Saturday, October 27, 2012

Teaching My Own: My North Star

Eight months after John Holt's book, Teach Your Own, turned my thoughts about education upside down, I was homeschooling.

Now, despite the enormity of this responsibility, I was feeling fairly confident. My first-born daughter was clever and interested in all sorts of things. The first five and a half years of her life had been full of little outings and projects and adventures in the world, so it was natural for our homeschooling activities to be more of the same. And since she was already a self-taught reader, we were definitely ahead of the game.

For me, the important question was not "What are we going to do?"

Instead, I focused my efforts on this one: "What is our goal?"

It seemed to me that, like every other endeavor in life, my plan for homeschooling ought to have a goal.

Joe Orman

I'll admit that at first, the idea of setting a goal for educating my daughters seemed unnecessary. Based on my traditional experience, wasn't it fairly obvious that the goal of education is to graduate with a diploma after 13 years, and then go on to college?

Slowly, it dawned on me that my daughters' education could be much more than just a measure of years and a piece of paper.

Neil Postman's book, The End Of Education, was pivotal in shaping my ideas and helping me explore the possibilities of a goal-oriented plan for homeschooling.

But in the end, it was John Holt's philosophy that most directly influenced my approach.

The ultimate goal of my homeschooling efforts - my deepest dream for my daughters' educations - was that they would grow up to be people who loved learning, and considered it a natural and exciting part of everyday life.

NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day

And for the next two decades, that dream was my Polaris, guiding me through countless decisions and choices, always reminding me of what was most important. It served me very well.

* * * * *

A postscript: My youngest daughter is in college now, following her passion to become an astronomer. She is not one to post a lot of links on Facebook, so when I recently found this one on her timeline, I knew it must be special to her and I decided to check it out. As I watched this interview, taking in the profound thoughts, deep discussions and witty exchange between these two very interesting men, I knew that my deepest dreams for her had come true.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please comment...I'd love to hear from you!