Thursday, March 26, 2009

Learning vs. Schooling

Which is more important: the learning, or the documenting of the learning?

The answer seems obvious, but it's not. As a homeschool mommy I not only teach my children; I have to prove that I'm teaching my children. Not on an everyday basis, thank goodness, but every now and then.

My oldest is 16, which puts him perilously close to college age. I will need to create a transcript for him which proves he's ready for the next step. It's a real pain in the butt.

Let's take history, for example. We're currently listening to a Teaching Company lecture series on the middle ages presented by a respected University professor (whose name has slipped my memory). We're also reading works of philosphy and literature that match up with the time period (some written during those times, some written about those times). At the end of this year my son will know more than most people do about the Medieval period. But unless he writes some stupid research paper or takes some silly test, I won't be able to prove it. And I'm sick of papers and tests. I'm sick of busy-work of all kinds. So is my son.

Some people chuck busy work to the wind and just let their kids learn. Whatever they want, however they want. I'm not there yet, but boy am I close. I spent way too many years of my life cramming for tests and forgetting all the information within 24 hours. The things I remember are the things I learned because I wanted to know them.

I'm annoyed that standardized tests and other kinds of beaurocratic busywork keep intruding on our precious learning time. I'm annoyed that my local community college puts hurdles in front of homeschoolers who want to attend. To my way of thinking they should be overjoyed that any student wants to pay them money to sit in class.

Don't mind me. I'm cranky tonight. Why don't people get that learning is the easiest thing in the world? It's schooling that's hard.


L Harris said...

You are so right. My two girls (6 and 7) with little pushing from me are both reading. I'm so excited about it! And I didn't have to labourously teach them, fight with them or bribe them.

Anonymous said...

Hear! Hear! I'm glad to live in a state that requires no testing. I feel for those that have to jump through the hoops.