Saturday, April 23, 2016

Is School Superior to Homeschool?

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Not long ago I was feeling overwhelmed and upset with some gaps that I had started to notice in one of my children's education. I was noticing that John was absolutely lost anytime another part of the globe was mentioned...geography!

One day John and I were looking at a St. Louis map and I realized that our metropolitan area was a total blur to him. And that wasn't surprising to me; he's not the most alert and aware teenager on the planet, what with his head bent over his phone whenever we are in the car. 

So I was worried, but then I remembered how completely lost I used to be while driving in the metro area when I was his age. And I relaxed a bit.

And I remembered how, at his age, I had no idea where the Middle East was and no idea what was there. And I relaxed even more.

And I remembered how anyplace in South America or Southeast Asia had been a complete mystery to me at his age...and dozens of other places too. And I relaxed even more.

And I saw some school kids who were John's age and I asked them if they knew where a few countries were and, guess what? They didn't know and hadn't even heard of the countries. And I relaxed even more.

It's easy, as a homeschooling parent, to see the gaps and to freak out about them. To see gigantic holes in the plan. To detect a giant deficiency in your well-meaning lessons. It's easy to feel depressed and defeated and to go the total distance and fear that you are messing up your kids forever. Because you are certain that everything matters, that everything weighs a ton. It's easy, sometimes, as a homeschooling parent to think that school kids are getting superior stuff in their contained buildings.

But I want to remind you of something true: School is not perfect.
Teachers are overwhelmed and under resourced. Districts are tragically underfunded. Classrooms are packed. School parents are mired in district rules and school requirements. Students have to follow absurd rules and have to jump through trivial hoops. Kids are bored. Studies feel meaningless to them. And of course there are wonderful things about schools too.

I'm certain that millions of parents wish they could embrace the freedom, the earnestness, and the significant profile of the homeschool lifestyle. I'm sure that millions of kids who are in school would love to homeschool.

And John will be fine. He'll find his way around town one day...just like I did.


Apparently it is Ask an Atheist Week.
Please feel free to ask me anything!

In the meantime, please check out this blogpost
from a friend, Lori,
on her blog called On a Perfectly Lazy Day,
her answer to that common question that atheists get:

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