Mothering and fathering compared to standardized instruction

Apart from all the ‘how to’ information, you can ‘start homeschooling’ by continuing as you began with your child. Many of us carry a notion of education as a formal activity that occurs while seated and holding some kind of wood product: pencils, paper or books. Our learning model focuses not on how we ourselves learned but rather how we were managed, how our crowd of 25 or 30 was controlled. We were in rows or lines, we spoke when we were allowed to speak, we sat when directed to sit and stood when told to stand. Sitting during standing times or standing during sitting times was an infraction. We learned when we were told to learn and what we were told to learn — or at least that’s what we remember.

For organizational and safety reasons crowd control is necessary because of so many small bodies in one room. Thirty little people in a room for five hours at a time, for days, weeks and months in a row with no control would be bedlam. Teachers need to announce standing time, sitting time, talking time, reading time. Homeschooling is different because our homes generally do not contain large numbers of children. It isn’t necessary to make three children walk in line to get from the living room to the bathroom — the idea is ludicrous. Mothers of larger families will already have devised organizational methods to cope with meals, outings and other group activities. These mothers may find they need a bit more organization in their homeschooling than mothers of fewer children.

I’m on the ‘back’ side of raising four children, one publicly-schooled and three homeschooled, and my impression of that time is that compared to standardized instruction, involved mothering and fathering, informed mothering and fathering, ingenious mothering and fathering, and insightful, inspired, integrated, intelligent, intentional, interested, intuitive, inventive and invested mothering and fathering, are at least equal to the standardization, if not superior.


Copyright 2006, Valerie Bonham Moon

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