“What's gotten in the way of education in the United States is a theory of social engineering that says there is ONE RIGHT WAY to proceed with growing up.” - John Taylor Gatto
By necessity COVID-19 has put millions of children at home with their parents or extended family. As schools have moved online (or, in some states, simply failed to educate) families have been given a glimpse in to their children's learning that they haven't had for almost a century. What they are finding, by and large, is that the amount of 'work' done during a typical school day can be compressed in to 1-2 hours (depending on the child's age). This has allowed an unprecedented opportunity for children across the United States to once again engage in authentic learning - learning how to be, learning how to thrive, and learning long lost skills that are useful in everyday life.
Learning How to Be - Build an Environment for Innovation
The opportunity for children to create, innovate, and use their inherent genius has never been greater. This is what children do. It is how they 'be'. Through play they experiment and learn about the world. Kindergartens outperforming adults in the marshmallow challenge is merely one example of this ingenuity.
Learning How to Thrive - Set an Agenda
Children are finding, in families who support them, that an agenda each day ensures that things all get done on time. The allure of the iPad or the game console is great - scheduling it in at a particular time ensures it does not become all encompassing on the child's time. Setting a goal - doing the work first - makes sure that there is time for play. In my home work (school work) happens first, housework and homesteading second, then there is time for the passion projects of the day. In this way children learn, in this small way, that freedom comes at a price (do the work, enjoy the freedom) and thus learn how to thrive in 'the real world'.
Learning Real Skills
I need only look in my local community to see children once again learning new skills. I happen to live in a rural area so I see children fixing tractors, tending to livestock, and helping to clear new land. A quick view at Instagram sees bread being baked and proper meals being cooked and served (and I can only hope the children are involved!). This 'back to basics' movement was once the foundation of American ingenuity.
The Rise of the Home School?
I only recently relaunched StickyBricky. In 'real life' I'm actually the founder of an independent school. As such I've been amazed at the progress of our students under these circumstances. More poignantly I've been impressed by the children who join my classes on Outschool. They come ready to learn and inspired. They are, perhaps, the 'real life' (across the Zoom platform) definition of children once again setting their own course.
The largest hurdle to the home school movement will be one of childcare versus work demands. The economy requires most of us to be 'somewhere else' during the workday, not home taking care of our children. However, some people will find that they can work from home. They might even prefer that so that they can live the best years of being a parent to their child.
With this view of education as it stands they may very well decide not to send their children back to school this Fall.
Resources Curated by StickyBricky