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Public Nerdity Is Not A Crime

How you do decide what they 'need' to know?!

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Quote Originally Posted by mom2samtheman View Post
We have been homeschooling for just about 5 years now. At first I was very caught up in trying to "keep up" with whatever someone who had never met my child thought he needed to know. After a couple years, I worried less. I am on the "as long as we know more than we did a year ago we are probably ok" bandwagon.

Towards the beginning of this homeschooling journey, I remember reading a few things that stick with me even until this day:

1. They only need to know what they need to know in second grade if they are going to third grade (or whatever grade tehy are in and going into)

2. Kids learn when they are ready to learn (exposure to the 3 R's, science etc are all necessary, but in a way and on a schedule that makes sense at whatever stage they are in in their lives

3. If the "experts" knew what they were doing, my guess is that the school systems wouldn't be as horrid as they are

My suggestion: Relax, they are never gong to be this young again, they will learn what they need when they need it. If a particular question comes up or they suddenly find they need a particular piece of knowledgde, teach them HOW to learn something, teach them when and where to find the resources to learn what they need.

Learning HOW to learn is just as important as learning WHAT to learn

I loved this answer, for many reasons, and especially the reminders I needed. It is so true that we are all prone to chase our tails trying to perform up to someone else's externally imposed idea of what we should be doing in our family, when years later, most of it doesn't matter anyway, because they will learn what they need, and even kids who parroted all the "important" information in 3rd grade, rarely can spit it all back out years down the line. I know that I still bridle at those who would quiz my kids, driven by the desire to confirm their worst suspicions about homeschooling. Yet worrying about whether my kids can perform on cue in such a way as to satisfy that kind of critic, is something I slip into from time to time, without meaning to.

And really, I do know better.

I once ran across a quote, that I guess was Chinese but I can't find anything on it now by searching, but I loved it anyway, and it was "Knowledge without understanding is (as useful as) books tied to an ass's (donkey's) back" and that's the image I get in my mind when I see all the "knowledge" that someone thinks they can actually benefit by at 5.

Besides, at what point does requiring children still in "Early Childhood" to do hours of deskwork each day, stop looking so beneficial, and start being revealed as deprivation of their developmental needs for lots of gross motor outlet, free imaginative and social play, and creative self-expression?

I'm grateful to those here who have helped me reset my norms away from the mania to fill kids' heads with a "bucket o' facts" just to prove something to those who believe homeschooling will make them imbeciles. Learning how to learn, how to explore an interest and create something, make mistakes and do it differently the next attempt, is really much more important than memorizing state capitols.
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  1. Christy's Avatar
    I have to say I love your title about public nerdity but I find myself thinking about it now in contrast to your post. Most homeschoolers go through times of worrying their children will be behind in grade level. The other challenge of course is if a child is ahead of grade level. Like being behind, it doesn't matter unless the child will be returning to school the next year but if the child is returning being way ahead and nerdy could probably be just as much of a challenge.
  2. crunchynerd's Avatar
    Good point, Christy! Though for my money, being advanced is not a risk I would want to fear to the point of suppressing them just in case they ever went back to public school. If they have it in them to blow the competition out of the water at something, that's fine. Boredom might be a factor in that case, but Vi Hart has some really excellent boredom busters Vi Hart: Math Doodling for those whose bodies must still warm chairs.

    Happily, my kids are blessed with looks and charm from their father's Irish grandmother, and would never inspire images of the socially inept, physically awkward 'nerd' stereotype. Who knows, they might take part in a movement to Redefine Nerdy!
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