Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Learning Dangerously Newsletter #4

Welcome back to the newsletter. Several readers suggested I give it a name and I’m thinking about calling it: Homeschooling for the Rest of Us. What do you think? With thankfulness on my mind this week, let me first say I’m very grateful you’ve signed up for these shortcuts, hints, homeschoolers in the news and other random bits I’ve found useful or interesting. In fact, I’m so grateful that, as promised, a new subscriber this week is receiving a free, autographed copy of THE YEAR OF LEARNING DANGEROUSLY. The random drawing pulled...JENNIFER HILL! Jennifer, congratulations! Reach out to me at Quinn@Learningdangerously.com and I’ll get that book out to you straightaway. I’ll do more gift drawings in the coming weeks, so stay tuned. I got several requests this month which included notes along the lines of: “I’m trying to decide whether homeschooling is a good idea.” Well, here’s a confession...Me too. I can tell you tell you everything I’ve learned since we started this adventure, but I don’t know if it’s a good idea. I hope what we’re doing is right for Alice, but I’m knee-deep in it which makes me possibly the last person to ask. Then again, the parents who bust their humps to pay for private school are also hoping this is the right choice but don’t always know for certain; as are the parents of the public-school students, charter-school students, and boarding-school students. What can be the right choice for one child can be a unqualified disaster for another child – even if they’re in the same family! You can spend months researching the school decision and end up with your child having more problems in school than the kid down the street whose parents who only noticed the local elementary school the week before Labor Day. Here’s a story: I’ve blurred some of the details, but the parts which are relevant are true. A friend had three kids, the last one much younger. By the time he was in sixth grade, his mother had already seen two children through high school and knew exactly how stupid and distracted hormones made her older son and daughter. After careful research, she decided that an all-boys school would keep him focused, not something which came easily to him. After jumping through a series of flaming hoops, she got him enrolled into the perfect boys’ school. Her next six years were going to be better than she’d experienced with her first two children. Two weeks after starting seventh grade, the boy came out to his parents, tearfully admitting he’d fallen in love with his new best friend at school, who was straight. His mother now admits he didn’t learn a single damn thing for the entire year except how to cry in the bathroom. He’s great now, but it wasn’t the path any of them thought it would be. Is there a lesson here? Maybe it’s that life doesn’t always reward good intentions. Or ambitious research. Still, I will promise you one thing: if you keep talking and listening to your child, whatever choice you about their education will be a good choice. Or good enough. Or fixable. I sincerely believe that children simply give up when they believe they aren’t being heard. Homeschool, don’t homeschool, just try to see them for who they are and what they need. Everything else is negotiable. If you’re even considering home-schooling as an option, there a few things you might want to think about while you weigh your options. I did some videos covering just that. No matter what you end up choosing, I hope you keep coming back to the LEARNING DANGEROUSLY Facebook page, as I’m going to keep putting up links to things I think children (and parents) might find interesting. Let’s just say that torturing Gummy Bears and setting tea-bags on fire is highly educational, no matter where you usually get your education. Finally, homeschoolers in the news; is it possible that one of the benefits of homeschooling is healthier children? If you're in the US, Happy Thanksgiving! Next week's topic: How do homeschooling families handle AP tests? Quinn

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