Gaps in Education

No matter where or when a student attends school, there will always be something that student doesn’t learn about that will be relevant in the future.  It happens with public schools, private schools, homeschools, you name it.  One kind of education hasn’t cornered the market on educational gaps.  They simply happen.  Nobody can know everything.  Keep in mind that each child is unique and different learning styles apply.  Teachers are also unique individuals.  Considering all of those variables, how can we be surprised that there are gaps in the first place?

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Our homeschooling journey has felt like one struggle after another this year.  My daughter has turned 18, and she’s a senior.  If she’s not interested in something, she just won’t put forth an effort.  Kids are kids, right?  She has refused to try the ACT test again after her first (and only) attempt.  I understand that she feels discouraged.  I wish colleges would move toward other ways to gauge college readiness instead of relying on high-stakes tests that cannot possibly predict potential or anything else.  It seems to me that test makers are raking in millions at the expense of our children.  Big bucks are paid (not to students or teachers) for testing that serves only to exclude students from higher education.  How about changing our system to invite all students to participate?  How about finding what ignites a student’s passion and work from there?  How about making college an affordable option for everyone?

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The things that interest my child are different from what interests other students.  I will tell you, however, that she is an expert when it comes to anime, cosplay and costume design among other things.  Maybe she should make a portfolio of her passions so she can show college admission staff what she has done and can do.  She amazes me when she casually mentions things she has learned from videos she watched while I was at work.  I have learned from her.  She’s resourceful, too.  She will get interested in something and dig until she has the information she wanted.  My girl is also a talented mimic, able to sing in several languages, and she learned online.  On her own.  Without my input.  I had virtually nothing to do with her research, and she did a fine job of learning something daily about various topics.

Maybe when she decides to try college, she will find the perfect fit.  I sure hope so!  She’ll need a place as amazing and unique as she is so she can fill the gaps and move on to a fabulous future.  I should keep reminding myself that she won’t be the only student filling gaps.

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Planting Seeds

I had a “Conversation” with my teen today. Capital C. After assuring her she was not in trouble, I asked some pointed questions. What’s the worst part about school? She had a ready answer—the “jacking around” is distracting and the comments some of the boys make are disgusting. Hmmmm. I then asked her what her idea of a good school day would look like and what classes she would be interested in taking. She is interested in French, astronomy, art and choir. I already knew she wanted to learn French, but the astronomy surprised me. After we had chatted a bit longer, I asked the most important question: would you like to be homeschooled again?

She smiled, then frowned. Her friend, Gen, gets to go to prom this year for the first time. She doesn’t want to miss that. I get it. Those two kids are practically joined at the hip! She surprised me by going back to the good parts of homeschooling. We’ve done it before. We could do it again.

I think if we did file as a homeschool, it would be misinterpreted by my colleagues and the community in general. It would be mistakenly perceived as a rejection of our local school. Let me say very clearly: our local school is GREAT, and the teachers and administrators are awesome people who sincerely care about the students. Do not doubt it! I haven’t taught in a better public school.

In our case, homeschooling would not be a rejection of the school; it would be a parental decision based on the needs of my child. It is an option any parent can choose. If we end up making that choice, I hope everyone will see it for what it is: a loving sacrifice a family makes for a child’s benefit.

The Chicken Chick