by Bob Doman
On January 26th I was given the honor of providing the keynote address for the Winter Home School Conference in Layton, Utah. The conference was a great success with a couple thousand in attendance.
As I was preparing for the conference, I realized that I needed to address an underlying systemic issue with homeschool, which was simply that the majority of homeschool families were simply replicating school, the very thing they were trying to replace. Just a couple of nights before the address, I realized that the key to this problem had been staring me right in the face. The foundation of the problem was, in fact, the very term “homeschool.”
I titled my speech “Targeted Home Education-T.H.E. Way Forward.” My presentation was aimed at helping parents understand all of the underlying problems and issues associated with turning their homes into mini institutions/schools. I helped them understand how building home education on the foundation of a curriculum, which is an anathema to everything we know about learning and children, was taking them in the wrong direction.
Home education provides an opportunity to individualize education, to build the foundation of learning, short-term memory, working memory, and executive function, the pieces that permit all of us to learn, think, and function in the world; and they are the pieces that can make all of our children smarter, much smarter. Home-based education should permit us to work with the “whole child” and help our children discover themselves, learn how to learn and to love learning, to pursue their passions, and become happy, successful adults with a sense of independence, service, and values. If we target what we are doing with home-based education, we can do so much better and even do it in less time than with a curriculum-based approach.
All of our NACD staff who were present and I were pleased with all the folks coming up to us throughout the afternoon and evening and announcing:
“We’re home educators, not homeschoolers; and we want to do it better and smarter.”