Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Scholar of a Different Sort

Home at last. After traveling by plane and car, here we are. There is a mountain of laundry and shopping to be done, in between a Women's World Cup game or two. Our day is full, as I hope yours is also. I'm excited to work past these basics, to get back to my summer goals, and to turn my thoughts toward home. Today I'll share an interview I found online while I was away.

Homeschooling is growing up. I now meet homeschool graduates, aside from my own siblings, in many different contexts. This summer we have a pastoral intern, just graduated from seminary, serving our church. Both he and his wife are homeschool grads and have duly impressed our family. They have a sweet baby they gladly share; my kids are smitten. And they excitedly discuss the future of their own little family.

After reading The Successful Homeschool Family Handbook by the Moores, I did a little Google searching for some of the homeschoolers they wrote about, it is an older book and those kids are now grown. An article on Barnaby Marsh impressed me above all the others. After eight years of homeschooling (if I were to calculate it per year/per child I come in at 16 years of homeschooling, but that always seems a somewhat artificial way to measure our time) I am stretching my ideas of education. I'm thinking beyond ready made curriculum, which we have always been very relaxed about anyway. I'm thinking about learning and not doing school right out of the box, but I always worry we will compromise excellence. Barnaby Marsh inspires me, he has all the right academic credentials of excellence. The credentials certainly aren't the only measure of true success, but as an outsider it is one of the few measures I have. Bryan and I laughed together that, at Harvard, he found written tests too limiting and sought out dialogue...and challenge.

Will our family move to Alaska? Not likely. Would I wish for an Eleventh Edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica? I might. Maybe excellence doesn't always come right out of the box, mass produced for 100,000 other homeschoolers, delivered to our door, tape split with a kitchen knife and add four kids. I am challenged.

I highly recommend Barnaby Marsh's own words in this interview, How Rhodes Scholars Think.

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