Teach Away From the Test

As most homeschool families know, the public school system all too often strips itself of vital educational programs. “No Child Left Behind” might focus on improving reading and math scores. But in the process, arts and sciences and other subjects are tossed to the wayside.

Homeschooling provides flexibility and independence. If your child is passionate about learning the violin or wants to devote seven hours each day to inventing a new gadget then parents can supply all the time and encouragement necessary.

Lately, here’s what my girls have been drawn to:

Architecture. My 10-year old has always been curious about how buildings are designed and constructed. (And for a short time she was obsessed with ship building). Because my wife and I don’t “teach to the test,” tour kids have the time and energy to gather dozens of architecture books from the library, and spend our afternoons working on blueprints for dream homes.

They probably won’t be performing on Broadway again until this summer, but every year my girls participate in Children’s Theatre programs. My girls fade in and out of “shy” stages, and even though I don’t expect them to pursue Theater as a career, I love how the drama class (which they take with about a dozen other homeschool kids) fosters self-confidence and communication skills.

It’s lizard season in our backyard. And since my girls are so fascinated by those scaly little critter, we’ve been researching online to learn more about our reptilian neighbors. After studying the habitats of our local lizards, my daughters then re-arranged our garden, tilting stones and rearranging loose boards, all of which invites more reptiles into the area. (They love warm places next to quick, safe hide-aways.)

These are just three examples, but the possibilities are endless when the teachers and students aren’t so obsessed with perfecting the art of multiple choice tests.

Has homeschooling allowed your children to pursue unique and interesting goals? Share your stories with the rest of us.