Curious about homeschooling
Well, this is a hard question. For me, it's a "lifestyle" choice. I have a vision for what "pursuing an education" should be like and when my boys attended primary school, our experience was not at all what I wanted, for me or them. Too much crying, frustration, and learning to "hate" certain subjects. If my younger son had to read all of the required books in school, I'm pretty sure he'd graduate "hating" reading. What a shame that is. I'm lucky to be in a situation where we have enough money to be comfortable without my having a "regular" job.
I cherish having the freedom to encourage my children's education as we see fit. We use a self-directed student-centric approach, where the learner decides what's important to him and then we work together to lay out and implement an educational plan. Some call this method "eclectic", meaning that we use lots of different styles and methods. Some homeschoolers replicate the school methods at home--timing, subjects, teaching methods... I don't see this as helpful for me. Others use a method called "unschooling" that works from the premise that people are learning all of the time, and that education comes from living a life (the author John Holt coined the term). I'm not sure if we're unschoolers or not. I'm not sure why homeschooling has grown, except to say that it offers a wonderful life and maybe more and more people can see that and choose it for themselves, if they can.
The potential of homeschooling is, IMHO, the implementation of self-directed, student-centric learning. I'm just finishing the book "Disrupting Class" by Clayton Christensen, Curtis W. Johnson, Michael B. Horn. Their premise is that over the next few years methods of educating children are going to move sharply toward computer-based courses and then to student-centric learning, based in online adaptive learning tools. I think wikieducator will be part of making this happen. The authors are likely talking only about the USA, but I think student-centric learning will become the dominant paradigm world-wide, hopefully in my lifetime.
I'm interested to see how countries that don't allow homeschooling will deal with this change. I wonder if entrenched schools will be capable of making the shift, and what will happen if they don't.
--Alison Snieckus 03:41, 10 February 2009 (UTC)
I just found this as I was looking for references to self-directed and student-directed learning in WikiEducator. Thanks. I appreciate your thoughts and ideas.
Most of the WikiEducator content seems to be for teachers, and I don't see teachers adopting or re-using the work of other WikiEducators.
Perhaps going directly to self-directed learners - specifically Sixth Graders and promoting Science and Math learning objects might be more effective.
Your comments are very helpful.
--Valerie Taylor 01:03, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for extending this discussion...definitely my favorite topic. In my experience, self-directed learners demand (in the economic sense) a better than average learning environment. It doesn't happen all at once, but once the learner realizes that he/she has a choice about such things, can be truly in charge of her own learning, it's amazing how effective that young person can be in identifying and adapting learning environments to be right for him/her. I do think that this *consumer* power will be a main driving force for change, although adults will surely play a key role in advising and guiding the decisions.
I do think we need more learning resources that are directed to the learner. Increasingly I see online resources that are an odd mix of directly useable-by-the-learner materials, with teacher notes fit in here and there. I think we are right now in the midst of this shift and it's the digital tools (for both authors and learners) that are urging us forward. The new materials will be so much more than online textbooks! And it's key to recognise that learning greatly benefits from community and collaboration -- yay, moodle.
Earlier today I saw a review (link may only be available for a short while) of a new book called Rethinking Education in the Age of Technology: The Digital Revolution and Schooling in America by Allan Collins and Richard Halverson. The book advances the idea that "if schools cannot change fast enough to keep pace with the advances in learning technologies, learning will leave schooling behind." I think this is already happening in some places.
It's not clear how this is all going to work with our grade- and standards-based system. In a learner centered world, the learning of any one topic might occur at a number of different points in the process. Many young people are quite *uneven* in their knowledge base, that is very deep in some areas but rather shallow and *behind* in others. I have a saying for kids like this, "Feed their strengths and the weaknesses will come along." This approach doesn't work with our current standards-based system, but it seems that recognition of the breadth of human variability needs to take a more central role in our educational system. I look forward to seeing how these forces play out.
Thanks again for noticing. The future is right around the corner and WE get to help make it happen.