I sometimes hear homeschool skeptics wonder “What about gaps in a homeschooled education?” I mean, parents can’t teach a child everything he needs for success, can they?
What if a homeschooled child doesn’t know a needed skill, like standing in a line (homeschool kids are notoriously bad about “clustering”), taking notes, or citing sources in a research paper?
I would like to answer this question with a true story.
When I was a 7th grader in public school in the 1970′s, I was very bright, always made straight A’s, and was often the subject of ridicule for being “so smart”.
One day in English class, the teacher asked the class a question pertaining to the months of the year. I can’t recall the exact question, but it must have been something like, “What month comes 2 months after April?”
As per their usual custom, the kids in the class started jeering me to come up with the right answer. Only this time I didn’t. Because I didn’t know it.
The teacher called on me by name. “Connie, tell everyone what month comes 2 months after April.”
“I don’t know.” I replied honestly.
“You don’t know?” questioned the teacher.
“No. I don’t have the months of the year memorized.”
This sent the class into howls of laughter, and the shocked teacher told me that it was something I should have already learned years before.
So, I went home that day and asked my mom to tell me the months of the year as I wrote them down.
And 5 minutes later I had memorized the months of the year. BOOM. DONE.
THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is the answer to “What about gaps in a homeschooled education?”. And also the answer to “What about gaps in ANY education?”.
Yes, there will be gaps. Yes, my oldest had never done a research paper when one was required of her at a homeschool co-op.
But she came home, looked up how to cite sources, and applied that. BOOM. DONE.
My hope for my children is that learning will be a lifelong process. I hope they are like this 90 year old friend who is currently taking a creative writing class.