A few days ago, my order arrived at our house, thrown in by the postman who probably had a bad day. It was flung into the driveway when the disgruntled postman saw me sitting on the sofa reading the papers from outside the gate. It was thrown in, landed with a loud thud after which he zoomed off before I could make a deal out of this ( undesirable ) service. In the box was my precious The Well Trained Mind.
Image taken from here.
This book written by the mother-daughter team of Susan Bauer-Wise and Jessie Wise about their homeschooling method. The co-writer Susan was a product of her mother’s Jessie homeschooling system. Like myself, Jessie was a certified-trained teacher but she noted that homeschooling is a totally different ball game altogether. The educational psychology ingrained into teachers during teacher-training courses and the pedagogies are to help teachers manage a class ( or classes ) of multi personality students. But homeschooling, one to one teaching of your own child has a different set of challenges which is as alien to a trained teacher as one who is not trained in the field.
Jessie started homeschooling her kids when what they were receiving in school didn’t quite quench their thirst for learning, got bored and in turn displayed behavioural problems. The family went for theraphy where the therapist suggested that she ( Jessie ) homeschool her kids for optimum results.
In America now and elsewhere in several European countries, homeschooling is not only a trend but has become a first choice for mothers who feel they want to be in control of what their children learn, instead of fulfilling a national agenda or unknowingly being part of the social engineering scheme. Homeschooling goes not without criticism. Many cynics claimed that parents who homeschool their children are depriving them of the social interaction with the outside world. To that, Jessie Wise wrote that ‘ a child does not need the entire school to socialise and in that kind of scenario, they will always gravitate towards the most popular kid in the school anyway and break into small cluster of friends’. Her own homeschooled kids socialised through football and other enrichment classes that she sent her kids to.
Even before I read The Well Trained Mind, the husband and I have always decided upon the idea of homeschooling for our kids before we were even married. We still do not have our own kids yet but I am homeschooling some special needs kids at the moment by request of their parents and their therapists and I do admit, the satisfaction is on a different level than teaching a class of students with one size fits all curriculum to follow. We work on our own time and our own timing and seeking knowledge becomes a beautiful experience sans having to worry about the percentage passes and value added results which for years I had to adhere to, just to make sure my grading for performance bonus makes the mark.
I like this whole idea of homeschooling and even though we have yet to have our own kids to homeschool, I have actually written the whole curriculum of my own homeschooling program from birth to 18 years old. Like the hadith stated ‘ Seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave’, it does not hurt to start preparing, researching and revising my own syllabus and curriculum so when the time comes, I will be ready to execute the plan and mould more well-trained minds.