Thursday, October 24, 2019


I have taught in at least 25 public schools as a substitute teacher, and this added up to thousands of hours of class time. In that role, a person has an exceptional opportunity to see public education as it really is. 

I am also a very conservative person as to education. I too believe that math, science, and reading are central to education. So, if you think Sir Ken Robinson is some sort of New Age revolutionary in his thoughts on education in America, I will tell you are dead wrong.

The horror of education in America today is that it does not challenge students to be creative and make an adventure of education. Nothing will make an adventure of math like taking his math lesson to a cabinet shop and see how a carpenter applies it. Or, he may go to a construction site and see how to use the square of the sides of a right triangle to determine if the walls are exactly "plumb".

Now, what does this have to do with you if you already have taken your kids out of the broken education system of America and are home schooling? 

Answer: All of the principles which Sir Ken talks about are exactly the same for home schoolers. If your kids are simply plodding along from "pace" to "pace" (the lesson books of each course), and they are not being encouraged to be creative and suggest things they would like to learn, you have failed. 

When we home schooled out children, we had interruptions of about a week or so in which we stopped all academics, and we asked the kids what nation they would like to study during this break. If it was Ireland, for instance, that kid would be taken to the library to check out books on Ireland. I would check out movies out of the public library on Ireland, and the kid watched them. This was pre-Internet days. 

At the dinner table we asked that kid to tell us what he had learned about Ireland. The whole family was drawn into his adventure, and he became a bit of an expert on that country. Mom might read a story to the kids that took place in Ireland in the evening.

Finally, he had to write a report on Ireland, and he had to answer some controversial questions, like, "Why did the Irish and the British have war with each other?"

Our kids loved these breaks, but the most rewarding thing was to see our kids really WANT to explore the History, Nationalism, Politics, Geography, and Culture of far away places. They are in their 30s through 50s today, and they still come up with what they learned when the topic came up.

The topic could also be a vocation or a natural question. But, this curiosity, and learning to do research and write well, are bed rock skills to a complete education. My main objective was to help them learn to do research and write coherently. These two skills are almost totally lost in modern education. Students are taught to memorize and puke up what they learned. The facts make that short trip and are totally forgotten as they move on to the next block of alleged learning.

Now, with the Internet out there to provide the tools and research resources, no home school parent has any excuse for having a bored kid in their home school.


You will love his droll sense of humor.