COVID-19 Lessons and Summary: Schools Are “Outed”! (Part 13)

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The COVID-19 pandemic was a game changer of immeasurable proportion! I have tried to show how it should have caused us all to rethink our understanding of what schools, learning and education are and how they are delivered.

We discussed how schools are largely viewed as daycares rather than the educational institutions they claim to be. We then addressed how the age-old concern respecting the socialization of children was shown to be more of a school handicap than that of the home educated.

We showed that in-school academic achievements and grades were essentially meaningless if all students simply advanced to the next grade without clearly demonstrating that objectives were learned or programs completed. Likewise, we addressed how fears of accumulating learning gaps while being stuck at home were ill-founded, if indeed being home was a negative.
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Parents and Children. Tiring of School: Schools Are “Outed”! (Part 12)

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I must admit that there are certain news agencies that I have learned to completely distrust.

Actually, there is one particular agency that is so bad at telling the truth that I often use it to get a truthful perception respecting an issue that I am unsure about by noting what is being reported and then assuming the opposite to be true. It may be a sad testimony respecting that news agency, but this approach has kept me from believing nonsense.

Take the “normalization” of the response to the COVID-19 school system closures, as an example. Media outlets simply assumed that everything would be exactly the same as it always was except that the students would now be “home schooled.”
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Parenting and Teaching Are Not the Same? Schools Are “Outed”! (Part 11)

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Every once in a while, perhaps more often than it should, an article comes up which elicits strange feelings of anger mixed with sympathy for the poor fellow (or lady) who could be so deluded!

Take, for instance, that article written by a Harvard professor who really believed that home education should be outlawed because… well, let’s just say because it is not at all like public education.

Then there was the article entitled “Parenting is not Teaching / Teaching is not Parenting.” This one caused me to seriously pity the poor individual who could come up with such a ridiculous statement.
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COVID-19 Boosting Homeschooling? Schools Are “Outed”! (Part 10)

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Let’s start with a summary. The COVID-19 pandemic caused governments around the world to shutter schools in an attempt to restrict or reduce viral contamination. This provided much insight into how people viewed learning, education and programming as well as the methods, purpose and place of schools and school teachers.

Much of this information has been covered so far in this year’s blogs.

I must admit that while much ado was paid to the forcing of every child of the province into a home “school” program, I personally did not respond with glee, as one would have expected of a veteran home education supporter and provider poised to see his “business” expand and prosper. Perhaps this may seem a bit perplexing to you, so let me explain.
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Lessons in Education: Schools Are “Outed”! (Part 9)

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The COVID-19 pandemic caused all of us to reassess priorities and politics this past spring. One of the obvious areas where this has had to take place was within the education system when schools were closed indefinitely.

Of particular interest to home educators is how the pandemic has caused some to question the conventional wisdom of the school’s approach to education. From questioning “socialization” to differentiating between home schooling and home education, the schools’ closure forced us all to rethink what is normally considered as status quo.

It is said that the best way to hide a lie is right out in the open. This is something that schools have been doing for years, which is one of the things that the pandemic exposed. The sending of all the students home has turned the most common assumption regarding education on its head, which in turn has led to much frustration.
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Applying Modern Digital Technology: Schools Are “Outed”! (Part 8)

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Last week, I discussed how the school system is intransigently stuck in the past tense. This week, I want to talk about how the COVID-19 pandemic of last spring provided real opportunity to re-evaluate the existing system and to address the need to update our understanding of education to the twenty first century.

We need to put an end to the idea that learning is not learning unless it follows government directives, taught by a certificated teacher in a classroom setting. This thinking assumes all children to be the same and in need of academic “construction” following a set of guidelines designed to produce consistent results. This is usually understood as having a standard for education.

However, advancing such standards is unrealistically based on the assumption that homogenizing individuals of unlimited diversity is indeed possible. This may have been the case fifty years ago when the population was more unified, but this is no longer applicable.
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Some Things Just Don’t Change: Schools Are “Outed”! (Part 7)

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The education system is a very big ship with very big inertia. Changing anything within it is very difficult, unless something completely unexpected hits it square between the eyes. Last spring’s COVID-19 pandemic did just that.

Last week, I discussed how politics, driven by fear, vehemently opposes any attempt to change things. There is hardly a better example of this than how the education system has resisted adjusting to the changing environment that technology has brought to us.

This is not to say that technology is not being employed, but that the intransigence of a very large system has largely adopted technology to help maintain the unchanging status quo which has only increased the costs of delivering the same antiquated and irrelevant programming. Modernizing an old system is not the same as reforming it to accommodate modern times.
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Working to Prevent Change: Schools Are “Outed”! (Part 6)

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Sometimes, no, actually most of the time, we do things a certain way simply because it is the only way we know or it is the way it has always been done. There is nothing wrong with practicing a consistent approach to reach a standard product, if indeed the product is some thing. We should really question why we do so when it involves someone.

During my high school teaching days, I had the privilege of organizing job shadowing experiences for some of my students. They were always excited about the opportunity to live in the shoes of someone who was actually involved in a career that interested them, even if for just one day.

As the day approached, students would usually ask me what they should do or how they should prepare for this experience.
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On Being Stuck at Home: Schools Are “Outed”! (Part 5)

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Last week I discussed an article regarding teachers who were worried about “gaps that may grow for disadvantaged students stuck at home” during the COVID-19 school shut downs. Actually, I never got past the title which I found to be full of innuendos I felt needed to be exposed before getting into the heart of the article.

Before I begin today, let me explain that I do not believe everyone in the education industry is out to lunch, nor do I believe that I have all the answers. I can say, however, that I do question everything and that I do not subscribe to what most people would call the status quo of the education system.

In defence of the article, I want to acknowledge that there are situations where a school setting is better than a home education. Some of you may be surprised by my saying this, but there are students out there who are in need of help. However, they are not disadvantaged because they are “stuck at home” as much as by outside circumstances beyond their control.
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Gaps? Schools Are “Outed”! (Part 4)

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“Educators worry that gaps may grow for disadvantaged students stuck at home.” That was the title! Not much point in reading the article itself because the title says it all. That is, if one does not question the presumptions inherent in it.

Unquestioningly accepting what we are told is, unfortunately, why we have the world we now call “normal.” We just don’t consider what is being said and so anyone willing to write or speak on any topic becomes an “expert.” There simply is no opposition and if there is, it is usually dismissed with some kind of disparaging comment or label.

Let’s risk being called something that is not nice and look into why such a title causes me anxieties.
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