Call me crazy, but if my kids were currently in school, I’d be a little concerned.
Okay, a lot concerned.
Not only is the current situation stifling youngsters with outdated methods that only cater to one set of learners (sit and listen to lecture), but many schools, cities, counties and states are deciding what to add or delete to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.
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.
At Discovery House, our goal is to instill two important truths in our kids’ hearts.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Can I still homeschool my children if I have to work?
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:
Answer their questions and show them how to find answers.
Let them ask questions and ask them questions to help them think rather than for a “right” answer.
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.
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!)
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.
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.
We started on a small scale this week with our first student in our home environment. This participant is enjoying our unschooling approach and has already learned and accomplished so much in a couple of days. I’m having a blast with this incredible young person who didn’t “fit in” with a traditional school style. This individual is intelligent, interesting, talkative in a positive, creative way, and eager to learn. All characteristics that others had expressed were not true – in fact they claimed the exact opposite!
I love to see children blossom when given a chance to discover a lifestyle of learning!
If you’re in the Fort Myers, FL (Lee or Collier County) area and need a different approach for your child, please feel free to contact me.
Let’s talk about how we can help your child learn to love learning!
We love learning. Every day the world around us holds so much for us to discover. What are some things you wonder about? How are houses built? What does an armadillo eat? Which snakes are poisonous? Where do diamonds come from? What does annihilate mean?
Couldn’t we go on all day?
At Discovery House, we encourage kids to ask questions and find the answers or solutions. Our goal is for kids to love learning. Exploring and discovering create an adventure in learning.
Sometimes we need a little help.
Our mentors are available to answer questions and to inspire kids by asking them the right kinds of questions. Questions that help them think for themselves. Not simply expecting them to spit out answers they memorized for a test and will forget shortly afterwards because the information had no relational context for them.
At Discovery House we use various methods to help instill and foster a love of learning. Thus, we are able to meet the needs of every family who uses our facility by employing a mixture of these styles.
Sonya Shafer of Simply Charlotte Mason describes in detail what she calls the five flavors of Homeschooling in the following video. Her descriptions and the “quiz” she uses to help parents figure out what best describes their family is a great example of how Discovery House works.
Check out the rest of our site for more details on how Discovery House works.
We are currently in process of obtaining the property, licensing and permits to open Discovery House in the Fall of 2020. For anyone interested in investing in this unique educational opportunity, here is our GoFundMe link.
Whether you’re a Lee County, Florida parent looking for a different option for your family or anyone interested in furthering a new way of corporate learning, we’d love to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org