Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Home Schooling Going Mainstream?

More families opting for home schooling
These articles seem to be showing up more and more often -- this one isn't particularly good, pointing out the usual inane arguments against parents teaching their kids at home, but I loved this line:
Home-schooling methods run the gamut from extremely structured classroom-type lessons to "unschooling" techniques, where the student's interest rather than a curriculum determine the content of the learning.
I've been ranting about the shortcomings of government curriculum this year. I was astounded when none of the teachers in my summer courses seemed to be interested in the question of who should be deciding what goes in the curriculum. I suppose this shouldn't have surprised me -- although all teachers care about their students, they are largely agents of the state.

Another interesting thing about the quote is the range of methods. I suppose that there are as many versions of home schooling as there are home schoolers, and as many reasons for their decisions to home school. My reason would be primarily to design a curriculum with my kids, pursuing interests and exploring big questions with great depth rather than learning a little bit about hundreds of disconnected topics that are mostly meaningless to anyone.

The web also gives parents and students incredible self-directed access to information about almost anything, lessening the dependence on teachers as providers of information and expensive textbooks that may be mostly irrelevant to most readers. It's probably only a matter of time before interested home schoolers start using simple tools like blogs and message boards to create informal courses or communities of's probably happening already. It's exciting to imagine the possibilities.

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