I was on YouTube looking for this funny clip about homeschooling by comedian Michael Jr. And the recommended videos blew my mind.
First, there are a slew of videos of homeschool moms showing people their daily schedule. You know what? I don’t believe it. Because every homeschool mom I know puts together an intricate schedule at one point or another, and it never works.
The first reason schedules don’t work is that a homeschool parent is not only the parent but also the spouse and secretary and house manager. So, for example, if you are installing deck cable railing and you don’t want your kids to fall over the unprotected edge of the deck during installation, the family schedule is wrecked for that week.
The other reason schedules don’t work because if you are letting the kid do self-directed learning (which is one of the biggest benefits of homeschooling) then the schedule is changing. The kid quits stuff, the kid makes new friends who have different schedules. The kid goes to special classes. The kid decides to stay up late and then can’t get up the next day.
These are common results of letting kids make their own choices about what and how they learn. Parents WANT to have a schedule that the kids follow every day. That’d be great. But really that’s what school does so they can handle a 30:1 student-to-teacher ratio. Otherwise, the schedule thing isn’t nearly as important as the kids constantly having to find a vision for the particular day.
The second type of video is moms telling you what curriculum they use. But it’s not like they are using video curriculum — they are using books. So I want to know, if moms are making the kids use text-based materials all day long, why are they making videos to talk about it?
I can’t tell if I think these moms are pathetic for not being able to write about their text-based curriculum. Or they are pathetic for making their kids use text when they prefer video.
I was thinking the moms are making money from the videos. There are lots of places that get you PR through guest blogging. But I don’t see that happening in these videos. Moms don’t want money as much as they want external validation. Even at Harvard Business School, men want financial success and women want social success.
Ever since I saw the irresistible Wikipedia list of all-time worst music, I’ve been fascinated by the concept of worst. Because the worst is never the worst, it’s just the worst of the best. The worst of the worst would be so bad that it’s not worth investigating. This is why I’m always flattered to be taken down on New York magazine’s blog.
And now I’ll pay it forward by nominating this blogger as the worst of the video blogging moms: Homeschool On.
Here’s a 31-minute video about her curriculum choices and she says it’s a quick overview and I should go to her blog for more detailed info. The thought of more detailed info than that makes me want to slit my wrists, but I go to her blog because I want to know how she’s homeschooling five young kids and doing videos and blog posts.
I find her post that reveals her Secret to Doing it All. It turns out her secret is God. I’m not kidding. God is with her so she can do homeschooling. I think this qualifies as the commodification of spirituality. But that’s not the reason Homeschool On is the worst blog ever. What really gets me is that she’s saying if I’m not succeeding as a homeschooler, instead of trying to fix what’s not working, I need to focus more on God.
How. How do people think like this? I don’t know. Maybe someone can tell me in the comments. Meanwhile, I’m thinking that homeschooling is not a movement but more like a Rorschach test. If you are a religious nut then you will make homeschooling that. If you are an achievement nut, you’ll make homeschooling that. If you’re an intellectual snob or nature fiend, whatever. Homeschooling is a template for giving the family a focus. And all those moms talking about their curricula? Their focus is following rules.
Does this mean that homeschooling for me is writing about messing up my kids and then making money from it? Yes. That’s it. That’s homeschooling for me.
Also, the picture up top: see that white square sheet on the back blue wall? That’s our daily schedule. And this is the only official record of its existence because I tore it off the wall and threw it out.