When you start a blog you have no idea what it will become. I thought this would be a place where I try to figure out what to teach my kids. But really, you are not learning that here. You are probably learning about farm life. And video games. And a range of other stuff that is not curriculum.
I had assumed that I was homeschooling to move toward some great, magical curriculum. But the truth is, I have not found that. No one has research that backs some great, magic curriculum. But there is plenty of research about how it’s insane to keep your kids in school.
There is so much research about how useless school is that you have to be in complete denial to put your kids in school. This blog ends up being about my discovery that the evidence is positively overwhelming, to the point where anything you do at home is better. Here are some examples:
Companies don’t care about a candidate’s education. Top companies are saying straight out that academic achievement doesn’t matter to them because school environments are artificial. Companies are more interested in the behavioral interview which, by nature, requires a person to have been in the real world, doing self-directed work, solving real problems that they care about. (Here’s info about how to ace a behavioral interview.)
But seriously, even Men’s Health, the most mass market of all magazines assumes we all know that school prepares us for nothing. It’s just we choose to separate this information from the decision process of whether to send our kids to school.
Outsiders can easily see how absurd the US public schools are. The Economist gives a good summary of the national curriculum standards from a European perspective. All factions are in agreement that public schools currently do not work. People are arguing about how to fix it. This means that the people reframing curricula think the current curricula is a time waste.
This means people opening up charter options more widely think the current system doesn’t work. (Newsflash: charter schools don’t perform any better.) So any parent putting their kid into the school system knows the kids are going into a broken system. The hope is that by using their kids as guinea pigs the reformers can fix the schools before the kids graduate. Which of course they cannot.
Private school is no better than public school. So many people tell me they think school is okay because their kids are in private school. If your kid is in one of the most selective private schools in the nation, then yes, this is true. But the Atlantic reports that if you’re paying for private school where 60% of the kids who apply get in, your kid’s education stinks. Sorry. You are doing no better than if you sent your kid to public school, so you should just save your money.
Also, we know that the best private schools are not teaching kids to take tests and are modeling themselves after homeschool. So unless you are super rich (those schools are about $60K a year) you are not doing your kids any favors by sending them to private school.
The evidence that private school is no better than public school is doing a good bit to fuel the surge of middle class families choosing to homeschool.
So here’s why my blog doesn’t bother with curriculum. Because it doesn’t matter. School is not working. There is no way to fix it. Your kids waste your time in school. So you are backed against a wall: you have to take them out. I’m fascinated by this reality because so many people choose to ignore it when it is so starkly true.
What really matters to me is living in reality and not using denial to get out of hard decisions. I have to homeschool. How I do it is another issue. But every day I tell myself that there’s no way what I’m doing with my curriculum decisions could be any worse than putting my kids in school. Given the evidence of how bad school is, what curriculum to use when you take your kids out is relatively inconsequential: all are fine and using none are fine.
Which works out well for me. Because I have a lot of great pictures of goats.