Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Carnival of Homeschooling #433: The Thousand Flowers Edition

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling (#433) is inspired by Spunky Homeschool's post Common Core Curriculum is coming. "Time is short. School districts are scrambling. Tests are coming. The situation is 'near-impossible,'" Spunky warns. She also refers to a study in Education Week where curriculum researchers state, "Letting a thousand flowers bloom isn't consistent with ensuring that all teachers are using high-quality and well-aligned materials."

Apparently I've been living under a bit of a rock, because I had never heard that quotation about the thousand flowers and had to look it up. It is a misquotation of a policy of Chairman Mao Zedong: "Let a hundred flowers blossom."  At that time (1957), the Chinese government was actually encouraging constructive criticism from various respected thinkers, and that was the official (and very springlike) way of saying it.

In Ontario, homeschoolers are not required to test or to teach particular subjects or to particular standards. Puzzled non-homeschoolers say, "But then how do they know/you know that you are doing it right?"  They are often quick to agree (with each other) that there needs to be more standardization, that homeschoolers should be more accountable to authorities, and so on.  Their minds are obviously wandering to the exceptional cases where an abused child "slipped through the cracks," or where teenagers doing nothing educational at all are excused by their parents in the name of homeschooling. However, and I try to explain this whenever I do get the chance, the fact that we have that right is exactly the point. The freedom to learn at home, without undue interference, is much like a thousand flowers blossoming. Who would want every petal to turn out exactly the same?

Well, maybe some people would, and this is the concern of Spunky and others.  I don't usually get all political on this blog, but I have to say that those quality-control "concerns" are almost always more about control than about quality or about real concern. They are nanny-state rhetoric for standardization, in education and in other areas as well.  How can "the state" be sure that unregulated  home schools are doing a good job?  Well, it can't be sure...and it shouldn't be. Thank God for the freedom to succeed or fail, and to accept the challenge of that freedom as part of our responsibility to our own children..

And the Carnival of Homeschooling, in all its diversity, is a perfect illustration of that freedom. Let a hundred or a thousand or a million flowers blossom!

Photo by Mr. Fixit.  Copyright 2014 Dewey's Treehouse.

A Net In Time Schooling presents Five days of Doing Science: Day Three - Field  Trips
(I also liked their Day Five: Looking with a science eye.)

A Peaceful Day presents The Science Notebook."Jemimah's science study has been one of the great successes of this year so far, and a lot of that is due to her science notebook."

The Common Room presents Nature Study Goals for the Early Years.

Fisher Academy International presents Nature Study Q&A!

At the HSBA Post, contributor North Laurel writes about Character Training and Books. "Every situation and circumstance we encounter builds, tears down, repairs the character of our person. Children are even more susceptible to this process, I think; they are more fragile and yet more resilient. It’s important to give them worthwhile examples as best we can."

Especially for Canadians: Teatime with Annie Kate reviews Jacques Cartier, Finder of the St. Lawrence. (LINK FIXED)

Melissa Wiley describes the book review of a lifetime in Mid-April.

Dewey's Treehouse points out an unexpected benefit of being a home educator in The Many Uses of Homeschooling.

Natural Born Learners presents Cheap Unschooling. "When you are unschooling your family you are offering them an opportunity to marinate in curiosities and adventures and quests."

The Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers present a review of Fort Magic.

Home*School*Home presents a photo post: Creativity This Week. (Watch for the amigurumi bunny.)

Our Curious Home presents a Pretty/Funny/Happy/Real post about science, art, math, and a ballet recital.

Homeschool Cheer asks if you are Looking for Friends for your Homeschool Child?

SolaGratiaMom presents Egg-Stravaganza! "I wanted to share our end of the year blow out -Wonderful Wednesday party!  I have to say that I don't think I have laughed that hard and much, in a very long time!"

The Thinking Mother presents The Reputation of Homeschooling Affects Homeschooled Kids.  "The headmaster has negative opinions of homeschoolers as she said that they have admitted them in the past and they withdrew after one or two years. She cited the 'mothers did not want to let go of control.'"

Project-Based Homeschooling presents What I've been reading: deeper learning and moving past education as job placement.  " Why do we even need terms like 'authentic learning' and 'deeper learning'? Because, as you know, all learning experiences are not equal. All learning is not equally effective or lasting or useful or relevant. We call everything that happens in school 'learning,' but how much of that do you remember? Use? How much of it do you carry into the future and how much of it do you discard like a flyer pressed into your hand on the street by a guy dressed like a giant hot dog?"

Journey-and-Destination presents Preparing Homeschoolers for University/College Writing. "Our daughter is in her fourth year of a double degree - Bachelor of Education/Bachelor of Arts, majoring in English - and is employed by her university to tutor first and second year university students. Much of her time is taken up with helping them with basic things that should have been covered before they left school."

Why Homeschool? presents Two Down, Two To Go. "While during their high school years our oldest two daughters both took online classes, the two of them have taken very different paths on their road to higher education."

And finally, some thoughts from the next generation at To Sow a Seed:  On Being Homeschooled, by a Soon-to-be Grad.

That's it for this week's Carnival of Homeschooling.  Next week's host blog will be the HSBA Post.


Annie Kate said...

What a great way of looking at homeschool freedom! Thank you for sharing that.

And thanks for hosting.

Sara @ Embracing Destiny said...

I enjoyed your thoughts. Thanks for sharing! These are some great homeschool links.

North Laurel said...

What a nice line-up of submissions. Thanks for hostessing :) (and including my post at HSBA Post!)

Carol said...

Thanks for including my post & I agree with your thoughts on educational freedom. Plenty of people have slipped through the cracks in schools, big time, regardless of standardization & teacher training.