Philosophical shift

I have been thinking a lot about the philosophical shift necessary to think like a homeschooler.

As a school parent I would ask questions like…

  • What is required?
  • How can my child participate in this program?
  • Can my child meet the schedule and commitment requirements to be on this team?

The assumption as a school parent is that the school knows, and my child needs to be shown how to fit in the mold.

Nothing could be further from my assumptions as a homeschooler. My assumption is that the school doesn’t know my child, I didn’t ever really want my child to fit into a mold, and instead I need to help my child find opportunities.

As a homeschool parent I would ask questions like…

  • What skill will this develop?
  • Which people will my child get to know through doing this activity?
  • How will I develop my child’s interests and talents during this school year?
  • How will my child meet others who have similar interests or talents during this school year?

As I was thinking about all this I came across an article that was talking about “Seven Deadly Sins of Our System of Forced Education.” It’s by Peter Gray, Ph.D.

He decries the fact that our American children are forced to learn things by the adults who have power over them, saying it replaces children having a desire to learn things and doing so because of that desire.

I can’t say I agree with the philosophy of unschooling in its entirety, but I do think that Peter Gray has some things that we need to hear as a society today.

Best quote from this article:

“A theme of the entire series of essays in this blog is that children are biologically predisposed to take responsibility for their own education (for an introduction, see July 16, 2008, post). They play and explore in ways that allow them to learn about the social and physical world around them. They think about their own future and take steps to prepare themselves for it. By confining children to school and to other adult-directed settings, and by filling their time with assignments, we deprive them of the opportunities and time they need to assume such responsibility. “