is a gift. Like Penelope’s writing does for me, it can either affirm what you already believe or challenge you to see things from a new perspective. Either way, it’s a gift.
So without further ado, here’s Penelope…
• 4 Reasons you don’t need to be a teacher to homeschool
“Education reformers widely agree that self-directed learning is best for kids. Teachers cannot do self-directed learning in a classroom. We can’t afford that in this country. We’d have to have a single teacher for every four students. Which means that teachers can’t facilitate self-directed learning.”
• Mainstream media is delusional about homeschooling
“Only 38% of all homeschoolers choose it for religious reasons. (And this includes the Lutherans, Hindus, Jews, etc.) But the majority are middle class parents just trying to get their kids out of a broken system.
Most parents will not be good teachers. But the reality is that kids don’t need their parents to be teachers. Kids need their parents to be parents. And kids are born as natural learners. They don’t need a teacher to make them a learner.
So the way homeschooling works is that kids are home, learning, and parents are there for support. Kids need tools, or suggestions for how to get what they need, and parents are there to do that. Self-directed learning requires an adult to be very present, but not very intrusive. It’s why self-directed learning works great at home, and is nearly impossible at school.” [Read more...]