Monday, April 27

Conveyor Belt Education soapbox stint...

On a long road drive this past week my husband and I listened to some cd's from the 2008 NYS LEAH convention. The speaker was excellent (whose name I cannot recall and the cd's are in the van so I'll get back to you with that)! He was speaking about A Thomas Jefferson Education and conveyor belt educations, which you can also read more about here.My husband was floored, loved the info he was hearing and looked at me in amazement and said, "Have you heard this before?" I guess I didn't look as awestruck, even though I loved what I was hearing.

Yes, I have.
One thing I tell my husband often is that I could not parent so fully or educate our kids without the support of the homeschool community around me (love you all!) or the online support of like minded folks who understand the WHY behind home education.

For my husband, this whole idea was new because, to be truthful, he is a mans man. He doesn't read blogs with hearts or country ducks floating across the top of the page. He'll kindly humor me and read everything I pass on to him but I've yet to find a pro-home education blog directed at men that's done well. Do you know of any? He is however, very pro home education, even more so now.

I think one reason Sean loves this idea of being off the conveyor belt of education is that he spent much hard earned money for many, many college classes that he has not used once. He took programming classes and spent many years providing for our family by being a computer programmer but he learned more on the job and on his own than he did in college. And now, even with the housing market so slow and his business being directly tied to the market, he provides well for his household with wisdom and knowledge completely unrelated to his "formal" education.

I'm not bashing every school or every college, as I haven't seen them all, and I'm very glad my MD got her MD and has the knowledge to keep tabs on my health.

Sean and I have talked about and agreed upon the idea of teaching our children a trade as they get older, giving them something to always have as a way to provide for their families. If they want to go to a university, they'll be able to work a job more than flippin' burgers to pay for it.

One thing I highly recommend new homeschoolers to do is NOT copy how public or private schools teach. I've been in homes with the American flag hanging from the wall for the kids to stand and say the pledge to, desks lined up facing the front of a makeshift dining room turned classroom with a teacher's (mom's) desk up front. Home education is, can be, so much more! If the methods schools use were working, national test scores and the national drop-out rate wouldn't be so low. So we pull our kiddos from that environment and then duplicate it in our home, often times using curriculum designed for a conveyor belt education! It is a burr in my backside, so don't mind my soapbox for today. I really love you all. Even if you have a flag waving in the breeze of your living room.

I was so bored in school. I hated most of it. I annoyed my teachers by asking "how" I was going to use this information in real life. I stayed because that's what good girls did, right? My saving grace was being able to enter a nursing course between ages 16-18, doing that half a day and high school the other half. My schooling years took place in private Christian, public and state schools so I've seen a bit of it all. Ho-hum. Not impressed. To my mother's credit, she did ask me if I wanted to be homeschooled one year in high school. My only "view" of a homeschooler at that time was a socially awkward girl who wore very matchy outfits and matchy hats in pastel colors so my answer was an emphatic "no".

So check out those books, re-think your child's education and have a great night!


Joy said...

Wow great post!
It is so hard being a new home schooling mom! But the hardest thing is getting away from the "public school" state of mind. I was not home schooled so everything I remember and think about school is from a public school view point. Getting completely away from that is hard and sometimes painful to my child I am sure.
We homeschool with a basic literature based approach lots of reading and sometimes I find myself second guessing what I am doing. I then realize it doesn't have to be just like public school to learn. Thanks for this post I needed it!
Will check out those books too!

Shannon said...

You completely echo our thoughts. We are still paying off student loans from my very expensive piece of paper. A degree in chemistry actually does come in handy every now and then in homemaking, though I can't say that multivariable calculus ever will.

I pray that when we start "official" or "unofficial" homeschooling of our little ones that they will begin to learn how to think. I doubt that we will encourage college like most do nowadays. We, too, like the idea of learning a useful skill like carpentry. That probably stems from two degrees in fields that give you almost nothing in real life skills.

As we move more towards the agrarian life we would like for our family I can't help but think how nice it would be to one day pass down our own little farm to one of our boys.

Unknown said...

Oh my goodness I completely agree with you! We were just discussing the education system in my sociology class the other day and talking about how it is just unhelpful and even counterproductive for some. My professor didn't really offer any kind of solution to the problem, but I think there is one. I was homeschooled, and I have never experienced any of the problems the other students talked about. I feel very strongly that homeschooling should be more acceptable as a viable alternative to public and private schools.

Della said...

Oh! Let us shout this from the rooftops! I love alot of Charlotte Mason's ideas and use them in our "school". Coming from a public school background it is hard to break out of that public school mold. My favorite Mason concept is education as a true this is. I don't remember much of anything from school to be honest. Unless it was tidbits of history, which is my love! I learned more from long summers spent with my dad, who was always teaching us something. I find that I am learning right along side my kids and it's thrilling! Keep on keepin' on! Love this post!

Diane Shiffer said...

i utterly despised my school experience growing up as well. i think that has been largely what has driven me in my own homeschooling journey. I'd like my kids to have a more joy-filled life than I did♥

Wimberly Farms said...

I completely agree with you. I do not want to duplicate a failing system.
I love your ideas!

mandi said...

yes! this post speaks to me and lines up with my heart. i WAS a public school teacher before having children and came under fire more than once (understatement of the year!) for my 'controversial' teaching practices (no desks, pillows on the floor, individual learning plans). i am thrilled to homeschool my children now! to offer them refuge, support, encouragement, and plenty of room to learn!

Me said...

Mandi, sounds like you were an AWESOME school teacher! I have a lot of friends who teach in the public and Christian schools and I have a lot of respect for them trying to effect change in that environment!

It is hard to get out of the traditional mindset of what "school" and an education is supposed to look like, isn't it? I still struggle with this too so I pray for God to renew my mind in this area too!

Unknown said...

I know this doesn't have to do with this post, but I've been "lurking" on your blog for over a month now, learning, enjoying, and being challenged. Thanks for all your wisdom.

Several times as I have read posts, I've thought, I wonder if Hannah's family has ever heard of Samaritan Ministries - a Christian health sharing ministry. We participate and send our share directly to another family each month. They cover some maternity needs, including midwives and home births, as well as many other health related expenses. It is sooo much more reasonable and (arguably) more biblical than insurance.

Anyway, I have no ties to them other than being a member, and nothing to gain, but I just keep thinking about it. is the website if you want to check it out.

Thanks again for such an inspiring and practical blog.

Trudy said...


I agree with everything you have said. I wanted to share this option for college in case you or your readers are not aware of it. . They offer a Christian, accredited, accelerated online college degree for a fraction of the cost and a fraction of the time of a university. They have coaches who help you to come up with a plan of action and call you up every couple of weeks to see if you need help and to help you stay on track and let you know what the next step to take is. You can get a four-year degree in under two years. We are looking into this for our children. Another family in our church is using this for their daughter. And some families in our homeschool group are going through their program.


Unknown said...

I'm really Corrie, a woman, not Phillip - that's my hubby! Sorry for any confusion... :)