Kids and Mexico!
Sorry for being gone for so long but I have been crazy busy despite COVID-19, better known as the Corona Virus. I will be making some pretty huge announcements in the very near future but today I wanted to take a few minutes to chat about a cool side effect to this quarantine and self-isolation experiment… this thing called social distancing. You know the thing where we tell our kids to sit in the house and watch TV and play video games but don’t go out to play with your friends?
We are raising a generation of kids that are getting some very mixed signals from their parents this year.
I would typically never find time to write about this but I have no scouts, no search and rescue, no children’s festival, no jamboree in Europe in July… so kudos to a virus for freeing up my time to write… let’s get to it.
Aside from the obvious benefit of the next generation hitting the hospitals for Christmas, we get the phenomenal opportunity to name them coronials… I gotta thank Dave Hnatiuk for that one.
There are a few other benefits like the phenomenal economic benefits that Mexico is going to see when the USA decides that having their entire economic engine dependent on China might be a bad thing. I don’t want to get too far off topic but the USA has been driving away business for a while now but this “pandemic” is going to drive that business to Mexico with some force. Trump is undoubtedly going to win another election and he is not a fan of the way China hid the corona virus and burned the evidence before the WHO got there… and that is going to cost them. Someday they might release their real death count and I will feel more for them… right now my heart is in Italy.
Aside from Mexico though, home schooling is going to get a monstrous kickstart come September. There are going to be a ton of parents, both mothers and fathers, that decide it might not be something that they change after the summer. Now that they have been forced into home schooling parenthood for six months they have a lot of decisions to make. I am guessing it will take a very long time for our economy to recover, especially in Canada where our government loves that the emergency has allowed them to spread their socialist tendencies. About 3% of Canada applied for EI (Employment Insurance) in the last week. Those with jobs will have a hefty price to pay after the banks, airlines, and Bombardier are all bailed out.
You might consider sticking with keeping the kids at home if you haven’t gotten your job back by September 1st, and your kids loved learning at home, and you aren’t excited about spending a ton of money on new clothes, school registration fees, bus fees, hot lunch programs, schools supplies, and whatever parents pay nowadays.
Who am I?
I have been an Alberta home schooling parent for near 20 years and I have another 10 ahead of me. When it comes down to it, my wife does way more than I do but she is a little bit more introverted than me so you won’t likely get her to talk to you on Facebook. But you aren’t stuck with me, I just wanted you to know my perspective. I love teachers. I love home school parents. And I love kids more than anything. They are among my favorite thing in the world, if there is a way of saying that without sounding creepy. Too late I guess.
I have written a few things about home schooling over the years and apparently found a following of sorts because more than a couple people have asked me about home schooling since schools closed. I want to be very up front and tell you that you probably do NOT want to listen to me. I have thoroughly enjoyed every moment of educating youth whether my own here at home, the ones I get to help volunteering with Scouts Canada, the ones I teach through AdventureSmart training (over 400 youth in the past two years alone), or the countless kids I have helped through 17 years volunteering at one of the greatest children’s festivals in the world (the 2020 festival was cancelled).
What I am not a fan of is the current education curriculum at public schools which is totally geared toward building drones to head off to college or university. The kids today get high school diplomas without mandatory education on financial common sense, personalities, computers, or the internet. In our home, we find these things kinda important so we swap out trigonometry (actually most of high school math), advanced science, and Shakespeare. In honesty I have tried the Shakespeare because I love his plays but they haven’t taken yet. On a bright note though, I have a kid that is definitely going to be learning quadratic equations. I am pretty excited (can you tell I love math?). And we throw in world history and philosophy and whatever else the kids are interested in… because we can.
What can I offer?
What can I offer if I admit that my personal advice will probably corrupt you? I can offer… advice… from people smarter than myself… and some good duck duck fu.
First, if you aren’t on social media and you are home schooling some kids for the next 6 months, get on Facebook and even Instagram. I am going to put some links to some home schooling groups but I need you to keep in mind that when I talk I am talking from an Alberta perspective. When you hear me say something like “look into home school boards and find out how much each pays and how the reimburse expenses” I am talking about Alberta. I don’t know if any other provinces or states pay parents to save the $10,000 per year that a student costs the province. Again, I know that Alberta is about $10k per student but I only know the numbers for the USA from 2016 but the average student cost taxpayers in the USA $11,762 (from over $22k in NY to under $7000 in UT). Someday I will have enough time to go off on a tangent here because I remember writing a research paper on Texas in college and I was fascinated by their experiment where they doubled expenditures over a couple years to make their kids “smarter” going from under $5000 per student to over $10,000 in two years. Their grades went down. Texas cut expenditures after less than a decade of insane spending and they are still under $10,000 per student.
But back to why you want to be on Facebook, because there are literally thousands and thousands of home school parents who love to share and they have been doing this for many years. If you are in Alberta, I will paste the home school groups that I belong to. If you are not, go into the Facebook search bar and type “home school” with your province or state. Some jurisdictions are less friendly to home schooling but they are all stuck with it right now. Add the word “temp” to your search and you will actually see more groups.
If you open your web browser and go to Duckduckgo.com and search the same things you will see a ton of resources and press releases from your governing bodies as to what they are doing to help home schooling parents during this crisis. If you do your search in Google you will find that your applications and website will be inundated with offers from every business that makes money selling crap to home school parents. If you are going to do this long-term, you will figure out who these people are. For now though, do yourself a favor and keep your searches off google so that they stay a little more private.
Alberta Home School Facebook groups:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/481053841955625/ <- Alberta Home Education Association
Some of the Temporary Homeschooling groups already up on Facebook…
I will warn you that most people you meet will be Christians who got their kids out of the “Godless” school systems. But even those parents are usually very open to helping parents who are new to this adventure. There are some groups who won’t let you in. My own hometown has a FB group with over 2000 members that has decided that they don’t want to allow temporary home school parents. That is their prerogative. I really like many of those people but I would like if they were more willing to give of their time and experiences to parents who have been thrust into this insane world with zero choice.
But you should consider too, that many of these parents have put up with a lot of crap from some very uninformed parents for a very long time. They have been berated, belittled, and mocked in public, for the decision to educate their children themselves. They are not your enemies and never have been. They simply choose to do something different than you. They are conservatives and liberals, Christians and atheists, rich and poor, educated and high school dropouts, professionals and blue collar workers, following public education curriculum and teaching their kids whatever they want to learn.
If you think that they are all uneducated parents who hate vaccinations and post-secondary education, think again.
You would be shocked to know how many public school teachers home school their own children. You would be shocked to know how many parents have full time careers and still keep their children at home. You might also be surprised to know that home schooled children do not need a high school diploma to get into college or university.
Sally Borrink had a great (and short) post you might be interested in reading.
There haven’t been any great studies that I have seen in all my research but I liked the Harvard Professor who mentioned that 20% of “school teachers with school-age children has placed a child in a private school”. That is almost double the national average of 13% for non-teaching parents that chose to try home schooling. Almost 30% of teachers in the USA “have used one or more of the main alternatives to the traditional public school— private school, charter school, and homeschooling”.
Do you think that these teachers know less about public education that you or other home schooling parents?
At the end of the day, 100% of parents are home schooling this year. If you live in Alberta, I know that there is a lot of help on Facebook. For everyone though, here are some links for you, (not your kids until you review them first)… something to help you keep them busy…
If you have other resources that new parents would be interested in, please feel free to post your favorite sites in the comments!
Thanks to Paul van den Bosch, one of Alberta’s grandest fans of home schooling, for helping with these links.
Note that this first link is a “list of sites” web page…
Mystery Doug for Science:
BBC Dance Mat Typing:
History for Kids:
U of Waterloo Centre of Math and Computing:
List of the best board games:
Resources for parents:
Classroom secrets (UK):
Minecraft Education Edition:
Science Werkz articles:
Videos – record, edit, share:
Charlotte Mason approach to home education:
British Edu-games site:
Starfall learn to read:
Livestream opera from the Metropolitan Opera in New York:
And for those that know me, you know that I always love something funny at the end of my posts… and I could not resist…