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homeschooling wisdom from chris davis
the day homeschooling dies
the 2 levels of an education
gears! leaves! twigs!
that incomplete project
see you next fall
kindergarten
homeschooling or lifeschooling?
get lost
a millionaire seeks the purpose of a public education
part 3: why we are not yet ready to “do something else”
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my sons never went to school.

one day, as my oldest son and i were discussing his upbringing, i had a revelation about this movement we all call “homeschooling.”

i said to seth, “when you have kids, they won’t go to public school. they won’t go to private school. they won’t go to a christian school.”

“and,” i concluded, “your kids won’t be home schooled, either.”

the realization i had while talking with seth is that god had begun something many years ago and, although it eventually came to be called “homeschooling,” it really wasn’t about schooling at all. here is what i mean.

the collapse of the family

for thousands of years children have grown up in what today would be considered an unnatural place: their own homes. in this setting, parents never thought of themselves as “home schoolers.” there was no alternative to children spending their days at home, having knowledge, experiences and character passed to them by their parents and extended family. what children needed to know, they learned as part of their daily lives: sowing and reaping, weather, how a business works, how to treat customers (and everyone else, for that matter).

life was their education. to say this another way: children did not learn what they needed to know only from books; rather they learned what they needed to know because what they were doing required that they learn it.

throughout history, small, homogeneous groups have attempted to provide a common education for their youth, yet it wasn’t until around the mid 1800’s that entire nations decided to take children out of the home and “school” them. i will briefly mention the two main causes for this dramatic change in the way we began raising our children. (interestingly, both occurred at approximately the same time).

first, in the mid-1800’s the industrial revolution began. newly built factories needed laborers and the siren call went forth for men to leave their homes and be paid a salary (something new for most men). the possibility of being able to increase one’s family’s standard of living was the draw that caused men to cease being patriarchs of a family enterprise and become employees.

around this same time, another movement was taking shape: the common (public) school movement. the leaders of the public school movement were, for the most part, humanists who were concerned about two things they believed endangered america’s future: the continuation of what they called “religious superstitious beliefs” and the influx of illiterate immigrants seeking jobs and a better life in america. these leaders believed that realizing their two-fold goal of ridding our society of religion and providing an education for immigrant children mandated compulsory education for every child. soon, various states were passing compulsory attendance laws and children were being required to leave home to be public schooled.

so, as dads were leaving home with a promise of employment, children were also leaving home with a promise of being made employable. within a very short period of time, the family unit—which had been tightly held together as its members worked together for the common good of the whole—became a group of individuals going their separate ways with separate agendas. to the factories went the dads. to the schools went the kids. where mom went is the subject of another (and very important) article.

it wasn’t long before people forgot what it was like to be a family with dad as the head of a “family enterprise” and each member being co-producers. in one generation, the cultural memory of children growing up at home was forgotten. children belonged “in school” during the most productive hours of their day, learning whatever would make them employable, becoming independent, establishing strong relationships with peers that replaced the bonds of family. and, what had been a lifestyle of learning became “book learning” as education became separated from a real life that was no longer being lived.

of course, there was always a small group of families whose children never attended public school. typically, these were american’s wealthiest whose children received exclusive private educations in areas intended to prepare them for leadership in government and business. most americans don’t realize that public school was never intended to prepare either leaders or entrepreneurs. it has always been intended to prepare employees. [for a fuller understanding of this subject, read john gatto’s books, the underground history of american education, a different kind of teacher, and dumbing us down].

how should we then school?

in the 1950’s—one hundred years after the public school movement began—some middle class parents began to desire an educational experience for their children whose curricula was more individualized. it was at this time that the private school movement began. i attended one of these schools in what should have been my fourth grade. it was little more than an experimental school run by one man who was also the only teacher. he didn’t like having one fourth grader, so i was skipped to fifth grade where there was one other student. i don’t remember learning much, but it was more fun than my earlier years in public school!

during the civil rights years, the christian school movement began along with its own particular brand of curricula which was mainly “christianized” public schooling. the concept remained that children were to be brought out of their homes and taught by educators, (presumably christian), who, because they were “professionals”, would do a better job of training children than could the children’s parents. it seemed that parents would now get the best of both worlds: a public-style education that was also christian.

then, in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, a movement arose that many consider nothing less than god’s intervention to undo what had taken place in the last century. all over the country, parents began keeping their children home instead of sending them to one of the other schooling options. some parents made this decision out of concern for their children’s safety while others didn’t like the education their children were receiving. however, the majority decided to keep their children home simply because they wanted a relationship with them and parents didn’t think this would happen if their children were gone all day long. it was quite a novel (and controversial) idea that children should be kept home during the schooling hours of the day.

so, today, parents have several choices as to how their children might be educated. they can be:

public schooled private schooled christian schooled home schooled

note that the above choices relate mainly to where the child is schooled. in the past 150 years, what has changed is the first word, not the second. each choice still emphasizes the fact that children are to be schooled.

a misunderstood movement?

i don’t know how keeping our children home during the day came to be known as “home schooling,” but i do have a theory: ask parents, “what should children, age six to eighteen, be doing during the day, monday through friday?” and most will say, “these are the years when a child is being schooled, of course.” (this is why we have such phrases in our vocabulary as a child being of schooling age).

it follows that, if a child is to be “schooled” during these formative years, the only real question is, “where?” today, the answer is, “he will either be public schooled, private schooled, christian schooled, or home schooled.”

assuming, then, that every child is to “be schooled” during the day—if he is home during the day—he will be “home schooled” during the day. hence the origin of the label “homeschooling.”

now, i want to ask, “is schooling really supposed to be a child’s primary daily activity?” it wasn’t until the advent of the modern public school movement. schooling a child was never meant to be the “constant” with the variable being only where the child is schooled. historically, it has always been the other way around.

what is so problematic with the term “home schooling” is what it has done to parents whose children are spending their days at home.

labeling something gives it meaning—identifies it.

if we are comfortable with certain words in the label and not so comfortable with other words in the label, those words with which we feel least secure will take on greater significance.

take the word “homeschooling”. if we are secure in our home and in how we are raising our children, we raise them from a place of god’s rest. if we are insecure in our schooling, we become afraid and do not school from a place of god’s rest. instead, we become driven to overcome our insecurity (a nice word for fear) and focus on whatever we feel is needed to make sure we do school right. whatever we fear becomes a driver in our lives as we attempt to overcome our fear and find security.

when parents send their children to public school, parents are supposed to feel secure that trained professionals will be educating their children. parents don’t pretend they could do a job others have spent years being trained to do. a parent might think she could raise her children in many other areas; but, definitely, not provide for their education.

then, one day, we became homeschoolers. insecure homeschoolers, perhaps; but homeschoolers, nonetheless. however, since what we were doing was labeled “homeschooling,” we, in our insecurity, actually became home-schoolers rather than home-schoolers. the importance of our children becoming educated (isn’t that what children do during the day?) took on greater prominence than the importance of them being home. it hasn’t helped that there is no cultural memory of what having our children home really means to the family or to society.

what did i mean when i told my son, “and, your kids won’t be homeschooled”? during seth’s years at home, his academic education was never the main priority. in our home, we did have a rigid priority structure, but those priorities were first relationships; second, practical skills; and, finally, academics. seth grew up with a strong academic upbringing, but academics were never our priority. seth is a skilled, very competent individual of the highest character. he is also one of the happiest young men i have ever known.

as i look back on seth’s time at home, i have come to realize that he was never “homeschooled.” he simply grew up in a most remarkable place: his own home.

when our children were young we would take them with us to the store. other kids were in school. the check-out lady would invariably ask, “you boys aren’t in school today?”

since the boys knew we were homeschoolers, they would respond, “no, ma’am, we’re homeschooled.”

starting over

if i could do it all over again, i would not call ourselves “homeschoolers.” i have actually come to dislike the term because i think it creates significant internal problems. if i were starting over again, when the lady at the store asked, “you boys aren’t in school today?” i would teach the boys to say, simply, “no ma’am,” and let it go at that.

in just the past year i have noticed a growing distinction between children who are home, being homeschooled and those who are home, being homeschooled. are the “not-being-homeschooled” children receiving a quality upbringing, including a quality education? today enough research exists that i can honestly say an unequivocal “yes”. i would even go so far as to say that the not-being-homeschooled child is receiving an education which is superior, and far richer, than the child being homeschooled. [for a fuller discussion on this, check out my book, “gifted: raising children intentionally”].

the availability of what has come to be known as “prepackaged curricula” is helping manifest a separation of the two types of families who were once grouped together under the one term: “homeschoolers.”

many parents purchase prepackaged curricula because they don’t understand what god originally intended when he began this movement many years ago.

what do you think your children should be doing all day now that they are home? probably the most obvious way to determine what you really believe is to ask yourself, “is my child the constant or is my child’s education the constant?” look at the materials you use to bring learning into your child’s life. do you use graded, prepackaged, curricula? is your child in a grade as he would be if he were in an institutional setting? do you follow the institutionalized scope & sequence educational model?

or, have you stepped completely out of the lock-step, institutional way of raising your child?

this article is not intended to discourage, but to give hope. in most parents’ hearts is the desire to reprioritize their lives around what is truly important to them: having a relationship with their children. to bring your children home can be an immense lifestyle change. for some, making this change has to be done in stages. if you have brought your children home it may have been necessary (for a season) to place before them the ever popular “curriculum-in-a-box.” hopefully, that season will be short-lived.

our children never went to school, were never in a grade, and we never used a prepackaged curriculum. nevertheless, it took us a while to learn all that i am sharing with you here. be encouraged. you are allowed to do what your heart tells you is right.

if we aren’t homeschooling, what are we doing?

right now, nearly two million children are spending their days at home rather than “at school,” thus putting an end to a 150 year “detour” which began in the 1850’s and which seriously harmed family life and kingdom community as god initially intended them to be lived. as families leave this detour and turn onto the road whose name is “life as it was meant to be lived,” we will see vistas we didn’t know existed. let me offer some suggestions.

1 | don’t send your children to school. any school. bring them home. raise them to be the individuals god has created them to become.

2 | don’t bring the school, any school (along with its “efficient”, but arbitrary, grade levels, scope & sequence, boxed curriculum) into your home. allow your children to learn through life and the relationships around them.

3 | learn how to awaken curiosity in your children. (this is the subject of another article.)

4 | the only thing that should be prepackaged is your child. by this i mean your child was born with all the talents, giftings, and callings put into him or her since the foundation of the world. find out what these are and let your child become truly good at what you discover.

5 | dad’s heart must turn toward his children and the hearts of the children must turn toward dad. ultimately, this may bring dad out of the corporate workforce to come home. this final step may take another generation to be fulfilled. but, for it to be fulfilled, dad must at least begin moving in that direction (ie. giving his children the option of becoming entrepreneurs, themselves).

6 | in your own home, let “homeschooling” die. in other words, don’t homeschool your children.

god has asked us to raise a generation prepared for the future by allowing each individual to become exactly what the creator intended each one to become. “schooling” assumes generic human beings. none of your children are generic, so none of them should be “schooled”. each child’s education will be as different as is each child’s giftings, talents and callings. this is what will bring glory to their creator as well as joy to their own lives.
kindergarten: (noun). from the german meaning “a child’s garden”.
god plants two seeds into the garden of every child’s life. they are his gifts both to the child and to the world.
the flowers these seeds are intended to bear are curiosity and the capacity to be amazed .
curiosity and amazement are beautiful flowers; but, they are wildflowers. being delicate, their survival depends on a certain level of chaos. not just chaos allowed, but chaos promoted. unfortunately for the child (and for the world), most gardeners see them as weeds extending themselves beyond the straight rows and over the trimmed hedges.
however, when a child escapes the gardener’s spade–and when the seeds god has planted are allowed to fully mature–that child grows up discovering answers to questions no one else is even asking and doing what no one else dare attempt.
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gifted: raising children intentionally
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chris davis recommends
experiencing israel
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feel free to forward this blog to anyone you think might be interested. you may also receive my future blogs by signing up on this page.
gifted: raising children intentionally
if you would like a free copy of chapter 1 of the book
chris davis recommends
experiencing israel
feel free to forward this blog to anyone you think might be interested. you may also receive my future blogs by signing up on this page.
gifted: raising children intentionally
if you would like a free copy of chapter 1 of the book
chris davis recommends
experiencing israel
the main thing is to not beat yourself up for not completing it
whatever you’re beating yourself up for, give yourself some grace this next season of your life!
i always welcome comments to anything i write so please use the space, below, to let me know your opinions. have a great rest of 2016!
feel free to forward this blog to anyone you think might be interested. you may also receive my future blogs by signing up on this page.
gifted: raising children intentionally
if you would like a free copy of chapter 1 of the book
chris davis recommends
experiencing israel
i always welcome comments to anything i write so please use the space, below, to let me know your opinions. have a great 2016!
feel free to forward this blog to anyone you think might be interested. you may also receive my future blogs by signing up on this page.
gifted: raising children intentionally
if you would like a free copy of chapter 1 of the book
chris davis recommends
experiencing israel
i rarely use this venue to promote a conference, but this one is different.
is
i always welcome comments to anything i write so please use the space, below, to let me know your opinions. have a great 2016!
feel free to forward this blog to anyone you think might be interested. you may also receive my future blogs by signing up on this page.
gifted: raising children intentionally
if you would like a free copy of chapter 1 of the book
chris davis recommends
experiencing israel
venture capitalist searches for the meaning of school. here’s what he found
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lever
! !
and how much are our kids really learning? if there’s one thing i learned, it’s that they’re not learning. practically anything.
i always welcome comments to anything i write so please use the space, below, to let me know your opinions. have a great 2016!
feel free to forward this blog to anyone you think might be interested. you may also receive my future blogs by signing up on this page.
gifted: raising children intentionally
if you would like a free copy of chapter 1 of the book
chris davis recommends
experiencing israel
do something else
the 4 beliefs and the 2 tyrannies
4 mistaken beliefs that drive our homeschooling:
2 deceptive tyrannies that drive our homeschooling:
1. the tyranny of the test:
2. the tyranny of the transcript:
i always welcome comments to anything i write so please use the space, below, to let me know your opinions. have a great 2016!
feel free to forward this blog to anyone you think might be interested. you may also receive my future blogs by signing up on this page.
gifted: raising children intentionally
if you would like a free copy of chapter 1 of the book
chris davis recommends
experiencing israel
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i
em feel free to forward this blog to anyone you think might be interested. you may also receive my future blogs by signing up on this page.
gifted: raising children intentionally
if you would like a free copy of chapter 1 of the book
chris davis recommends
experiencing israel
both
every
feel free to forward this blog to anyone you think might be interested. you may also receive my future blogs by signing up on this page.
gifted: raising children intentionally
if you would like a free copy of chapter 1 of the book
chris davis recommends
experiencing israel
feel free to forward this blog to anyone you think might be interested. you may also receive my future blogs by signing up on this page.
gifted: raising children intentionally
if you would like a free copy of chapter 1 of the book
chris davis recommends
experiencing israel
the main thing is to not beat yourself up for not completing it
whatever you’re beating yourself up for, give yourself some grace this next season of your life!
i always welcome comments to anything i write so please use the space, below, to let me know your opinions. have a great rest of 2016!
feel free to forward this blog to anyone you think might be interested. you may also receive my future blogs by signing up on this page.
gifted: raising children intentionally
if you would like a free copy of chapter 1 of the book
chris davis recommends
experiencing israel
i always welcome comments to anything i write so please use the space, below, to let me know your opinions. have a great 2016!
feel free to forward this blog to anyone you think might be interested. you may also receive my future blogs by signing up on this page.
gifted: raising children intentionally
if you would like a free copy of chapter 1 of the book
chris davis recommends
experiencing israel
i rarely use this venue to promote a conference, but this one is different.
is
i always welcome comments to anything i write so please use the space, below, to let me know your opinions. have a great 2016!
feel free to forward this blog to anyone you think might be interested. you may also receive my future blogs by signing up on this page.
gifted: raising children intentionally
if you would like a free copy of chapter 1 of the book
chris davis recommends
experiencing israel
venture capitalist searches for the meaning of school. here’s what he found
-17
lever
! !
and how much are our kids really learning? if there’s one thing i learned, it’s that they’re not learning. practically anything.
i always welcome comments to anything i write so please use the space, below, to let me know your opinions. have a great 2016!
feel free to forward this blog to anyone you think might be interested. you may also receive my future blogs by signing up on this page.
gifted: raising children intentionally
if you would like a free copy of chapter 1 of the book
chris davis recommends
experiencing israel
do something else
the 4 beliefs and the 2 tyrannies
4 mistaken beliefs that drive our homeschooling:
2 deceptive tyrannies that drive our homeschooling:
1. the tyranny of the test:
2. the tyranny of the transcript:
i always welcome comments to anything i write so please use the space, below, to let me know your opinions. have a great 2016!
feel free to forward this blog to anyone you think might be interested. you may also receive my future blogs by signing up on this page.
gifted: raising children intentionally
if you would like a free copy of chapter 1 of the book
chris davis recommends
experiencing israel
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homeschooling wisdom from chris davis http://homeschoolingwisdom.com/
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charm offensive http://homeschoolingwisdom.com/charm-offensive/
who is this homeschool pioneer? http://homeschoolingwisdom.com/about/
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the day homeschooling dies http://homeschoolingwisdom.com/the-day-homeschooling-dies/
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gifted: raising children intentionally http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0991468007/ref=as_li_tl?ie=utf8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeasin=0991468007&linkcode=as2&tag=pioneehomesc-20&linkid=75yxqt45orr65gax">gifted: raising children intentionally</a><img src="http://ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/ir?t=pioneehomesc-20&l=as2&o=1&a=0991468007" width="1" height="1" border="0" alt="" style="border:none !important; margin:0px !important;
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http://homeschoolingwisdom.com/the-day-homeschooling-dies/
chrisdavis http://homeschoolingwisdom.com/author/chrisdavis/
the 2 levels of an education http://homeschoolingwisdom.com/the-2-levels-of-an-education/
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gifted: raising children intentionally http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0991468007/ref=as_li_tl?ie=utf8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeasin=0991468007&linkcode=as2&tag=pioneehomesc-20&linkid=75yxqt45orr65gax">gifted: raising children intentionally</a><img src="http://ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/ir?t=pioneehomesc-20&l=as2&o=1&a=0991468007" width="1" height="1" border="0" alt="" style="border:none !important; margin:0px !important;
chris davis recommends http://www.chrisdavisrecommends.com
experiencing israel http://www.experiencingisrael.com
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http://homeschoolingwisdom.com/the-2-levels-of-an-education/
chrisdavis http://homeschoolingwisdom.com/author/chrisdavis/
gears! leaves! twigs! http://homeschoolingwisdom.com/gears-leaves-twigs/
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gifted: raising children intentionally http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0991468007/ref=as_li_tl?ie=utf8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeasin=0991468007&linkcode=as2&tag=pioneehomesc-20&linkid=75yxqt45orr65gax">gifted: raising children intentionally</a><img src="http://ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/ir?t=pioneehomesc-20&l=as2&o=1&a=0991468007" width="1" height="1" border="0" alt="" style="border:none !important; margin:0px !important;
chris davis recommends http://www.chrisdavisrecommends.com
experiencing israel http://www.experiencingisrael.com
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http://homeschoolingwisdom.com/gears-leaves-twigs/
chrisdavis http://homeschoolingwisdom.com/author/chrisdavis/
that incomplete project http://homeschoolingwisdom.com/that-incomplete-project/
leave a reply http://homeschoolingwisdom.com/that-incomplete-project/#respond
gifted: raising children intentionally http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0991468007/ref=as_li_tl?ie=utf8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeasin=0991468007&linkcode=as2&tag=pioneehomesc-20&linkid=75yxqt45orr65gax">gifted: raising children intentionally</a><img src="http://ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/ir?t=pioneehomesc-20&l=as2&o=1&a=0991468007" width="1" height="1" border="0" alt="" style="border:none !important; margin:0px !important;
chris davis recommends http://www.chrisdavisrecommends.com
experiencing israel http://www.experiencingisrael.com
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gifted: raising children intentionally http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0991468007/ref=as_li_tl?ie=utf8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeasin=0991468007&linkcode=as2&tag=pioneehomesc-20&linkid=75yxqt45orr65gax">gifted: raising children intentionally</a><img src="http://ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/ir?t=pioneehomesc-20&l=as2&o=1&a=0991468007" width="1" height="1" border="0" alt="" style="border:none !important; margin:0px !important;
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homeschooling or lifeschooling? http://homeschoolingwisdom.com/homeschooling-or-lifeschooling/
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go here http://lifeschoolingconference.com/
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http://homeschoolingwisdom.com/homeschooling-or-lifeschooling/
chrisdavis http://homeschoolingwisdom.com/author/chrisdavis/
get lost http://homeschoolingwisdom.com/get-lost/
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gifted: raising children intentionally http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0991468007/ref=as_li_tl?ie=utf8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeasin=0991468007&linkcode=as2&tag=pioneehomesc-20&linkid=75yxqt45orr65gax">gifted: raising children intentionally</a><img src="http://ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/ir?t=pioneehomesc-20&l=as2&o=1&a=0991468007" width="1" height="1" border="0" alt="" style="border:none !important; margin:0px !important;
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a millionaire seeks the purpose of a public education http://homeschoolingwisdom.com/a-millionaire-seeks-the-purpose-of-a-public-education/
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go here https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2015/11/03/a-venture-capitalist-searches-for-the-purpose-of-school-heres-what-he-found/
gifted: raising children intentionally http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0991468007/ref=as_li_tl?ie=utf8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeasin=0991468007&linkcode=as2&tag=pioneehomesc-20&linkid=75yxqt45orr65gax">gifted: raising children intentionally</a><img src="http://ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/ir?t=pioneehomesc-20&l=as2&o=1&a=0991468007" width="1" height="1" border="0" alt="" style="border:none !important; margin:0px !important;
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part 3: why we are not yet ready to “do something else” http://homeschoolingwisdom.com/part-3-why-we-are-not-yet-ready-to-do-something-else/
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gifted: raising children intentionally http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0991468007/ref=as_li_tl?ie=utf8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeasin=0991468007&linkcode=as2&tag=pioneehomesc-20&linkid=75yxqt45orr65gax">gifted: raising children intentionally</a><img src="http://ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/ir?t=pioneehomesc-20&l=as2&o=1&a=0991468007" width="1" height="1" border="0" alt="" style="border:none !important; margin:0px !important;
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older posts http://homeschoolingwisdom.com/page/2/
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the 2 levels of an education http://homeschoolingwisdom.com/the-2-levels-of-an-education/
gears! leaves! twigs! http://homeschoolingwisdom.com/gears-leaves-twigs/
that incomplete project http://homeschoolingwisdom.com/that-incomplete-project/
see you next fall http://homeschoolingwisdom.com/see-you-next-fall/
10 ways which public school may harm your child’s future http://homeschoolingwisdom.com/10-ways-which-public-school-may-harm-your-childs-future-8/#comment-739
chrisdavis http://chrisdavis.wordpress.com/
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college: part 3 http://homeschoolingwisdom.com/college-part-3/#comment-727
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february 2017 http://homeschoolingwisdom.com/2017/02/
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homeschooling wisdom from chris davis menu skip to content homecharm offensive who is this homeschool pioneer? the day homeschooling dies leave a reply my sons never went to school. one day, as my oldest son and i were discussing his upbringing, i had a revelation about this movement we all call “homeschooling.” i said to seth, “when you have kids, they won’t go to public school. they won’t go to private school. they won’t go to a christian school.” “and,” i concluded, “your kids won’t be home schooled, either.” the realization i had while talking with seth is that god had begun something many years ago and, although it eventually came to be called “homeschooling,” it really wasn’t about schooling at all. here is what i mean. the collapse of the family for thousands of years children have grown up in what today would be considered an unnatural place: their own homes. in this setting, parents never thought of themselves as “home schoolers.” there was no alternative to children spending their days at home, having knowledge, experiences and character passed to them by their parents and extended family. what children needed to know, they learned as part of their daily lives: sowing and reaping, weather, how a business works, how to treat customers (and everyone else, for that matter). life was their education. to say this another way: children did not learn what they needed to know only from books; rather they learned what they needed to know because what they were doing required that they learn it. throughout history, small, homogeneous groups have attempted to provide a common education for their youth, yet it wasn’t until around the mid 1800’s that entire nations decided to take children out of the home and “school” them. i will briefly mention the two main causes for this dramatic change in the way we began raising our children. (interestingly, both occurred at approximately the same time). first, in the mid-1800’s the industrial revolution began. newly built factories needed laborers and the siren call went forth for men to leave their homes and be paid a salary (something new for most men). the possibility of being able to increase one’s family’s standard of living was the draw that caused men to cease being patriarchs of a family enterprise and become employees. around this same time, another movement was taking shape: the common (public) school movement. the leaders of the public school movement were, for the most part, humanists who were concerned about two things they believed endangered america’s future: the continuation of what they called “religious superstitious beliefs” and the influx of illiterate immigrants seeking jobs and a better life in america. these leaders believed that realizing their two-fold goal of ridding our society of religion and providing an education for immigrant children mandated compulsory education for every child. soon, various states were passing compulsory attendance laws and children were being required to leave home to be public schooled. so, as dads were leaving home with a promise of employment, children were also leaving home with a promise of being made employable. within a very short period of time, the family unit—which had been tightly held together as its members worked together for the common good of the whole—became a group of individuals going their separate ways with separate agendas. to the factories went the dads. to the schools went the kids. where mom went is the subject of another (and very important) article. it wasn’t long before people forgot what it was like to be a family with dad as the head of a “family enterprise” and each member being co-producers. in one generation, the cultural memory of children growing up at home was forgotten. children belonged “in school” during the most productive hours of their day, learning whatever would make them employable, becoming independent, establishing strong relationships with peers that replaced the bonds of family. and, what had been a lifestyle of learning became “book learning” as education became separated from a real life that was no longer being lived. of course, there was always a small group of families whose children never attended public school. typically, these were american’s wealthiest whose children received exclusive private educations in areas intended to prepare them for leadership in government and business. most americans don’t realize that public school was never intended to prepare either leaders or entrepreneurs. it has always been intended to prepare employees. [for a fuller understanding of this subject, read john gatto’s books, the underground history of american education, a different kind of teacher, and dumbing us down]. how should we then school? in the 1950’s—one hundred years after the public school movement began—some middle class parents began to desire an educational experience for their children whose curricula was more individualized. it was at this time that the private school movement began. i attended one of these schools in what should have been my fourth grade. it was little more than an experimental school run by one man who was also the only teacher. he didn’t like having one fourth grader, so i was skipped to fifth grade where there was one other student. i don’t remember learning much, but it was more fun than my earlier years in public school! during the civil rights years, the christian school movement began along with its own particular brand of curricula which was mainly “christianized” public schooling. the concept remained that children were to be brought out of their homes and taught by educators, (presumably christian), who, because they were “professionals”, would do a better job of training children than could the children’s parents. it seemed that parents would now get the best of both worlds: a public-style education that was also christian. then, in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, a movement arose that many consider nothing less than god’s intervention to undo what had taken place in the last century. all over the country, parents began keeping their children home instead of sending them to one of the other schooling options. some parents made this decision out of concern for their children’s safety while others didn’t like the education their children were receiving. however, the majority decided to keep their children home simply because they wanted a relationship with them and parents didn’t think this would happen if their children were gone all day long. it was quite a novel (and controversial) idea that children should be kept home during the schooling hours of the day. so, today, parents have several choices as to how their children might be educated. they can be: public schooled private schooled christian schooled home schooled note that the above choices relate mainly to where the child is schooled. in the past 150 years, what has changed is the first word, not the second. each choice still emphasizes the fact that children are to be schooled. a misunderstood movement? i don’t know how keeping our children home during the day came to be known as “home schooling,” but i do have a theory: ask parents, “what should children, age six to eighteen, be doing during the day, monday through friday?” and most will say, “these are the years when a child is being schooled, of course.” (this is why we have such phrases in our vocabulary as a child being of schooling age). it follows that, if a child is to be “schooled” during these formative years, the only real question is, “where?” today, the answer is, “he will either be public schooled, private schooled, christian schooled, or home schooled.” assuming, then, that every child is to “be schooled” during the day—if he is home during the day—he will be “home schooled” during the day. hence the origin of the label “homeschooling.” now, i want to ask, “is schooling really supposed to be a child’s primary daily activity?” it wasn’t until the advent of the modern public school movement. schooling a child was never meant to be the “constant” with the variable being only where the child is schooled. historically, it has always been the other way around. what is so problematic with the term “home schooling” is what it has done to parents whose children are spending their days at home. labeling something gives it meaning—identifies it. if we are comfortable with certain words in the label and not so comfortable with other words in the label, those words with which we feel least secure will take on greater significance. take the word “homeschooling”. if we are secure in our home and in how we are raising our children, we raise them from a place of god’s rest. if we are insecure in our schooling, we become afraid and do not school from a place of god’s rest. instead, we become driven to overcome our insecurity (a nice word for fear) and focus on whatever we feel is needed to make sure we do school right. whatever we fear becomes a driver in our lives as we attempt to overcome our fear and find security. when parents send their children to public school, parents are supposed to feel secure that trained professionals will be educating their children. parents don’t pretend they could do a job others have spent years being trained to do. a parent might think she could raise her children in many other areas; but, definitely, not provide for their education. then, one day, we became homeschoolers. insecure homeschoolers, perhaps; but homeschoolers, nonetheless. however, since what we were doing was labeled “homeschooling,” we, in our insecurity, actually became home-schoolers rather than home-schoolers. the importance of our children becoming educated (isn’t that what children do during the day?) took on greater prominence than the importance of them being home. it hasn’t helped that there is no cultural memory of what having our children home really means to the family or to society. what did i mean when i told my son, “and, your kids won’t be homeschooled”? during seth’s years at home, his academic education was never the main priority. in our home, we did have a rigid priority structure, but those priorities were first relationships; second, practical skills; and, finally, academics. seth grew up with a strong academic upbringing, but academics were never our priority. seth is a skilled, very competent individual of the highest character. he is also one of the happiest young men i have ever known. as i look back on seth’s time at home, i have come to realize that he was never “homeschooled.” he simply grew up in a most remarkable place: his own home. when our children were young we would take them with us to the store. other kids were in school. the check-out lady would invariably ask, “you boys aren’t in school today?” since the boys knew we were homeschoolers, they would respond, “no, ma’am, we’re homeschooled.” starting over if i could do it all over again, i would not call ourselves “homeschoolers.” i have actually come to dislike the term because i think it creates significant internal problems. if i were starting over again, when the lady at the store asked, “you boys aren’t in school today?” i would teach the boys to say, simply, “no ma’am,” and let it go at that. in just the past year i have noticed a growing distinction between children who are home, being homeschooled and those who are home, being homeschooled. are the “not-being-homeschooled” children receiving a quality upbringing, including a quality education? today enough research exists that i can honestly say an unequivocal “yes”. i would even go so far as to say that the not-being-homeschooled child is receiving an education which is superior, and far richer, than the child being homeschooled. [for a fuller discussion on this, check out my book, “gifted: raising children intentionally”]. the availability of what has come to be known as “prepackaged curricula” is helping manifest a separation of the two types of families who were once grouped together under the one term: “homeschoolers.” many parents purchase prepackaged curricula because they don’t understand what god originally intended when he began this movement many years ago. what do you think your children should be doing all day now that they are home? probably the most obvious way to determine what you really believe is to ask yourself, “is my child the constant or is my child’s education the constant?” look at the materials you use to bring learning into your child’s life. do you use graded, prepackaged, curricula? is your child in a grade as he would be if he were in an institutional setting? do you follow the institutionalized scope & sequence educational model? or, have you stepped completely out of the lock-step, institutional way of raising your child? this article is not intended to discourage, but to give hope. in most parents’ hearts is the desire to reprioritize their lives around what is truly important to them: having a relationship with their children. to bring your children home can be an immense lifestyle change. for some, making this change has to be done in stages. if you have brought your children home it may have been necessary (for a season) to place before them the ever popular “curriculum-in-a-box.” hopefully, that season will be short-lived. our children never went to school, were never in a grade, and we never used a prepackaged curriculum. nevertheless, it took us a while to learn all that i am sharing with you here. be encouraged. you are allowed to do what your heart tells you is right. if we aren’t homeschooling, what are we doing? right now, nearly two million children are spending their days at home rather than “at school,” thus putting an end to a 150 year “detour” which began in the 1850’s and which seriously harmed family life and kingdom community as god initially intended them to be lived. as families leave this detour and turn onto the road whose name is “life as it was meant to be lived,” we will see vistas we didn’t know existed. let me offer some suggestions. 1 | don’t send your children to school. any school. bring them home. raise them to be the individuals god has created them to become. 2 | don’t bring the school, any school (along with its “efficient”, but arbitrary, grade levels, scope & sequence, boxed curriculum) into your home. allow your children to learn through life and the relationships around them. 3 | learn how to awaken curiosity in your children. (this is the subject of another article.) 4 | the only thing that should be prepackaged is your child. by this i mean your child was born with all the talents, giftings, and callings put into him or her since the foundation of the world. find out what these are and let your child become truly good at what you discover. 5 | dad’s heart must turn toward his children and the hearts of the children must turn toward dad. ultimately, this may bring dad out of the corporate workforce to come home. this final step may take another generation to be fulfilled. but, for it to be fulfilled, dad must at least begin moving in that direction (ie. giving his children the option of becoming entrepreneurs, themselves). 6 | in your own home, let “homeschooling” die. in other words, don’t homeschool your children. god has asked us to raise a generation prepared for the future by allowing each individual to become exactly what the creator intended each one to become. “schooling” assumes generic human beings. none of your children are generic, so none of them should be “schooled”. each child’s education will be as different as is each child’s giftings, talents and callings. this is what will bring glory to their creator as well as joy to their own lives. feel free to forward this blog to anyone you think might be interested. you may also receive my future blogs by signing up on this page. you can purchase a copy of my newest book, gifted: raising children intentionally. just click on the title and you will be taken to amazon where you can purchase the book. if you would like a free copy of chapter 1 of the book, go to the site where i have listed my favorite homeschooling materials and you may download the chapter for free. go to: chris davis recommends (also on facebook). for 15 years, i have taken homeschooling families to tour biblical israel. check out my travel site at experiencing israel (also on facebook) and see the amazing trips we have planned for 2017! this entry was posted in uncategorized on february 2, 2017 by chrisdavis. the 2 levels of an education leave a reply when you homeschool your children, make sure you cover both levels of education. base level knowledge: this is the knowledge every child needs in order to adequately function in a 21st century world. here is a partial list of the ones i consider most important (my book gifted: raising children intentionally goes into detail about each of the following): holding a biblical worldview. regarding every issue of life, the question should be asked, “does god have an opinion about this and, if so, has that opinion been expressed clearly enough so there is no debate as to what god thinks?” having a genuine interest in others. this cannot be taught, but is learned by parental example. learning financial wisdom & being exposed to the option of personal entrepreneurship. learning to think critically. having at least a rudimentary understanding of why people draw the conclusions they do. valuing hard work. learning to write well including the use of proper grammar. being comfortable speaking before a group. understanding the proper use of digital media and being exposed to alternate venues for doing research. reading for pleasure. developing habits that make one’s life more efficient, including habits of a healthy lifestyle. learning the concepts of basic math. learning the basic concepts of scientific discovery. learning gender-specific skills. practicing test-taking skills. having a “touch of class”, including being exposed to classical art and music. being exposed to other cultures (i.e. travel). what you should have noticed in the above list is that many (if not most) are not included in the curriculum taught in government schools. most of the above can become part of a child’s internal life by the time the child reaches his/her teen years. beyond basic level knowledge: these are the years during which you allow the child’s individual giftings/callings to express themselves and mature. again, my book, gifting: raising children intentionally was written to demonstrate that we can, and we must, provide the resources and the time for each child to excel in those very specific spheres god has placed within the child for him/her to enter the world and influence it in excellence for his purposes. feel free to forward this blog to anyone you think might be interested. you may also receive my future blogs by signing up on this page. you can purchase a copy of my newest book, gifted: raising children intentionally. just click on the title and you will be taken to amazon where you can purchase the book. if you would like a free copy of chapter 1 of the book, go to the site where i have listed my favorite homeschooling materials and you may download the chapter for free. go to: chris davis recommends (also on facebook). for 15 years, i have taken homeschooling families to tour biblical israel. check out my travel site at experiencing israel (also on facebook) and see the amazing trips we have planned for 2017! this entry was posted in uncategorized on january 25, 2017 by chrisdavis. gears! leaves! twigs! leave a reply what is lovely about children is that they can make such a production, such a big deal, out of anything—or nothing. from my office window i see many families walking down the street with their children. the adults plod along. the children twirl, leap, skip, run. now to this side, now to that. they look for things to step over or jump over or walk along or around. they climb on anything that can be climbed. i never want to be where i cannot see it. all that energy and foolishness, all that curiosity, questions, talk, all the fierce passions and inconsolable sorrows, immoderate joys, seem to many to be a nuisance to be endured if not a disease to be cured. to me, they are a national asset: a treasure beyond price, more necessary to our health and our very survival than any oil or uranium or name-what-you-will. one day in the public garden i see on a small patch of grass under some trees a father and a two-year-old girl. the father is lying down. the little girl runs everywhere. what joy to run! suddenly she stops and looks intently at the ground, bends down, picks something up. a twig? a pebble? she stands up; runs again. she sees a pigeon and chases it! she stops again and looks up into the sunlit trees. what does she see? perhaps a squirrel; perhaps a bird; perhaps the shapes and colors of the leaves in the sun. then she bends down, finds something else, picks it up; examines it. another miracle! gears! leaves! twigs! little children love the world. that is why they are so good at learning about it. for it is love, not tricks and techniques of thought, that lies at the heart of all true learning. can we bring ourselves to let children learn and grow through that love? – from how children learn by john holt, educator & author feel free to forward this blog to anyone you think might be interested. you may also receive my future blogs by signing up on this page. you can purchase a copy of my newest book, gifted: raising children intentionally. just click on the title and you will be taken to amazon where you can purchase the book. if you would like a free copy of chapter 1 of the book, go to the site where i have listed my favorite homeschooling materials and you may download the chapter for free. go to: chris davis recommends (also on facebook). for 15 years, i have taken homeschooling families to tour biblical israel. check out my travel site at experiencing israel (also on facebook) and see the amazing trips we have planned for 2017! this entry was posted in uncategorized on october 24, 2016 by chrisdavis. that incomplete project leave a reply a long time ago, when i was much younger, i decided to build a mortise and tenon, 4-poster bed out of redwood. all the work would be hand-tooled and i envisioned a beautiful masterpiece when done. working with the amazing properties of redwood was a real joy—at least for many months. but then, one day, i sort of ran out of gas, as they say, and the enjoyment dissipated. every now and then i would pick up a piece of wood and try to get the motivation back, but there was none to be had. of course, i felt guilty for having spent so much money on the precious wood and not finishing a project i had so eagerly begun. “what a waste!” i thought. “how lazy can one person be?” i admonished myself. then, one day, i overheard someone say, “whenever you begin a project, set a date for its completion. if it’s truly important, it will be finished by (or, even before) that date. if it isn’t finished by the date, it’s probably not all that important. either extend the date or walk away  from the project. the main thing is to not beat yourself up for not completing it.” so, i set a date and, as you might guess, the bed was never completed. when the date arrived, i took all the wood and threw it into the dempsey dumpster. and, i never beat myself up for a project not completed. whatever you’re beating yourself up for, give yourself some grace this next season of your life! i always welcome comments to anything i write so please use the space, below, to let me know your opinions. have a great rest of 2016! feel free to forward this blog to anyone you think might be interested. you may also receive my future blogs by signing up on this page. you can purchase a copy of my newest book, gifted: raising children intentionally. just click on the title and you will be taken to amazon where you can purchase the book. if you would like a free copy of chapter 1 of the book, go to the site where i have listed my favorite homeschooling materials and you may download the chapter for free. go to: chris davis recommends (also on facebook). for 15 years, i have taken homeschooling families to tour biblical israel. check out my travel site at experiencing israel (also on facebook) and see the amazing trips we have planned for 2017! this entry was posted in uncategorized on september 18, 2016 by chrisdavis. see you next fall leave a reply this is a quick note to let everyone know i leave for israel tomorrow for the entire summer. i will return in september. if you want to contact me, i will have my computer with me in israel and will be able to respond between taking groups around the land. for general communication: contact@chrisdavis.email for israel trips: chris@experiencingisrael.com for homeschool related inquiries: chrisdavis@pioneerhomeschooler.com see you in the fall! chris this entry was posted in uncategorized on june 6, 2016 by chrisdavis. kindergarten leave a reply kindergarten: (noun). from the german meaning “a child’s garden”. god plants two seeds into the garden of every child’s life. they are his gifts both to the child and to the world. the flowers these seeds are intended to bear are curiosity and the capacity to be amazed. curiosity and amazement are beautiful flowers; but, they are wildflowers. being delicate, their survival depends on a certain level of chaos. not just chaos allowed, but chaos promoted. unfortunately for the child (and for the world), most gardeners see them as weeds extending themselves beyond the straight rows and over the trimmed hedges. however, when a child escapes the gardener’s spade–and when the seeds god has planted are allowed to fully mature–that child grows up discovering answers to questions no one else is even asking and doing what no one else dare attempt. i always welcome comments to anything i write so please use the space, below, to let me know your opinions. have a great 2016! feel free to forward this blog to anyone you think might be interested. you may also receive my future blogs by signing up on this page. you can purchase a copy of my newest book, gifted: raising children intentionally. just click on the title and you will be taken to amazon where you can purchase the book. if you would like a free copy of chapter 1 of the book, go to the site where i have listed my favorite homeschooling materials and you may download the chapter for free. go to: chris davis recommends (also on facebook). for 14 years, i have taken homeschooling families to tour biblical israel. check out my travel site at experiencing israel (also on facebook) this entry was posted in uncategorized on may 5, 2016 by chrisdavis. homeschooling or lifeschooling? leave a reply i rarely use this venue to promote a conference, but this one is different. many of us who helped pioneer the homeschooling movement now use the phrase “lifeschooling” to distinguish what we did from what many contemporary homeschoolers are doing today. the conference is called “wings: lifeschooling conference and activities fair. merging life with homeschooling” and it takes place in matthews, nc on july 7-9. speakers include: israel wayne, wendy rhondina, chalanda frazier, dr. frank turek, mark & lisa metzger, and danielle papageorgiou. my book, gifted: raising children intentionally will be your free gift when you sign up for the conference. go here for all the conference details! this entry was posted in uncategorized on may 2, 2016 by chrisdavis. get lost leave a reply why is it so important to stop and smell the roses? to keep stopping and keep smelling the roses? because the journey is much more important than the destination. with the advent of gps, it’s almost impossible to get lost these days. but, not getting lost keeps us from accidentally stumbling upon so many adventures that could make life interesting. homeschoolers tend to schedule their children’s days such that the kids never have time to wander and explore and wonder. instead of giving them a microscope and telling them to go outside, we spend their lives in the predictable, those unchanging and unchallenging tasks that arrest natural curiosity. along life’s journey, allow yourself to get lost from time to time. the temporary feeling of insecurity you will have while wondering where you are cannot compare to the joy you will have when you find yourself. if you stop to smell the roses, the world may rush right past you. they will arrive at the destination before you do. but they will have missed the scent that awaits those who stop and linger. and smell the roses. the journey really is more important than the destination. i always welcome comments to anything i write so please use the space, below, to let me know your opinions. have a great 2016! feel free to forward this blog to anyone you think might be interested. you may also receive my future blogs by signing up on this page. you can purchase a copy of my newest book, gifted: raising children intentionally. just click on the title and you will be taken to amazon where you can purchase the book. if you would like a free copy of chapter 1 of the book, go to the site where i have listed my favorite homeschooling materials and you may download the chapter for free. go to: chris davis recommends (also on facebook). for 14 years, i have taken homeschooling families to tour biblical israel. check out my travel site at experiencing israel (also on facebook) & this entry was posted in uncategorized on april 13, 2016 by chrisdavis. a millionaire seeks the purpose of a public education leave a reply i am sending excerpts from a very long article entitled venture capitalist searches for the meaning of school. here’s what he found in order to encourage homeschoolers that a huge shift is coming in how children will one day be educated. it is encouraging because the changes will release homeschoolers from feeling they must keep following the ineffective way children are educated in the public schools and it will allow homeschooling parents the freedom to do what is actually in their hearts to do for their own children. go here if you have an interest in reading the entire article. ted dintersmith is a highly successful venture capitalist and father of two who is devoting most of his time, energy and part of his personal fortune to education-related initiatives that call for a radical remaking of what and how students learn.  he organized, funded and produced the documentary most likely to succeed, which premiered at the sundance film festival in january 2015.  he, along with co-author tony wagner, recently released a book titled most likely to succeed: preparing our kids for the innovation era.  and he is conducting a 50-state tour to encourage communities all over the country to re-think the purpose of school. by ted dintersmith once in a blue moon, our nation focuses a modest amount of attention on our schools, and their purpose. last year, william deresiewicz’ excellently titled book excellent sheep triggered a flurry of discussion, as he argued that education should help students in “building a soul” after “teaching kids to think.” a decade ago, i hadn’t given any of this much thought. i finished my formal education in 1981, which included degrees from a public high school and a state college. my family was poor, but education back then was cheap. i finished school debt-free with solid credentials, and set out on a successful career in innovation — six years with a semiconductor start-up and two decades in venture capital. during those years, if someone had asked me about education’s purpose, my response would have been superficial. the system worked for me, and i assumed it was on solid footing. as my career progressed, i became increasingly concerned with issues beyond my portfolio of start-ups. those concerns weren’t life-changing for me, just perplexing. after retiring at an early age, i planned to travel, get good at golf, and be an involved parent with my young children. two seemingly inconsequential experiences, though, changed my plans. early wake-up call: when my son was in third grade, his science class was studying simple machines. with twenty bucks and a quick trip to home depot, we got everything needed to set up shop in the basement, and started playing around with boards, screws, and pulleys. one evening, we set out to design something that would let him lift a cinder block with his little finger. we came up with an approach that, i remarked in passing, he could use to lift his 250 lb. basketball coach. we laughed. the next week, he came home from school discouraged: “i guess i’m not good at science.” he showed me his simple-machine test, which had blobs of red ink over the question “what simple machine would you use to lift a grown man?” his response was “a six-pulley system,” and included a sketch with pulleys, rope, and stick figures of a man and a child. while the design looked sound, there was a big red x across his answer with the terse note: “ -17.lever   ! ! ” after putting my tiger dad response behind me, i approached the teacher with a constructive suggestion: “instead of asking which simple machine to use, why not ask students to come up with as many designs as possible?”   the answer floored me. “throughout school, these kids will need to take standardized tests. we need to prepare them properly. open-ended questions can confuse them.” decisive wake-up call: when my kids were in middle school, parents received a brief e-mail inviting us to a brown-bag lunch about a “new initiative to teach your kids life skills.” in anticipation, i began jotting down ideas i thought they might cover: essential skills (e.g., inventive problem solving, teamwork, communication, figuring out complicated things), character traits (determined, resourceful, resilient, bold), and important capabilities (learning how to learn, making good decisions, setting and accomplishing ambitious goals, learning how to make your world better). with list in hand, i came to the session prepared. well, it didn’t go as i expected. the transformational initiative? a mandatory monthly session with gym teachers showing young teens gruesome images to scare them away from the vice of the month. for example, to dissuade kids from smoking cigarettes, show them an assortment of tar-ridden lungs and cancer-ravaged mouths. i doubt if this initiative had permanent impact on the students, but it did on me. as i drove home, i found myself locked in. what is the purpose of school? how does school prepare kids for life? when the question refused to go away, i developed a plan. historically, i focused on how my kids were doing in school, and how hard they were working. now, i would start tracking what my kids were doing, and what skills they were developing. i ditched my golf clubs (a relief), and started reading books, watching documentaries, interviewing experts, and meeting teachers and students across all demographics and geographies. in an attempt to be systematic, i decided to categorize what i observed in schools. one column for things that helped prepare kids for life. and one column for things that were irrelevant. i expected both columns to fill up quickly. irrelevant: the “irrelevant” column filled within days, spilling onto additional pages. you will immediately associate these entries with school — factoring polynomials, memorizing the definition of mitosis, past participles, conjugating french verbs, facts about the mesopotamians. and on and on. things important in school, but never used in life. to prepare for exams, students had to cram bucketfuls of this easily-tested material into short-term memory. the “better” the school or the faster the track, the more to be memorized. try as i might, though, i couldn’t connect any of this with something important in life. preparing kids for life: for sure, students have many experiences during their school years that prepare them for life. grades k-6 help kids learn to read, write, and perform core math operations — all of vital import. but in higher grades, only an occasional school assignment — such as writing an essay — helps build an important life skill. for the most part, life preparation occurs through experiences outside the classroom. they develop passions and competencies through an after-school club or program.   they learn the value of teamwork and dedication through athletics. or they get encouragement from an adult who believes in them, and elevates their aspirations. but in the context of curriculum, the “preparing kids for life” column was close to empty. so mountains of irrelevance and molehills of consequence. but that wasn’t the worst of it. i had to add a third column. impairing life prospects:   to my surprise, i observed a lot in school that i knew would hurt their prospects in a world of innovation. a form of anti-preparation, if you will. from my 30-year career, i was clear about what young adults will need in the 21st century. yet, i kept seeing variants of that darn 3rd grade simple-machines lesson. creative expansive thinking turning into narrow, prescriptive “right answers,”. inquisitiveness shriveling up into “will this be on the test?”   a joy for learning worn down into time-efficient hoop-jumping. a willingness to take intellectual risks morphing into formulaic responses without risk of embarrassment. making your world better becoming a dreary requirement to pick up trash. and then it hit me, full force. the most innovative country on the planet is blowing it. as we move full swing into an era of innovation, the united states should be educating to our creative strengths, but instead we’re eroding the very characteristics that will enable our kids to thrive. we’re setting kids up for a life without passion, purpose, or meaningful employment. absent profound change, our country is a decade away from having 50 million chronically-unemployed young adults, adrift in life and awash in debt. i was now fully consumed with this cause. i stepped up my pace, criss-crossing the country to visit schools and gain perspective. i was in hot pursuit of the right answer to the question: “what is the purpose of school?” everywhere i looked — mission statements, meetings with school leaders, websites — i’d find sensible, even inspiring, purposes: teach students cognitive and social skills teach students to think build character and soul help students in a process of self-discovery prepare students to be responsible, contributing citizens inspire students through the study of humanity’s great works prepare students for productive careers i probed educators on these alternatives, trying to determine the purpose of school, as though answering an sat question. but i gradually came to realize that this choice was poorly framed. for starters, each of these goals have merit. if some classrooms prepare students for productive careers, and others prioritize on character development, that’s a good thing. and shouldn’t we celebrate an educator who accomplishes one of these goals — not snipe over whether an alternative purpose is superior? but what came across loud and clear in my journeys is that schools don’t have the luxury of striving for any meaningful purpose. we’ve somehow imposed a system on our educators that requires them to: cover volumes of bureaucratically-prescribed content boost scores on increasingly-pervasive standardized tests get kids through this year’s vacuous hoops to prepare for next year’s vacuous hoops produce acceptable graduation rates and college placements deal with parents who are either obsessive micro-managers or missing in action. how did we get here? a deep dive into the history of education helped me appreciate that our school model was brilliantly designed. over a century ago. in 1893, charles eliot of harvard and the committee of ten anticipated a surge of manufacturing jobs as our country moved beyond agriculture. they re-imagined the u.s. education model, ushering in a factory school model to replace the one-room school house. this path-breaking system of universal public education trained students to perform rote tasks rapidly without errors or creative variation — perfect for assembly-line jobs. the system worked spectacularly, a robust middle class emerged, and america became the world’s most powerful country. somewhat incredibly, we still utilize this covered-wagon-era education model. warning signs about its faltering effectiveness go back for decades. in 1983, the blue-ribbon report titled a nation at risk concluded that if our education system had been imposed on us by a foreign country, we’d declare it an act of war. yet instead of reinventing the model (as the committee of ten did in 1893), we chose to muddle along with short-term, often counter-productive, tweaks. teachers and students described to me endless additions to content, baffling new standards, and relentless high-stakes standardized tests of low-level cognitive skills. our nation is hell-bent on catching singapore and south korea on test scores — a goal those very countries have concluded is nonsensical.   we’re betting millions of futures on no child left behind and race to the top — our twin orbiting black holes of education. and how much are our kids really learning? if there’s one thing i learned, it’s that they’re not learning. practically anything. in my travels, i visited the lawrenceville school, rated as one of the very best high schools in the united states. to its credit, lawrenceville conducted a fascinating experiment a decade ago. after summer vacation, returning students retook the final exams they had completed in june for their science courses. actually, they retook simplified versions of these exams, after faculty removed low-level “forgettable” questions the results were stunning. the average grade in june was a b+ (87 percent). when the simplified test was taken in september, the average grade plummeted to an f (58 percent). not one student retained mastery of all key concepts they appear to have learned in june. the obvious question: if what was “learned” vanishes so quickly, was anything learned in the first place? the debate about the purpose of education ignores the elephant in the classroom. we have wrapped up our schools in rote memorization, low-level testing, and misguided accountability — preventing them from achieving any real purpose. it’s a fool’s errand to debate whether students are better off memorizing and forgetting plato’s categorization of the three parts of a human’s soul, the quadratic equation, or the definition of the cost of goods sold. if classroom “learning” is a mirage, it doesn’t matter whether it’s based on the odyssey, a biology textbook, ap history flashcards, or a phone book. the united states now has more than 500 “deeper learning” schools, most in our nation’s poorest communities. a recent poll conducted by gallup and purdue found that a powerful predictor of life success is access to meaningful internship opportunities while in high school. sadly, such internships are rare. big picture learning, which has grown to 65 schools in more than a dozen states, has cracked the code when it comes to internships. they work with our most at-risk students, helping prepare them for life by connecting the classroom with real world opportunities. best of all, the bpl [project based learning] model relies on having students drive the process to secure a meaningful internship aligned with their interests, rather than just slotting students into make-work roles. given a reason to learn, students bring energy to classroom assignments, and commit “free” time (including coming in on snow days!) to improve their writing, public speaking, project management, collaboration, and math skills. they connect the dots between school and their own purpose, gaining newfound respect for teachers trying to help them. they develop a conviction that they can make their world better through their passions, talents, drive, and ability to learn. pure genius. so back to that purpose question. maybe, in the end, the purpose of school is to help our kids find their own sense of purpose. to prepare them for a life where they can set, and achieve, their own goals, not grind away to meet the needs of some bureaucrat or college admissions officer. given decades of damage from our testing and accountability strategy, maybe it’s time to place our bets on a strategy that puts its weight behind engaging and inspiring our kids . . . and teachers. imagine what our country is capable of if we figure out how to launch millions of purpose-driven kids into society prepared and energized to their world better through their talents, passions, developing skills, and ability to learn. kids that are, truly, prepared for life. oh, and as for me, i’ve come full circle. as i reflect back on my past, i was pretty much a hoop jumper. now, i wake up each morning with conviction. i’m trying things i never would have tried, learning about areas i never paid attention to, making more mistakes in a week than i used to make in a year, and risking failure in a visible way. i’m working much harder than i ever did as a venture capitalist, watching my bank account shrink, traveling non-stop, and not even pausing to ask whether it’s fun or not. in searching for the purpose of school, i found my own. i always welcome comments to anything i write so please use the space, below, to let me know your opinions. have a great 2016! feel free to forward this blog to anyone you think might be interested. you may also receive my future blogs by signing up on this page. you can purchase a copy of my newest book, gifted: raising children intentionally. just click on the title and you will be taken to amazon where you can purchase the book. if you would like a free copy of chapter 1 of the book, go to the site where i have listed my favorite homeschooling materials and you may download the chapter for free. go to: chris davis recommends (also on facebook). for 14 years, i have taken homeschooling families to tour biblical israel. check out my travel site at experiencing israel (also on facebook) this entry was posted in uncategorized on january 2, 2016 by chrisdavis. part 3: why we are not yet ready to “do something else” leave a reply this is my final installment sharing why homeschoolers are not ready to do something else. it is entitled the 4 beliefs and the 2 tyrannies 4 mistaken beliefs that drive our homeschooling: belief #1: my children don’t have a father. of course, they have a biological mom and dad, but i have to confess i don’t see their father (as in their creator) being involved in homeschooling my children. first, these are not your children, but his, and he will be as involved in how you raise (and educate them) as you allow him to be. if you can relax and allow for him to be involved, he will direct you to homeschool the children he gave you with much more grace, peace, and joy than you can by yourself. belief #2: every american child (and that includes my children) must be taught what every other child is being taught. the only choice i get to make is choosing the curricula i will use to teach that information. the reason this is false is it assumes all children are basically identical in their need for identical input as they mature. this assumption ignores everything we say we believe regarding how different god has created each of us to be. belief #3: all subjects must be taught beginning with the simple and moving to the more complex. this is mostly true when using a textbook approach rather than a “context” approach. for instance, a child may not be capable of understanding the pythagorean theorem until he has thoroughly understood algebra. however, that same theorem comes to him naturally as he helps his dad build an addition to their home or adds a fence to their backyard. belief #4: some subjects are important; others not so much. dr. mary hood recently posted a quote from dr. temple grandin: “we are focusing so much on academics that we’ve taken out things like art, sewing, cooking, woodworking, music and other things that introduce kids to [potential] careers.” science, technology, engineering and math have become so prioritized that future artists, musicians, dancers, and poets have largely lost their importance among a people who desperately need the gifts these men and woman have to offer our culture. 2 deceptive tyrannies that drive our homeschooling: 1. the tyranny of the test: if you truly believe a subject is worth mastering, don’t be satisfied until mastery is achieved. in many other subject areas, you will be satisfied with your child having a general framework of the subject which he will flesh out eventually should that subject hold an interest for him. 2. the tyranny of the transcript:      a. state requirements: virtually every state has requirements to graduate from what is popularly called “high school”. my recommendation: find out what these are and craft your own curricula so you may honestly state your child has fulfilled the requirements without necessarily fulfilling them in the same way he would if attending public school.      b. college requirements: in my opinion, college should never be a “given” for any young person (as it was in my family’s culture). however, if a child is obviously college-bound, parents and students must be aware of the countless possibilities that abound today. many of the best colleges do not require the traditional high school transcript and many others do not require the traditional college entrance exam. some careers require college and others are definitely benefited by college. if your child wants to attend a specific college or university, you must obey their requirements so find out what they are. still, many career choices are actually hindered by spending years at a college which actually wastes a young person’s valuable time and money. i always welcome comments to anything i write so please use the space, below, to let me know your opinions. have a great 2016! feel free to forward this blog to anyone you think might be interested. you may also receive my future blogs by signing up on this page. you can purchase a copy of my newest book, gifted: raising children intentionally. just click on the title and you will be taken to amazon where you can purchase the book. if you would like a free copy of chapter 1 of the book, go to the site where i have listed my favorite homeschooling materials and you may download the chapter for free. go to: chris davis recommends (also on facebook). for 14 years, i have taken homeschooling families to tour biblical israel. check out my travel site at experiencing israel (also on facebook) this entry was posted in uncategorized on december 27, 2015 by chrisdavis. post navigation ← older posts search for: subscribe to blog via email enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. email address recent posts the day homeschooling dies the 2 levels of an education gears! leaves! twigs! that incomplete project see you next fall recent commentsanonymous on 10 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