to homeschool or not in nyc?

Catching up on some long-overdue reading about homeschooling. Had no idea how big a movement it is, but I’m not surprised.

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From The Profound Ways that Schooling Harms Society, perfectly capturing why more parents are taking this route:

…interesting not only to look at what your children are required to learn in school, but at what they are not required to learn.  While your kids are very busy toiling over algebra and chemistry, international trade agreements are being forged and currencies are being manipulated by entities that most Americans don’t even know the names of, much less the inner workings of.  Kids are compelled to solve quadratic equations and write essays on Shakespeare, and they graduate without understanding how to calculate the interest on credit card debt or decode a mortgage agreement.  They learn an old fable called “How a Bill Becomes Law,” while corporate lobbyists draft legislation that will pollute their air and water, deny them health care and unemployment benefits, and put barely tested drugs on the market and genetically modified organisms in their food system.  And in the developing world, teenagers are struggling with — and more often than not, being defeated by — English Romantic poets and high school physics while the World Bank and IMF are negotiating incentives for foreign investment that will lead to their ancestral lands being sold out out from under them to foreign timber and mining companies and Wall Street speculators in agricultural land.

Our kids are so drowned in disconnected information that it becomes quite random what they do and don’t remember, and they’re so overburdened with endless homework and tests that they have little time or energy to pay attention to what’s happening in the world around them. They are taught to focus on competing with each other and gaming the system rather than on gaining a deep understanding of the way power flows through their world. The most academically “gifted” students excel at obedience, instinctively shaping their thinking to the prescribed curriculum and unconsciously framing out of their awareness ideas that won’t earn the praise of their superiors. Those who resist sitting still for this process are marginalized, labeled as less intelligent or even as mildly brain-damaged, and, increasingly, drugged into compliance.

More intriguingly:

In what should be considered a chilling development, there are murmurings of the idea of creating globalstandards for education – in other words, the creation of a single centralized authority dictating what every child on the planet must learn.

Yikes.

That techies are homeschooling in droves is interesting, since it reflects the people we know personally. Here’s a piece from Feb 2015, with useful links: The Techies Who Are Hacking Education by Homeschooling Their Kids.

…Problems arise, the thinking goes, when kids are pushed into an educational model that treats everyone the same—gives them the same lessons and homework, sets the same expectations, and covers the same subjects. The solution, then, is to come up with exercises and activities that will help each kid flesh out the themes and subjects to which they are naturally drawn.

Even back when we thought we’d stay in Asia, families have plenty of resources to draw on to homeschool. We’re fortunate to have moved to NYC where it’s one big learning environment. I was about to sign up for a book launch of Nonstop Metropolis: A New York City Atlas at Queens Museum to hear a friend read one of his essays when I wandered over to its education programming. Most museums have curriculum and tour options that can be adapted to my 3 and 5yo and their friends. Here are some from prominent cultural institutions I googled in under 5 minutes:

There are readings and literary events for kids at indie bookstores (e.g. character visits at The Strand look cool if your kids know Elmo, Clifford and other widely-read characters), and high-quality curriculums on the web developed by people in varied disciplines. Check out #homeschool and #curriculum on your favorite social media. Every borough has homeschooling groups and co-ops, and the members often invite other groups to join their major events and activities.

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