Monday, January 4, 2010

Homeschool Mondays

Based solely on the forums at the Well Trained Mind, I see a trend among homeschoolers to abandon the unique freedom of homeschooling in favor of formulaic learning in the form of prepackaged curricula. They may not all be doing "school in a box" like Calvert or Sonlight, but it seems everyone describes their school years and their children in terms of products: Lightening Lit, Omnibus, IEW, Beautiful Feet and so on.

I think it is such a shame that the art, the freedom and the joy of creating a unique education for our kids is being lost or abandoned because of the shiny and simple offerings of publishers. Just as the standard public schools have squashed independent thinking in their students, these products do nothing more than offer summary questions and essay questions that are designed to shape a certain "world view". There is no room for opinion, no room for interpretation and the need for the student to defend his position.

There is almost the mind-set that an auto-didact is inferior to someone who passively receives pre-packaged information.

There is an obvious need in some subjects for a curriculum, the most obvious examples being foreign languages, math, logic and grammar. By high school there is a need for a science text for the formal lab sciences. But why for history and literature? Why limit science to a text book and lab manual? Why limit math to the problem set after each lesson? Why is it that homeschool parents can't or won't research, think through then distill material and ideas when those are skills we want to instill in our kids?

I'm going to spend Mondays writing about the nuts and bolts of being an independent minded homeschooler, and hopefully be honest too about my shortcomings and how I'm handling them.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with you. I think that having signatures encourages that kind of definition, too. I've tried to put what I use in mine in case people are looking to see what's out there, but then I end up listing random things at the end, in the style of "we REALLY DO study these things too, even though they aren't a Curriculum!"