Why Some Kids Aren’t Heading to School Today
Choosing the most radical education reform there is

Tony Woodlief:

So we frown on radicalism. Yet we have embarked on one of the most radical endeavors families can undertake: home-schooling. Given preconceptions about this practice, I should note that we are not anti-government wingnuts living on a compound. We like literature, and nice wines, and Celeste would stab me in the heart with a spoon if I gave her one of those head bonnets the Amish women wear. We are not, in other words, stereotypical home-schooling parents. But neither are most actual home-schooling parents.
Even though Ma and Pa Ingalls sent their children off to the little schoolhouse in Walnut Grove, we’ve decided to start our own. In the eyes of Kansas authorities that’s exactly what we’ve done; regulations require us to establish a school and name it. Ours is the Woodlief Homestead School. I wanted to go with something like: “The School of Revolutionary Resistance,” but Celeste said that was just inviting trouble.
The reason we’ve broken with tradition, or perhaps reverted to a deeper tradition, is not because we oppose sex education, or because we think their egos are too tender for public schools. It’s because we can do a superior job of educating our children. We want to cultivate in them an intellectual breadth and curiosity that public schools no longer offer.
Somewhere there is now an indignant teacher typing an email to instruct me about his profession’s nobility. Perhaps some public schools educate children in multiple languages and musical instruments, have them reading classic literature by age seven, offer intensive studies of math, science, logic, and history, and coach them in public speaking and writing. The thing is, I don’t know where those schools are.

A wise friend recently mentioned that “choice is good”. It will be interesting to see if the upcoming Madison School District math review addresses ongoing concerns over reduced rigor. Math Forum audio / video.

2 thoughts on “Why Some Kids Aren’t Heading to School Today
Choosing the most radical education reform there is”

  1. It’s great that you are able to offer all that for your children–best wishes for your family. But I still have to wonder: if the parents who are homeschooling spent all that time and energy advocating for and volunteering at their local public school, how much better might our public schools be for everyone?

  2. Sherri, Most of the parents I know who have made the difficult decision to move, “go private”, or homeschool have done so only after trying everything they could think of to keep their children in the public schools, including involvement in the public schools at the highest level. They made their decision when they could no longer tolerate seeing their children — and their children’s education — suffer.

Comments are closed.