Education Choices

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I worry about education choices.  It isn’t a daily or constant worry, but sometimes things will pop up or negative comments will hit me hard.

Last night, on Madame Secretary, the grown daughter went on a job interview and was flatly refused consideration because she had dropped out of college.  Prior to that information being divulged, the interviewer had been very interested in her.  (in the show, it was proven that the requirement of having a degree was completely arbitrary.  When the daughter told the interviewer that the Secretary of State was her mother, she immediately became a viable candidate for the job again.  Degree be damned…)

Another recent incident that made me question our education choices came from an unexpected source.  I’m not sure why I let it get to me.  I know there are opponents to homeschooling but I don’t hear their opinions daily, in the circles where I live.  “Homeschooling doesn’t work,” was the blanket statement that got back to me.  It came from a homeschooling failure, so how would I expect him to have a realistic view of the situation?  He isn’t any kind of expert and not someone whose opinion I value. 

I think about how much of the information that was crammed down my throat in school made an impact in my life.  NOT MUCH.  But what about the discipline of going everyday?  What about the expectations and responsibility that it provided for me?  What about the fortitude? 

Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t put my boys back in the public school environment willingly for anything.  I think the cons greatly outweigh the pros.  But there are good things that we’re missing out on. 

I have the almost constant question running through my head:  “Am I asking enough of them?”  Then, on good days, it becomes:  “Your education is getting in the way, Tina.  Children learn.  You just have to provide them with the materials.”

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I read about homeschooled children getting into college, no problem.  But what kind of self-motivated, over-achiever kid is this?  Our boys are pretty typical in their interests and motivations these days.  Discipline and working-towards-a- goal show themselves most frequently when trying to level up on a video game…  and last time I checked, that isn’t REAL.  That’s why unschooling didn’t work for us.  (We’re back to textbooks this year, and still I worry that it isn’t enough.)

Will and Scotty asked me the other day, what grades they’re in.  They both needed to confirm the information because they couldn’t remember with certainty.

When we started homeschooling, I thought it was great that homeschool textbooks aren’t written for just one grade level.  They span a couple years.  That made it possible, in most subjects, to teach both boys from the same book even though they are a year apart.  Now I wonder, did I hold Will back or did I push Scotty ahead?  (feels like I held Will back.)  But if that’s the case, did it need to happen?  Am I challenging the boys enough?  There were times when the public school approach was too challenging for them…  We had a lot of talks with teachers about staying focused and sitting still and not spacing out… 

These days, with our homeschooling, there isn’t a lot of repetition because they bore and thoughts stray easily.  School doesn’t take very long because of this (and because the student to teacher ratio is really good.)

Next year Will will be a freshman in high school and I’ll need to start keeping/creating transcripts.  Right now he doesn’t have much interest in internships or community service or starting his own company.  (all the really cool things I hear go-getter homeschooled kids do  and supposedly the stand-out things that colleges look for in homeschooled candidates.)

The boys aren’t babies anymore.  This shit is starting to matter now.

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One thought on “Education Choices

  1. While I certainly am no expert on education and certainly not on homeschooling, my two cents on your post lean this way: try not to let the idea that all the things “crammed down [your] throat” didn’t impact you very much cause you to discount them as you educate your boys. There is a reason traditional education — not the building or its location — has worked for hundreds of years. The notions of critical thinking, creativity, problem solving, writing well … these are all hallmarks of having had a good, solid, helpful, inspiring education, wherever we received said education. This is why these things will help get them into college. Add to that a connection to the world beyond themselves — volunteering, helping, putting one’s own way through college with creativity and hard work, etc., and colleges look favorably. The homeschooled go-getters you mention are kids who are go-getters no matter where they are schooled, more than likely. You kids may not ever be those kids. Or they may have to try harder. I know mine will. The lady in ‘Madame Secretary’ was likely bound by job requirements established higher up, but could be creative with an internship or something for such a well-connected newbie like the daughter, at least within the confines of tv (I like to tell myself that, anyway!).

    The subjects we study, whether we see an immediate, practical application to them or not, help lead us to these things. Architects use geometry, lawyers and law enforcement use critical thinking and problem solving skills, etc. What about Scott in IT? What academic subject(s) leans towards that? Chefs and bakers know chemistry and math. So do nurses. Heck, video game programming involves vectors and things they study in math that I in no way understand, lol. You know these things already. I used to tell my English students that I didn’t care if they finished the class and could never list the 8 parts of speech again as long as they speak and write correctly using them, but for the purposes of the class, learning them is important. Feel free to break and ignore the rules once you’re famous. 🙂

    Your path has seemed to me as I’ve followed your journey to be one seeking knowledge, discovery, and education for your children on your and their own terms. There isn’t a reason in the world you shouldn’t continue to do just that. But if I can make a suggestion, and this may have nothing to do with your greater point (but is something you’ve alluded to on occasion), it would be not to discount parts of a traditional education if they don’t seem immediately applicable or desired. You never know what path your boys will be on in the years to come, and being well-rounded is the best prep you can give them for that as-yet-unknown journey. Happy trails, teacher-mom!

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