Curious about homeschooling
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.