Tuesday, August 21, 2012

How a Homeschool (or Similar) Environment Makes a Difference

Today's proof brought to you by various sources in the form of an infographic. I am linking directly to the site, as the picture I have is quite small and hard to read.

Do take the time to visit the site; the comparison is startling. The idea is that it doesn't even have to be traditional homeschooling (oxymoron?); when you remove kids from the traditional school system and give them options and different methods to learn material and a say in what they are doing, they take off and achieve.

The thing that strikes me most is when I talk to parents who say their kids are "fine" at public school; I know immediately from this comment that they cannot envision how much better their kids could be in a smaller, more personal environment. They cannot picture a world beyond multiple choice tests and standardized scores that compare them to their peers (instead of measuring their progress against themselves). The kids themselves are not learning how to think; they are memorizing and regurgitating. Even the finest public schools are still spending most of their time on testing and test prep, so a kid doing "fine" there may be getting content knowledge with no idea of how to use it.

I want to take a moment and say that this, and any previous posts, are not set up to tear down teachers. Many of my friends still teach in public systems, and they are the hardest working people I know. I don't have a single teacher friend who doesn't spend hours every night and most of the summer in professional development and work-related tasks (grading, planning, etc.). The environment of public schools is not of their making, and some of them work very hard to create islands of sanity in a world of overzealous test focus.

The facts remain, though, that an environment out of traditional schooling that embraces alternative methods of teaching and learning is the best for kids of all ages and backgrounds. It is time to look harder at the facts and act accordingly.

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