How correspondence courses are changing how I look at education (and not for the better)

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The biggest problem with my teenager’s correspondence courses is that they take up so much time and they make all the other learning things we used to “not schoolwork.”

There are so many things where I think “oh, that would be fun and educational” and then I think “oh, but will that take him away from his schoolwork?” Or he says that the other things sound great but he needs to work on his schoolwork.

Somehow this is all getting to my brain. I start thinking about my other children’s schoolwork differently. I’ve always said, “oh, yeah, I make sure the kids keep up with their peers in school,” but I didn’t focus on curriculum goals either. I’ve viewed the provincial goals as the minimum.

Now, as I’m still working on writing up everything my oldest did last year to try to get him credit for some of that, I’m realizing how much of what we do doesn’t fit on the curriculum. The kids have learned a lot about American politics, none of which seems to fit the curriculum. World history barely seems represented in the curriculum. For science only certain things count certain years. Certain mathematical topics we cover don’t count at all.

I don’t like thinking about education in terms of what counts or what doesn’t. I need to think again about what I want the kids to learn, what they want to learn, and not worry about the criteria. Life for us is better when “schoolwork” includes a lot of project time.

Yet, I also need to support my oldest in the project he’s taken – correspondence courses. Somehow.

My older brother used to say he went to school for the social life and his real education is at home. I want to remember that even while my son does correspondence courses for the transcript and career goals, it doesn’t mean we have to put away having a real education at home too. We just need to find how to fit everything into the day.

We need more time in a day.

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