Summer School

This is what is different about homeschooling. My son recently attended a Dafur Awareness meeting. In July. It was hosted by another teen who had only learned about the extent of the crisis in Darfur in the past few weeks–since after the local schools let out. About a dozen kids attended the meeting and all left with a better understanding about the genocide that is occurring there.

Now I know that some public school kids have done some amazing things to raise the public’s awareness concerning Darfur, including making an award winning video. There’s even a story about the principal and students involved in making the video in Connecticut Magazine, June 2006, “Lary Bloom’s Notebook.” And it’s the article that highlights some of the differences in homeschooling and regular school.

The article tells how the students gave up extracurricular activities for this “noncredit” work. Very admirable of them. But why shouldn’t they get education credit for this? Surely an activity such as this is the whole point of learning and the education system? Guess it’s not tested on a NCLB test.

Most of the students were from the honors English class. Just thinking about why that is so tells volumes about our education system. And keep thinking. When these students apply to the more selective colleges in the country, the colleges are going to be more interested in their video than their “credit” work. My nephew who attends public school and is staying with us declined to go and it wasn’t because he wouldn’t know anybody there. Maybe nobody has told him about college applications yet.

Whether this event had occurred in the summer or the fall, it counts as part of our social studies and history “curriculum.” This isn’t extracurricular, this is what really matters. And if he decides to contribute his time to this, he won’t have to give up baseball or piano. We can cut back on algebra or postpone biology for a bit while he learns about how the world works. I’m not saying that baseball is more important than biology. I am saying that it’s important to have a “balanced” life and that rather than wait for Darfur to come up in the curriculum, we’ll simply switch the curriculum around. That’s the beauty of homeschooling.

For more information on the genocide in Darfur, visit What exactly was “never again” supposed to mean?


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