Taking my own word for it

Image Credit: MotivatedPhotos.com

Most of you have probably seen this picture. The truth here is that homeschoolers are often taught uniquely; that is, their parents get to choose what they teach their children. Whether it is melee weapons fighting, small unit tactics, underwater basket weaving, or interpretive dance, homeschoolers have free range to teach themselves just about anything.

Well, more realistically, homeschoolers are likely to learn advanced physics, voraciously read any book that interests them, and write their own newsletters. Self-Taught 20/20 is based on the common practice of learning how you want to learn and often learning what you want to learn through homeschooling. I lived in this lovely, rosy world of discovery and imagination, researching the Seven Wonders of the World, reading Girl of the Limberlost at least three times, and killing and dissecting my own worm for biology. Under these circumstances, the word “school” shot excitement through my brain. This delightful world ended abruptly.

I started college.

                This transition wasn’t hard because I couldn’t keep up or didn’t understand the content. It was hard because instead of figuring things out for myself, I now had to take the teacher’s word for it. This may sound strange to those of you who weren’t homeschooled, but it was a dramatic shift for me. All of a sudden, I had to trust that my teacher’s opinion was the right one all the time. Of course there are classes where you research and draw your own conclusions, but lecture-based teaching often means the teacher teaches from his or her perspective.

Since this initial shock, I have learned how to balance my trust for the teacher’s opinion with my own research. My academic performance has benefitted from my willingness to find things out for myself, and when those rare, incompetent teachers come along, I do quite well teaching myself the material.

What are your experiences with this transition?

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3 Responses to Taking my own word for it

  1. sarahschock says:

    Well, I wasn’t homeschooled, so I can’t answer your last question. But I did really enjoy reading this post because it does point out a flaw in the public education system. I bet it would be extremely difficult to transition from more inquiry-based learning to more lecture-based learning…what a shock! As an education major, I know it’s extremely important to let students seek their own answers to problems. But as far as I know, there’s no easy way to do that in a classroom setting. I’m glad you pointed out that lecture-based learning has merit too; boring as it may be to some kinesthetic learners, it does have value for auditory and visual learners. I guess all this shows why it’s important to have a variety of learning methods in schools! 🙂 Thanks for your post – I’m sure we could all learn from your willingness to learn on your own! 🙂

  2. meaganlinn says:

    I’ve never really thought about how it would be a transition to sit under someone else’s lectures. I’ve always had a teacher’s opinion, so I can’t answer the question. But, I think that’s what is so great about homeschooling, private schools, charter schools, public school, etc., because there is not one right way to hold a school day. I think you have a great perspective though, and a little bit of an advantage, because of all of the freedom and creativity that you got to express before heading to college 🙂

  3. kirkistan says:

    I think teachers appreciate being challenged–even the incompetent ones. You’ve exposed a great, hidden strength. Thanks!

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