I see so many questions online that basically ask, “Can I homeschool this way?” or “What’s the right way to homeschool my child?” followed by a bunch of replies which tell the person exactly the right way to teach some child the posters have likely never met, as though children are cogs and there’s only one right way to teach them all.
I have experienced many more schools than the average person. I went to at least thirteen schools (including a couple of bouts of homeschooling that I count as one “school”) between kindergarten and high school graduation. Notice that I said “at least” because I went to so many that I’m fairly certain I’m forgetting some of them. I’ve taken classes through at least six colleges/universities, with a degree from a top university and a lot of miscellaneous credits from others. I’ve taught full-time in seven different schools (some private, some public, and one for the Dept. of Defense), tutored for a couple of different companies, as well as done a wide variety of private tutoring and some substitute teaching. I’ve been in schools in a few different states, countries, and continents.
Even within public schools (or what would be called government schools in other parts of the world), there’s never just one way to educate children. The schedules, materials, and methods vary from one school to another. There are teachers who are hailed as some of the greatest teachers around who skip the textbooks and teach kids by doing (even in high school). You can read books about public school teachers who taught geometry by having kids write their own textbooks or who teach economics by having students run a business. Even with the push for Common Core, I know schools in our area evaluate teachers with innovative being the top rank possible. There are schools that don’t teach every subject every day but work on more of a college-type schedule. There are schools where students focus on one subject for a few weeks and then move on to another. There are even schools that are run by the students in large part. There are so many inventive ways of teaching students.
So it drives me a bit crazy when I see well-intentioned people telling some nervous homeschool parent that they must teach a certain way, must use a certain type of curriculum, must follow a certain kind of schedule, must log exactly this many hours, etc. Most any radical way of teaching that a homeschool parent wants to try has been tried at some schools somewhere. Often the ways that seem a bit less orthodox are used at some private schools and no one seems to doubt the value of a private school education and its ability to get children into college (if that’s their goal).
Cheryl–who just needed to vent a bit
Note: If you want to get a taste of why I’ve been to so many schools take a look at my book “Around the World in a Cement Boat” that tells of some of my childhood.
Around the World in a Cement Boat