Posted in Books, Educational Reform, Homeschooling

Stop Stealing Dreams

Stop Stealing Dreams

After years of hinting around the issues, Seth Godin, one of the world’s most influential bloggers, has finally weighed in on the subject of education.

Seth Godin is one of my personal heroes, as someone who’s raising his voice to shake things up and advocate positive change.  He’s a guy who could publish his shopping list if he wanted to (and make it a best seller, if he felt like it), but his manifesto on education, Stop Stealing Dreams, is free to download and share.  It deserves to be read by educators, students, and parents everywhere.

Seth’s writing tends to come in quick bursts, and this book presents 132 different short takes on the question “what is school for?”  The world is changing, and institutions tend to be slow to catch up, educational institutions most of all.  After 100 years of public schooling designed to enforce compliance, obedience, and uniformity, the problem we are now facing is a shortage of leadership and innovation. Seth says that school can, should, and will be transformed to teach kids how to speak up, stand out, take risks, and dream big instead of fit in, follow along, conform, and consume.

The one riff in the whole book I must take issue with is # 121: “Home schooling isn’t the answer for most”.  Pointing out that some alternative won’t work for “most people” is a common argument used to resist change.  For example, environmental pessimists often say things like “solar/wind/geothermal/hydroelectric power won’t work everywhere, therefore it can’t replace fossil fuels.”  The point is not that a new monolithic structure will be found to replace the old one, the point is that the existing order is going to be replaced, and it isn’t going to be replaced by just one thing, but by many things.  Diversity, not uniformity, is the quality of the emerging order of the Universe.  Saying “this alternative won’t work for most people” is a way of encouraging conformity and is equivalent to saying “this alternative probably won’t work for you, so you can safely ignore it”.  The reality is that as people become more connected and empowered to create the lives they desire for themselves, family and community life will flourish at the expense of institutional life.  This means that the monopoly of public education will continue to dissolve as alternatives on every scale from accredited online schools to homeschooling co-ops to individual homeschooling families continue to expand and flourish.  This is akin to the natural process by which a huge blacktop parking lot, if not continually maintained, will eventually revert to a diverse wilderness as the roots of grasses, shrubs, and trees break through and take hold.  It doesn’t matter if homeschooling will work for “most people”; if you want homeschooling to work for for you, then it will!

Also see: Homeschooling works for parents who try it and Why Homeschooling Should be Part of Rethinking Education.

Posted in Resources

Home Educator’s Resource Directory: The Mother Lode for Home Educators

The Home Educators Resource Directory, one of the most comprehensive online resources for home educators, was developed by Mindy Lively, a homeschooling mother.  While searching for materials for her family she found that there was a need for an easy access directory.  That is exactly what HERD has brought the homeschool community!

HERD is chock full of valuable information, and it’s easy to navigate and find the information and materials you need.  Here are some of the valuable resources it provides:

  1. Curricula and Resources: all have brief descriptions, including website and email links for help with more specific questions.
  2. Homeschool Support Groups: all have a description with geographic area, type of support group, benefits, requirements, and costs, making it easy to find and research a group that fits your family’s needs.
  3. Special Offer Page: features free resources, discounts and coupons, and special contests from across the web.
  4. Blog: features articles on a wide variety of homeschooling related topics, with multiple contributing authors.
  5. HERD News: a free monthly e-newsletter with great articles to help the novice or experienced home educator.

Newsletter topics include:

  • Homeschooling large families
  • Basic homeschooling questions
  • Starting your support group or coop
  • Math
  • Science
  • Special needs
  • Grammar
  • Writing
  • Foreign languages
  • Physical education
  • Reading
  • High school
  • College

And More!

Every month the Newsletter focuses on two Featured Resources. These resources supply unique and valuable materials for the home educator.

The directory is constantly expanding and adding new resources, support groups, and new features.

Visit the HERD at www.HomeEDdirectory.com

Posted in Homeschooling, Independent Education, Inspiration, Tips for Parents

What Homeschooling Is and Isn’t

Homeschooling is many things, but the most important thing about it is that it is a decision any family can make.

Given that your child’s education is one of the most important decisions you will make, homeschooling shouldn’t be written off as unworkable without at least being given fair and realistic consideration, taking everyone’s needs into account.  Many parents would love to be involved in their children’s education, and if this describes you, then what factors in your own life are holding you back from making this investment in your parenting relationship?

Even parents who don’t want to be directly involved in their children’s education probably would like to give their children as much freedom as possible in life, and there’s no reason this freedom shouldn’t include the ability to pursue an independent education.  Given a choice, young people will voluntarily learn the things they need to know to realize their vision in the world.

Homeschooling is most certainly not, however, a duplication of the classroom inside the home, with kids sitting at desks and mom or dad playing teacher until the bell rings.  Home schooling does not have to be (and probably shouldn’t be) confined to the home, but is more accurately schooling that takes place everywhere outside the classroom (which is a big place, with lots of options).

Posted in Educational Reform, Homeschooling, Independent Education, Tips for Parents

Your Child’s Education: The Most Important Decision You Will Ever Make

Most parents, I’m guessing, would agree with the title of this post.  But what are the reasons this decision is so important?  There are many that are conceivable, but in my opinion there is one that is primary.

Happiness.

The decision about how to handle your children’s education is one of the most important influences you will ever have on their opportunities for happiness.  It ranks right up there with how to handle a divorce or whether or not to circumcise.  If you want to maximize your children’s opportunities for happiness, this is something that deserves a lot of attention.

For a long time the almost universal choice has been to send your kids to the local school and be done with it, and this choice is still popular today.  But as the Digital Renaissance picks up speed, the quality and diversity of the educational options available continues to multiply and expand.  More and more families continually create varied and individual alternatives to traditional schooling by taking advantage of the free availability of information and the benefits of collaboration.

Tomorrow: an examination of what homeschooling really means.

Posted in Homeschooling

The TRUTH About Homeschooling! Busting Homeschooling Myths, Part 2 of 3

Part 1 of this series explained that the common misconception that homeschooling does not provide opportunities to learn social skills is not only flat out wrong, it is actually the opposite of the truth!  Today’s article, from Family Education, explains why, and includes research to back it up.  Before you go spouting the common prejudice that homeschool kids don’t learn social skills, first ask yourself if kids do, in fact, learn social skills in public school (my school sure didn’t have a “social skills 101” class–did yours?).  Next ask yourself if public school is really a GOOD place to learn social skills.  In my experience, kids in public school are as likely to be exposed to bullying, ostracism, unhealthy peer pressure, and cliqueish behavior as they are to mature, developmentally healthy socially relations.  If kids DO develop social skills in public school, it’s in spite of it, not because of it!

Follow the link below for more homeschooling myths exposed and facts revealed:

Social Skills and Homeschooling: Myths and Facts – FamilyEducation.com.

Posted in Homeschooling

Are Homeschooled Students “Sheltered and Isolated”? Busting Homeschooling Myths, Part 1 of 3

Many people may not realize it, but homeschooling and independent education are the future.  I’m doing my part to usher in the new, enlightened era by sharing, over the next few days, three excellent articles that dispel the most common myths about homeschooling.  Today’s article from Technorati addresses the myth that homeschooled children are “unsociable” and turns it on its head!

3 Homeschooling Myths, Busted..