Do they have school today?
It’s always the tentative question, and an indirect one at that, for the real question is not about “them” but about “us.”
Well, sort of. You sort of have school.
One of the many positive byproducts of homeschooling is that your children become accustomed to what they will no doubt, as adults, remember as THAT FREAKING TEACHABLE MOMENT.
Mom cannot give me a peanut butter sandwich without GeorgeWashingtonCarverBlahBlahBlah and potato chips without InEnglandTheyCallThemCrisps and a glass of apple juice without whatsthedifferencebetweenafruitandavegetableblahblahblah
Which means that they don’t blink an eye (although they might certainly roll them) when it’s a “non school” day, but you still try to get all educational on them.
We live in Birmingham, y’all, so we think and do a lot about Dr. King here. We’ve been to the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute a couple of times – and the 12-year old a third as part of a Boy Scout badge thing – but the invitation came from a friend to accompany them, and it was free (aka offer a donation) today, so we headed downtown.
But not before I hurriedly printed out some printables and made them watch a couple of quick videos during breakfast. They ate their food, watched the videos, dutifully did their worksheets, and off we went.
(It’s a very good museum – well worth the visit. Really lays out the before and during of the Civil Rights movement very powerfully and in an inclusive fashion – even bringing in Fr. Coyle, who was murdered by an outraged father/Klansman/Methodist Minister in 1921. )
Then it was lunch with our friends and the dad, who is a physician with a very interesting specialty. Because it was a slow day, he was able to take us to his workplace and give the three boys an excellent overview of what he does and how it’s done. Teachable Moment.
Then (as noted) basketball.
(We did more basketball over the weekend, not only our own game, but shooting down to Auburn to watch the Gators beat Auburn. Our first time in Auburn.)
At the K-12 level, we really still have the 19th-century model. That is relatively easy for the people who are teaching, but it doesn’t necessarily serve children well. It’s not sufficiently customized, and it just doesn’t respond to a lot of the newer things we have learned about how people learn and how to present information. It was designed to teach people how to be punctual and orderly and well-organized and diligent and all the sorts of characteristics that you needed to have a successful Industrial Revolution. We implemented it and we did have a pretty successful Industrial Revolution and the Industrial Revolution made people a lot healthier and wealthier and better off, so that was all great. But the structure of the schools was factory-like. The output of the schools was as close to a standardized product as they could make it. If you were a kid who didn’t fit in very well, if you were a square peg and they wanted you in a round hole, the solution of the traditional schools K-12 was basically to use a bigger hammer. That was hard for a lot of people, and a lot of people didn’t get as much from it as they should have. And it’s no longer necessary.
But the practical reasons for homeschooling are paramount. When you set the city’s gorgeous mosaic of intellectual and cultural offerings against its crazy quilt of formal education, you can’t help but want to supplement your children’s schooling with outings to museums, zoos, historic sites and neighborhoods, and the like. Even in a tight economy, just about every city cultural institution still has an educational division. Why “save” them for weekends or field trips?