Friday, November 12, 2010

What Schools Can Learn from Homeschooling

As homeschoolers, we are always borrowing things from the school systems--teaching techniques, class structures, but particularly curricula and lesson plans.  However, at least some of us think that the schools could learn a thing or two from us as well!

My friend Maria of Natural Math and I wrote an article on this topic that has just been published on the Shareable website.  You can access the first part of the article here.

The gist of our argument is that while some schools are making some incredible strides in transforming themselves so that students experience success rather than failure (see my recent post on "Waiting for Superman" for more information), they still have to operate within the established school paradigm.  But there are some educators who are not constrained by the traditional school structures and funding mechanism.  Those are, of course, homeschoolers--or, as we prefer to call them in the article, family educators, because most of what we do is very different from "schooling," and if you are anything like us, it seems like we're never at home!  For example, I'm writing this post at a local library while my son is writing articles for our homeschool Newspaper Club that is run by another friend of mine.  And it is this kind of community-based learning--you teach my son to write, I'll teach your daughter about history or psychology (two of the classes I'm teaching right now)....and, of course, Maria will teach them all her wonderfully vibrant and engaging approach to math--that is the focus of our article.  It is creating networks of teachers and learning that allows us to prepare our children to participate effectively in the broad spectrum of the curriculum (not just the subjects we personally know well) without spending a fortune, since most of us are single-income families.

In the article, we're not arguing that everyone should homeschool, or that homeschooling is inherently better.  Also, schools obviously have to deal with a whole range of issues that home educator networks usually don't need to address.  Our point is just to present home education as a realm where teachers and learners have the freedom to redesign education from the ground floor up, and to suggest that communities just consider some of the things that are working for us in homeschooling as we continue to investigate the kind of fundamental school reform that is required for our information society.

Anyway, check out the article at and let us know what you think.

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