Educating Your Children (and Yourself)

In this time of Covid and Quarantines, lockdowns and uncertainty about if or when schools will open and under what conditions, many people who never thought they would are now considering homeschooling.

When looking for a curriculum, for ideas on what to do with your children, I would suggest first considering the following idea as a principle and guideline. It’s part of an introduction to a British geography book written, the author says, without regard to government standards. She encourages those using the book to keep in mind:

“… it is no waste of time, even as regards examination results, to wake a child’s interest and make learning an affair of the mind as well as of the memory. This is what has been aimed at in these chapters. If they fail in that they fail altogether “

Your goal is not to slavishly follow the government standards for your state as though education is a finicky process which can only be accomplished by strictly following a recipe concocted by a committee of bureaucrats who have never met your child and know nothing of your family.  I realize this idea of veering outside those lines is a terrifying process. We want the best for our kids. We do not wish to ruin their lives forever by making the wrong educational choices this year. You are worried that if we don’t teach suffixes and prefixes at the right time, when the schools open up and your put your kids back in, they won’t be prepared.

You will not ruin their lives forever by making the wrong educational choices in any given year, and most especially not during this topsy turvy time whenever everybody is stressed and experiencing the same wild uncertainties.  If and when schools reopen and you do send your kids back, the educators know that they are getting back a large group of students who have had disparate educational experiences during shut downs. They will be having to play catch-up regardless of your personal choice.  And even if that is not so, ‘to awaken a child’s interest and make learning an affair of the mind as well as the memory’ is a remarkable gift and accomplishment. Any human being with that awakened mind and interest will be able to make the best of the environment they find themselves in.   In regards to exams and standards, it is remarkable how well a human being with an awakened mind and interest goes about learning all sorts of things inadvertently, accidentally, through wide reading, outside play, conversations with elders, and opportunities to observe the world around us. It is even more remarkable how quickly they manage to fill in the gaps for themselves when they notice something missing in their understanding.

 

So relax a little. Take a few deep, deep  breaths.

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4 Comments

  1. Vic
    Posted August 6, 2020 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

    When we were first considering homeschooling, many years ago, we were also planning a year overseas. We asked the school what we needed to cover during that year, to make sure that the kids wouldn’t be behind when we came back. The answer was “Oh, it doesn’t matter. When they come back, we will just put them in the class with their age group.”

    Knowing that, as far as the school was concerned, it didn’t make any difference what, if anything, the kids learned during the year, gave us courage to try homeschooling. Which we continued doing for years, and now are kids are doing it.

    • Vic
      Posted August 11, 2020 at 6:18 am | Permalink

      I’m so embarrassed about not proofreading my comment before clicking Post.

  2. Lisa Beth W
    Posted August 8, 2020 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    You are so right!

  3. Melissa
    Posted August 9, 2020 at 12:06 am | Permalink

    So good. In fact as a seasoned homeschooler I needed to remind myself of this very thing as I head into the new school year. There are no educational emergencies as Julie Bogart says.

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