Thursday, January 9, 2014

Step it up!

Chris Guillabeau rocks, imho. Anyone who can hack their way around the world, into book contracts and the salary they want, while being a genuine nice guy does, and he certainly qualifies.

I often feel like you can just call me "Ms.Parade Rainer." I point out flaws, have strong opinions, and am more committed to the real deal than saying what people want to hear. Which seems to either compel people, scare them or both simultaneously.  You won't hear me saying to starry-eyed new homeschoolers that homeschooling will assure super intelligence, reverent godliness and/or humble obedience. I've been around long enough to have seen that homeschooling families struggle. They struggle with finances, depression, rebellion, sin, physical ailments, unhelpful relatives and disappointments, just like everybody else....

Wait, that's not what you wanted to hear at the beginning of a New Year and the start of the 2014 curriculum sales and convention season. And what does this have to do with Chris Guillabeau anyway?!

His latest blog sang my song:

"There's a whole industry designed around helping people feel safe and comfortable, even when they're stuck in bad patterns and aren't achieving their potential. Love yourself! Accept who you are!"

You know what he's talking about. The culture of self esteem, the culture of public school that assures no child left behind, that applauds average and common core, where there is no "right" answer to a math problem or moral issue, the culture of entitlement and public health care, the culture of victimization and the culture of poor little you. This attitude is part of the package of reasons related to why we started homeschooling and why we continue to do so. The whole monolith of public education proves, based on outcome studies and global stats, to simply not work. As in, it's not about education.

Chris's take on the whole love yourself, and accept who you are mentality: 
The answer isn't to accept your failures; the answer is to get back up and find a way to succeed.
If your life sucks, that's  not what you need to hear. You shouldn't set a goal of accepting mediocrity.Where are the people saying, "No, it's not okay to be like that! Step it up!"

 I've been involved in the homeschooling world for almost a quarter of a century. I've heard it all
"Having a baby? Take the year off."
"Don't worry if your kids are behind. When they want to learn it, they will."
"Johnny doesn't like it, so we're setting it aside."
I feel guilty about not really schooling day after day, but they're learning all the time, right?

And here's what I really think. Education is the transmission of culture. It's about the how and what. How you teach as well as what you teach. If you teach with a laissez faire attitude, that transmits info to your student. If you just put it all aside until it's convenient, that conveys something. If you are a hacker and make mistakes and scr*w up, and then GET UP and go at it again, they conveys something.

So, what does this have to do with education and homeschooling?

Well, if you are dissatisfied with how your homeschooling is going, if you feel like you can't make it all happen, if your house is a disaster, your kids aren't learning, or video games rule your time, then change it. Make a "Bug" list, starting with the things that bug you the most, and then go after it.

Are you overwhelmed with all that you have to do? Find some "helpers"- CD's, DVD's, on-line classes, co-ops, class days, tutors, dual-enrollment, etc. The homeschooling world is more diverse than ever before and opportunities abound.
Is the curriculum not working? Get something different or infuse what you have with enough enthusiasm to make it work.
Are you not intentional enough? Dedicate yourself to the task.
Is your laundry eating you alive? Create habits that control it.
Are your kids super smart but lacking in character? Start teaching church history and apologetics and living your faith and praying together and introducing your kids to people of character irl and throughout history.

I hear the attitude of passive acceptance and mediocrity too often in the homeschooling community, disguised as a methodology, and as your friend I want to say, "It's not o.k. to be like that! Step it up!"

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Mystie said...

This is a great article, Lisa. :) Love it.

Unknown said...

Totally agree!

Gena at said...

That was excellent--and convicting. Thanks for sharing.

DeliveringGrace said...

Getting children's education right is a great responsibility.

Unknown said...

Good thoughts - thanks for sharing.