I recently attended a homeschool convention and I went with an open mind. With a 17 year career in education, I have developed some strong ideas about all topics related to education. One of the things experienced homeschooling mamas have stressed to me is that I should not apply what I’ve been conditioned to believe of education to the homesschool setting (my own words and interpretation). I’ve seen similar sentiments on blogs: parents who transition from classroom to homeschool settings have to relearn how to teach because it’s so different. I even had one mother tell me during a convention workshop, upon discovering I had a teaching background, “Oh, I imagine you’ll have to deal with a lot of misplaced expectations.”
Frankly, I find this all to be bewildering. I wholeheartedly believe that research-based educational practices are just as relevant, necessary, and powerful in the homeschool setting as in every other learning setting. These include, but are not limited to: clearly articulated learning goals that describe what the learner should understand, know, and be able to do; assessment that informs decisions; proactive planning that addresses student needs, strengths, and interests; quality curriculum; and supportive learning environments. I don’t anticipate the carrying out of such practices in a homeschool setting to be identical to other educational settings; nevertheless, I believe them to be non-negotiable for any effective, defensible educational endeavor.
This year, I aim to work out how to apply these practices to the work of homeschooling. I imagine I’ll have some attempts go straight to the “compost pile.” The process – and all the things we learn along the way – is just as important as the end result. I’ll keep track of my process and my end results right here at educationalcompost.com, so feel free to follow along!