How Can THIS Be Called “Education?”

“A teacher forced a 15-year-old girl to perform a pornographic monologue in front of the whole class. Then school officials lied to the child’s mother. And worst of all, the school board BANNED the mother from reading to them the words her daughter was forced to say in front of the class, cutting off her mic.”

American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) posted this in an email to raise awareness for the court cases they are fighting.

This happened in a Las Vegas school, but I’ve read about and seen videos of this kind of issue happening across our nation. Currently, there is another situation in the news in a different school in which a first grade student was sexually abused during class by other students who also filmed it. This may not be the case in every school, but even one such incident should alarm us and make us as least take notice so we can protect our children.

How can content or situations like this be called “education?”

There are great, dedicated, creative teachers who love their students and want to foster the best for them and in them. Then there are those who call themselves teachers, but are abusing that privilege to promote their own agenda and groom children.

While there are incredible groups who are fighting these legal battles, those of us who are true lovers of learning can fight by offering alternatives to a governmental run system that is not only broken, but in some cases like these, abusive.

That is one of the reasons we’re creating a place like Discovery House.

We encourage true life-long learning, community involvement, generosity, and helping others learn by showing them what we know in a safe, loving environment,

NEVER with exploitive, sexual context!

Parents must draw a line that cannot be crossed when it comes to what influences our kids. It’s a tough world for them to navigate these days.

Schooling or Education?

“I have never let schooling interfere with my education.”

Mark Twain

Perhaps you’ve heard of this famous American author. If you read about the adventures of Huckleberry Finn or Tom Sawyer, you would have. I pray so.

I have this quote on a bulletin board in my office. I love the truth of it. When did we start “schooling” kids and stop educating them? Or actually letting them explore the world around them and discover new insights?

That is real education.

I appreciate that some of the most educated people of our past understood this. Many of our founding fathers learned at home. George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, our most celebrated presidents taught themselves. Thomas Edison and Leonardo DaVinci were educated with a life of discovery and creativity. But you might be surprised to find that many celebrities have spent at least part of their time learning through homeschooling. You can find the entire list that includes athletes, actors, and musicians as well as many others here:

In a recent newsletter by Connor Boyack, he states, “I’ve learned from my own experiences, and those of others, that education is so much more than just schooling. In fact, schooling can often get in the way of true education.”

Great minds!

What if the current system of schooling is actual stifling creativity and cutting off the great ideas students might have is they had been allowed to explore and discover the way these aforementioned famous folks did? What could you have done with your life had you had the chance to develop a variety of skills without pressure to perform?

Sometimes we get the idea that homeschooling is simply creating a school in our home. I confess that since I was schooled in college to be a teacher, that is exactly how I approached our first couple of years. I converted one of our bedrooms into a schoolroom with students desks lined up facing my teacher desk. It took me a few years to take the school out of me so I could allow education for my children.

The best memories we have are reading The Chronicles of Narnia during daily backyard lunch picnics or dressing up like the historical characters we read about. Jumping in our van with lunches packed and guitar in hand to drive out to find sunny days at a nearby river with another family became a greatly anticipated event. We rode horses, collected tadpoles and frogs, and tested gravity by throwing different sized rocks in the river. Our collective eight kids brought us a variety of bugs and plants and asked questions about what they discovered.

In contrast, at three separate times when we decided to put a few of our children in public school temporarily, we learned that the girls spent most of their time chasing after our son in fourth grade, the kids no longer had time to read in seventh grade, and some teachers would rather just give extra credit for a grade than help a student learn a subject. (I’m all for outside projects as “extra credit” but not to avoid having to help a student.)

Not the education we anticipated.

I understand that not all public experiences are bad. A few of our kids got through okay. One struggled and the others were bored, but their overall experience wasn’t horrible. Those in elementary school, they had loving, kind, helpful teachers who did their very best to teach their students within a challenging, broken system. And we’re grateful. But what if we had a choice between schooling and education?

What if we could immerse our children in a safe, loving, home setting that would foster their creativity and let them learn according to their interests and unique design? What if we changed our view of “schooling” and opted for a lifestyle of learning instead? What if parents actually believed that they are the best teachers and maybe they are already giving their children a true education whenever they aren’t in school?

What would you choose?

Questioning School Content

I don’t know about you, but I’m concerned about the growing content in schools that focuses on political agenda, sexual orientation, and racism. What happened to reading, writing, and math?

I don’t have children in school anymore. Our youngest son is a junior in college. But I have grand kids, friends who have kids, and friends who are teachers. Let’s just say we’re all stunned that education has come to this.

That said, Discovery House embraces a lifestyle of learning. It allows children to explore the world of language, art, math, science, history, culture, dance, music, food, and fun so they can learn, create, and problem solve. Not test take.

As we continue to look for suitable properties and funding, I’d love to get feedback on whether that kind of an environment would be appealing to you.

We’re not a school, but we learn a lot!

We’re not a museum, but we have hands-on experiences that foster questions and help us discover.

We’re not a day care. Participation by students and even parents is expected and applauded.

We’re a family of lifestyle learners who want more that sitting at a desk, taking tests, and reading or watching questionable material.

Sound like something you’d be interested in? Check out the rest of our website for more information. Please give me a thumbs up or comment in the section below.

(Currently, we’re in Fort Myers, Lee County, Florida, but I hope to open and expand in numerous places.)

True Learning

If you let kids learn, they will learn.

Create an environment of discovery and people are naturally explorative. God, who made us in his image, is a creator. The combinations of colorful, creative people, animals, insects, plants, planets, ocean life, etc. is infinite. We will always possess a longing to discover and understand it all.

Unfortunately, our current educational system pushes “learning” on children from infancy with ideals often comprised by those who don’t really understand the basis of education. Learning isn’t simply imparting knowledge.

This is part of an article by Kate, the Modern Alternative Mama, that is an excellent example of the breakdown in education. I appreciate her outside the box approach.

Preschoolers Need PLAY, Not Academics
I took my youngest, who’s 4, to story time at the library today. I knew about what to expect, having done this years ago with my older ones.   And generally it was accurate — a couple stories, a song, and a craft.  He loves listening to stories, wasn’t a fan of the song (stood next to me the whole time), and enjoyed the craft.  He also just loves leaving the house and being around others. But. The leader spent time on “letters of the week,” expecting the kids to be able to recognize them (3 – 5 year olds).  She also mentioned they should write their names on their projects.  And she sent us home with tracing sheets to practice writing letters, and an alphabet chart. This is what the mainstream considers developmentally appropriate for preschoolers…and it isn’t.  It’s no wonder so many parents with young kids feel pressured and worried that their kids are ‘behind’ when they’re not. What kids this age actually need are stories…songs…hands-on crafts…a chance to interact with other children.  They need to explore the world and the people and things in it.  They need answers to all their (many) questions. They do not need to recognize or write their letters.  That will come, later.  Every healthy child in a literate world, with supportive parents, will pick up on these things when they are ready.

Some children at an early age, my oldest son was one, will ask to write letters and want to explore language in reading. Other children may like numbers, counting, adding, and make collections of items. Perhaps they love watching bugs, finding rocks, or catching lizards. Colors might fascinate them and you can find them “drawing” in their yogurt or pudding. And all of them will figure out reading by the ages of eight to ten because that’s when their mental growth allows for it. (Check out educator John Holt and Dr. Raymond Moore for further information.)

We are all different and will be motivated in different ways. For visual learners, books and movies fascinate. Auditory learners love to make sounds and listen to stories. If a child is a tactile learner, they will want to feel, smell, and taste everything. Music, art, nature, interacting with people, spending time alone, and movement are some other avenues through which individuals best learn.

Bottom line? Children will learn, if we let them.

Discovery is the Best Teacher

It’s official. School’s in session this week (at least in our Florida county), and children are dragging their sleepy bodies out of bed to head off to “learning” outlets. On my morning walk two days ago, I passed by one such young man, maybe around ten or eleven years of age, with tired eyes and a wide yawn as he straddled his bike waiting for his mom and older brother. I smiled and wished him a great first day back.

But what I do know, from decades of teaching in various settings, and from friends who are teachers, is that this year is not in any way like previous years. Not only that, but very few students are looking forward to sitting long hours doing schoolwork when much of what is thrown at them, they will not remember nor ever use. One of my brilliant and creative grandsons just let it be known that he is in no way wanting to go to school. He wants to be doing, not sitting. His new hybrid school situation does sound like it will be different and more interactive. We all pray, for his sake, it is.

How sad for kids who if given the right environment love to learn.

Also tragic is that students have to be locked down in their schools with drills because of the very real, and more often occurrence of unexpected violence. School and mall shootings are becoming too common. While I was teaching a class last year at a local high school, we experienced one such drill. Of course we were relieved it wasn’t real, but still unnerving enough.

How do kids study in that kind of environment?

And don’t even get me started about the sudden shift in content this year. I’m pretty sure that no matter what people believe politically, they don’t want some stranger teaching their kindergartner about sex and its varieties.

But on the positive side, recently I watched an incredible video from Mark Roper, the science guy. The way he thinks, experiments, and instructs with his fun and easy explanations creates the best environment for learning. I discover so much from simply enjoying his videos on YouTube, and the entertainment factor doesn’t disappoint. Mind-blowing from every side. He even has new classes. Always hands-on because doing is learning.

So if you’ve never checked him out, this is a good place to start, but I’ll bet you get hooked by his elephant toothpaste and squirrel obstacle courses too just like I did.

Educate or Indoctrinate?

In California, a proposed curriculum is encouraging chanting to the Aztec gods of human sacrifice. A private school in New York has released new guidelines for eliminating words like mom, dad, son, daughter and any gender specific references. And those are only two of numerous examples of the current educational situation.

Call me crazy, but if my kids were currently in school, I’d be a little concerned.

Okay, a lot concerned.

Photo by Julia M Cameron on

Not only is the current situation stifling youngsters with outdated methods that only cater to one set of learners (sit and listen to lecture), but many schools, cities, counties and states are deciding what to add or delete to indoctrinate our children.

This is only one reason I chose to home educate my children. As a parent, I want to be the one to decide what they learn and how they learn it. Especially if they are being taught outside philosophies that contradict our family beliefs.

For example, at one point when our children did attend elementary school, we discovered our first grader’s class was participating in yoga classes which encouraged emptying their minds meditation. I realize a number of people welcome yoga as a physical exercise practice, but I don’t believe the school should be the one to teach my child what or how they should meditate on.

Every family is entitled to their beliefs. Ours happens to be following Jesus Christ and the Bible. Yours may not. But isn’t that the point? Shouldn’t each family get to decide what’s best for their students?


Family is now a word in question that means many other living situations because according to some educators, “mom,” “dad,” “boy,” and “girl” are no longer acceptable.

Now’s the time to really be aware of what is going on in schools while we still have freedom to choose our path of instruction.

In School or Out of School?

So much talk of when kids can go back to school. I get that parents are trying to navigate it all. They need to work and having kids around doesn’t make for an easy or even manageable way to do that. Whether mom and dad work at home or have to work outside the home, it can be a crazy challenge.

Sometimes that calls for a new strategy.

I really like a couple of VRBO ads that show families enjoying “vacation” while the kids are outdoors compiling objects for a report or examining their surroundings. Parents are shown on their computers (presumably working) at times, but also spending valuable time with their children. Discussions, play, and exploring are all part of the learning process. Parents are the first teachers.

Recently one of my children took to the highway, staying with friends, family and in AirBNB’s with their spouse and two kids. They sold most of their things, packed up the rest and headed out. The adults work remotely – a situation they asked their employers about and were miraculously granted in amazing fashion – and the kids are learning in the process. Their education is in a huge part based on the adventures they are experiencing along the road. What an incredible year they will have and are already enjoying!

School doesn’t have to look like a building (or zoom room) with a bunch of kids and a certified teacher. It can, but it doesn’t have to. Learning comes from experience more than anything.

What experiences are your kids having today?

What’s Most Important?

At Discovery House, our goal is to instill two important truths in our kids’ hearts.

  1. You are loved. Everyone needs to know that they are loved and accepted for exactly who they are with all our strengths as well as weaknesses.
  2. You have a purpose. Each person needs to understand that we were created for a purpose. Our unique blend of personality, talents, and abilities are designed to help us function with a specific purpose and plan for good.

We help kids explore not only the world around them, but the uniqueness of who they are. We love and encourage them to become all they were created to be.

Do You Know What Your Kids Are Learning?

This is reprinted from an email letter I received from Connor Boyak, author of The Tuttle Twins books. To read the article in its entirety, you can find it here.

A parent took to Twitter to share an experience she recently had:

My daughter turned around yesterday to grab her charger and her teacher immediately snapped and said she needed to be facing forward at all times. I said, “Go ahead, let the computer die!” in the background and the teacher quickly apologized. Didn’t realize I sit through every class!

Another parent responded saying, “Zoom school is really showing how much of American education is just about controlling and punishing children and not actually, you know, teaching and educating them.”

We used this series of tweets in one of our social media posts and a parent shared her opinion that, “The mass exodus of kids from government schools to unschool is an unintended consequence of media fear hype over the virus. Now there are going to be free thinking kids with an actual education who are not indoctrinated in socialist political views of liberal teachers and the establishment is terrified!”

I don’t know that I think the public-education-powers-that-be are terrified of parents choosing education freedom—they seem too arrogant for that—but I do think it’s true that parents are opting out of this en masse. The data has certainly shown a trend toward parents making the decision to homeschool permanently as a result of lockdowns and virtual learning requirements. I suspect that this trend will only continue as the months wear on and parents have more and more experiences like the woman in the tweet.

Obviously, not everyone can—or wants to—homeschool their children. I get it. I myself am a product of public schools, and I suppose that’s evidence that kids can still turn out okay after getting off the conveyor belt.

Unschooling may be the answer to many parents’ legitimate concerns for their children. We at Discovery House believe learning best takes place in an environment of exploration and discovery where kids are encouraged to ask questions, develop their thinking skills, use their hands, and collaborate on problem solving.

It’s a unique approach. One not easily explained when the idea of school has been so ingrained in us. We are not simply a different kind of school. We exist to engage kids in the adventure of a lifestyle of learning.

Check out the rest of our website for more information. Contact us if you’re in the Fort Myers, Lee or Collier County FL area to talk about current availability.

What’s A Parent to Do?

As September approaches mid-month, parents turn their focus to the questions of how school is going for their students. Questions that never plagued us before, permeate the educational field. Parents are fearful that their children may not get a good education, or they may get infected with this virus, or they may be forced to stay home, and what will that mean for their family?

The two questions I’m hearing/reading most often are these:

  1. Can I still homeschool my children if I have to work?
  2. My children are four and five years old, and I’m worried about what curriculum to use.

So I thought I’d offer my thoughts as an educator and former homeschool mom.

First, the question of what to use to teach your young children. My answer is: you don’t need a curriculum. Here’s what you can do with them that will best prepare them to learn well:

  1. Answer their questions and show them how to find answers.
  2. Let them ask questions and ask them questions to help them think rather than for a “right” answer.
  3. READ to them! A lot. Every single day. You’ll thank me later. This builds their skills, but also creates a great lifelong bond between you and your child. They are never too young (yes, in the womb), nor too old for this.
  4. Play games with them. I’m not talking video games. I mean card games, board games, games like pick-up-sticks which all help them develop analytical thinking skills as well as math and reading comprehension. (Trust me on this!)
  5. Teach them while you’re out and about. Talk about what things cost at the store and show them how to figure out per pound prices or how much an item they want will be with 10% off. Count with them. Show them how to read signs like STOP. Help them learn to observe by pointing out things around them. For example, how things look the same or different, sizes, colors, shapes, etc.
  6. Let them be creative. Give them things to create with. Even a big cardboard box goes a long way. Make tents out of blankets. Play with balloons. Paint, markers, and big pieces of paper are worth the mess because it fosters a love of learning.

You are their best teacher. Don’t let a system tell you otherwise. It does take some patience and diligence, but can also be really enjoyable. They are little people who are sponges soaking up information. Fill them with good stuff. Make good impressions in their “wet cement.” And don’t forget the best lessons are training them in polite, obedient, and kind behavior. Kids with boundaries are fun to be around for you and others.

As for the other question: Yes, you can. I did it working full time as a single parent for a few years. It takes some flexibility and creative planning, but it can be done. There are options. Depending on the age of your students, co-ops, trading off with other homeschoolers, college or community classes, creating a an “envelope” schedule for your students are all potential plans.

And in case you need more help in this area, we are here for you. Check out the rest of our website to see how Discovery House might be an answer for you.