I have just finished listening to the show. I enjoyed it and thank "Think Out Loud" for addressing this topic. I would like to give several reactions to the content.
1) I was disappointed that the show spent so much time talking to an educator from an alternate but more traditional school. He was interesting, but he wasn't really relevant to the topic at hand. I would have preferred that you spend the time talking to more actual homeschoolers, like Dave Albert, who unschooled two children *very* successfully. They are now grown and are very successful in their fields. He's written three books on homeschooling and lectures on the subject. There are other regional people with similar backgrounds Who would have been more appropriate as well.
2) I appreciated the comments by the unschooled gentleman who said that his one regret about unschooling was that he wasn't forced to learn math more rigorously as a child. He may be correct. Or, on the other hand, he may have become totally uninterested in math, or may have developed "math anxiety" as a result of being forced to do math, perhaps unsuccessfully, for 12 years. One can't tell where alternate paths would actually lead.
I was traditionally schooled, 12 years of parochial education. While very successful in the verbal arts, I entered high school behind in math and never caught up. I took pre-calculus twice on the college level, because I was interested in a science career, and was never able to master the subject enough to go into a science field. Would it have been different if I was homeschooled, if my parents investigated different math curricula until something "clicked", if I was allowed to progress at my own pace, rather than always being behind and never able to catch up? I don't know. One doesn't know where alternate paths would have led.
I have homeschooled my son since the end of 3rd grade- actually, with encouragement from his teacher, because she thought having to go at the pace of the class was holding him back. I have made him do math regularly over the years, though we consider ourselves "eclectic" homeschoolers. We have switched curricula, trying to find something that would give him a love of math. So far, nothing has worked. He has aced high school algebra courses taken at the local community college (he's still high school aged), and he is presently teaching himself trigonometry. He is showing no interest in a career that will involve much math. If that changes, he may suddenly develop a strong interest in math, like the gentleman who spoke during the show.
3) Which brings up another point that I don't think was addressed during the show. One fundamental belief of most homeschoolers is that learning is life-long. For example, I indicated above that I am very math-phobic. I'll never be good at it. But when I started my own business, I taught myself how to keep the books sufficiently to do the day-to-day bookkeeping. I then hired an accountant to do the "heavy" stuff- this was actually required by my lease and my franchise agreement. It wouldn't have mattered if I'd had a PhD in math. Knowledge is best aquired when the interest or need exists first. I intend to keep learning until I die. And I certainly expect my son to keep learning throughout his life, as my husband and I have.
posted 4 years, 9 months ago
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