I’m not entirely sure what’s behind this compulsion but I’m asking the world in general to please stop randomly quizzing my homeschooling child. I understand you are well-meaning. I understand that you may have doubts that my child is up to par. I understand that you may not fully “get” homeschooling and so you are using this quizzing as conversation. I understand that you may even be kidding a bit.
But I need YOU to understand some things about how we homeschool.
*My child is not following public school curriculum. I am required by law to follow a general course of study. I am not required to follow the same curriculum as other “same-graders”.
*Same-graders. My son would be in 3rd grade if he were in school. I am not required by law to follow grades. One of the biggest joys of homeschooling is being able to go at your own pace. My son is wrapping up 4th grade math, he’s doing dissection (which I believe is 9th or 10th grade AP biology). He’s at 3rd grade level language arts. His drum teacher says he’s on par for a 12 year old. For science, we definitely follow our passions whichever grade that may take us. He may have no idea what you are talking about. That doesn’t mean he isn’t learning everyday.
*I don’t believe in random fact-stuffing his brain. This is the most important thing I need you to understand. My goal for Pascal is critical thinking, creative problem solving, understanding the path of history and the importance of historical patterns and events. My goal is that he not separate out learning and life, that he continues to love learning, whatever shape it comes in. That the WHOA of science not ever get mired down in the memorization of useless facts to pass a test.
Recently, a well-meaning family member began quizzing Pascal after I stated that he’s “really into the American Revolution. ” This family member asked him, “Oh, you’re into it,huh? When did the American Revolution begin?” Pascal didn’t know and the family member joked, “I guess you don’t know too much about it, then.”
Now, correct me if I’m wrong; without reaching for google, can YOU tell me that date? I’m guessing no. It doesn’t have too much bearing on our lives now. What IS important about the American Revolution? Is it the dates? Because I don’t think so.
Things we have learned (yes, me too because I didn’t learn these things in school): The American Revolution, while fueled by many things, was actually sparked by the death of an 11 year old boy. That was the push-to-shove moment for the colonists.
We’ve learned that largely, the unsung heroes were children and teenagers, which has ignited MANY interesting conversations about children and wars, both past and current.
He’s not only learned the phrase “taxation without representation”, he’s absorbed it. Here in RI, there’s talk of moving a huge stadium from one city to another, at the expense of the taxpayers. A friend and I were discussing the uproar coming from the taxpayers and Pascal chimed in with, “That sounds an awful lot like taxation without representation.” We all laughed but I thought; wow, you get that concept.
He found out one his good skate buddies is from England and has dual citizenship (and what that means), because you know…while at the skate park, they were discussing the Battle at Bunker Hill.
We delved into Nathanael Greene’s part in the Revolution, which was good for me because I went to Nathanael Greene Middle School and never really learned that (Or maybe I did. Maybe I passed the test. But I didn’t hang on to those facts). We also live in New England and have visited his homestead.
We learned that colonist spies blew up ships in the Narraganset Bay, the very bay we often swim in. We go to the beach and recreate the scenes.
So, no. I don’t really care that Pascal doesn’t know the dates of all the battles or when the American Revolution exactly began. I care that he has a rich experience of the things he learns.
And if you run into us and you want to ask him something to check in on his homeschooling or just to make conversation, ask him what he’s currently passionate about. Ask him what book he’s loving right now. Ask him what he would do if he was asked to be a child spy. And when he or any kid, tells you they’re really into something, ask him WHY.
Open the door for passionate answers and conversation.
Don’t quiz my child on random facts. That’s not how we play.