Posted by: Tracy Barsamian Ventola | February 15, 2013

OFF KLTR Homeschooling Research Continues…

free range learning

So my research into homeschooling continues.  What is totally amazing to me is that Rob is warming up to the idea.  My Rob.  12 years of Catholic School Rob.  If HE thinks it’s a good idea…maybe it really is?!

So here is a recount of my homeschool research (thus far!).

1.  I started with the Well-Adjusted Child:  The Social Benefits of Homeschooling and it was sooo good.  I was ready to sign us up with the Arlington School system as a homeschooling family for the 2013-14 school year!

Here is the Booklist review – “Gathercole, who has spent 10 years homeschooling her three children, says what most people wonder about is whether homeschooled children can work and play with others, in other words, their socialization skills. She begins by noting that “once upon a time, all children were homeschooled” before more formal schooling and the development of “school culture.” She notes that conventional schools offer “socialization” through peer pressure, the stress of choosing between popularity and academic performance, and excessive attention to appearance.  Drawing on her own experiences as a homeschooler, she details the networks of other homeschoolers who provide opportunities for their children—and themselves—to socialize. Gathercole also points to research showing that homeschooled children have stronger self-concepts than children attending conventional schools. Focusing on how homeschoolers address misperceptions, she explores concepts of socialization, the importance of friendships with other  children, strong relationships with parents, and how homeschoolers eventually integrate into the “real world.” Great encouragement for parents who are homeschooling and those who are considering it.”  Bush, Vanessa.

2.  I then read three homeschool classics – that I’m glad that I read.  They provide a good history of the homeschool movement.

Family Matters:  Why Homeschooling Makes Sense by David Guterson.  Didn’t love it.  It’s kind of dated.  The author is a public school teacher and he and his wife homeschool their children.  It was headier than I would have liked.

Teach Your Own, The John Holt Book of Homeschooling  Also heady.  Also dated.

Dumbing Us Down by John Taylor Gatto.  This one is wild!  Gatto is a NYC public school teacher – who won a teacher of the year award!  And boy is he angry!  Angry about the state of public education.  He is a huge proponent of homeschooling.  A good read.  But since I am not considering taking my child out of the public school system, it really didn’t speak to me.  Glad I read it, though.

3.  And then I read Homeschooling:  A Patchwork of Days:  Share a Day with 30 Homeschooling Families and wanted to cry.  So many of the family’s days sounded awful!  I cannot sit at the kitchen table and teach my children from a set curriculum.  Removing them from a school building and bringing the school into our home?!  No way.  No how.  The three of us would NEVER survive that experiment!!

4.  BUT, I am once again feeling inspired! – by the new book that I am reading.  It’s called Free Range Learning:  How Homeschooling Changes Everything by Laure Grace Weldon.  I think it leans towards an unschooling model.  After I finish this book, I’m looking forward to learning more about unschooling.

Here’s the book description from Amazon.com, “Free Range Learning presents eye-opening data about the meaning and importance of natural learning.  …Weldon asks us to consider this choice as participation in a cultural shift toward redefining success; and as a form of collective intelligence with major implications for the future of education. Children are naturally “free range” learners, she says. They build knowledge and skills naturally, within the full spectrum of their daily lives, while observing, exploring and pursuing their interests. This book guides any parent or educator in assisting that process. Free Range Learning demonstrates: * that children and teens can best be nurtured outside of restrictive educational systems * that we can restore what is heart-centered and meaningful back to a central place in education * how networking with others enriches the learning experience for our kids * how homeschooling has become a force of positive social change-making the community a better place for everyone.”

Have a great weekend AND school vacation!!  Tracy

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