In recent weeks, I have had multiple opportunities to talk about Deep Root Center. Usually by the third or fourth sentence, I introduce the word homeschooling. It is after all the legal mechanism for kids to leave school and become independent learners.
In those numerous conversations, there have been almost as many reactions. Homeschooling is one of those loaded words that most people have a gut level reaction to as soon as they hear it. These range from very positive to very negative, but are very rarely neutral. Most people have heard of someone who is homeschooling their family. They may have even heard the term unschooling which for many invokes a mental picture of children running wild; who will never learn to read, write or add two numbers together. Some people would like to explore the options, but fear they won't do it right and want to make sure they are following the rules set by the State. The second most voiced concern is about socialization.
Homeschooling is, to use that old axiom, “a means to an end” for self-directed learners. It doesn't necessarily mean Mom, Dad, and kids sitting at the dining room table with worksheets and text books carefully replicating the curriculum found in the public schools, although it can. It doesn't mean kids are only in the company of their family and have no interaction with the outside world.
Most independent learners are out in the community talking to a variety of people from all walks of life. They know how to converse comfortably with adults and their peers. They are using resources within their community to explore their particular interests. Homeschoolers have an uncanny ability to search out what they need and then go after it. They understand how to set goals and follow through. They are conversant with the soft-skills touted by college admissions personnel and employers. They are not defined or limited by their age or grade-level. And those unschooled kids are by no means illiterate, wild, or crazy. They are often the most sought after college or job applicants.
In terms of documentation, it is important to keep track of everything. This can be done in several ways, there is no right and wrong as long as your child's plan and schedule is accessible by the school superintendent. A portfolio of highlighted projects, and essays is highly recommended. It is easier to keep track of these daily or weekly rather than trying to replicate or recreate a half- semesters worth of activity just for the quarterly reports.
College admission counselors are looking for interesting, enthusiastic, creative, inspired, and self motivated young people. Applicants will prove their potential college success through portfolios, well written essays and the all important admissions interview.
Homeschooling is the legal mechanism for your child to become an independent, self-directed learner. Deep Root Center is here to provide mentoring, resources, classes, one-on-one tutoring, social opportunities and any other support you may need to navigate this awesome path.
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