The panic over “holes” in education

Newsflash:  My education has holes in it.

Yep, there is a lot of stuff I don’t know, some of which I supposedly learned in school, but I sure don’t know it now.

Some of it is probably about our system of government, various state capitals and maybe a President or two.

Some of it might have to do with Chemistry or Geometry.

I can’t read music or tell you much about the Pythagorean Theorem.

Don’t ask me to diagram a sentence.  (Is there a place in the world where people diagram sentences that isn’t Freshman English?  That was the first and last time I ever did it.)

The Boer Wars?  The fact that I’ve heard of them is as much as you’ll get.

The main thing I remember about what happened at the Alamo is the phrase “Remember the Alamo”.

I could go on and on.

And my point is?

My point is that I am tired of hearing about how we need to make sure children do not have holes in their education.   I am sometimes asked how I will avoid my children having holes in their education, because isn’t that one of the real challenges of unschooling?

No, frankly, it isn’t.

They will have holes in their education, just like we all do, whether we went to school or not.

Oh I know, the concern is wrapped up with mandatory testing and state regulations and college entrance requirements, etc., but honestly?  If you and/or your child are really, truly worried?  Then spend some time prepping for those things, (after all in schools they spend months on “test prep”) and then relax.

I love the holes in my education.  You know why?  Because there is always something new out there for me to learn.  Or re-learn, as the case may be.   I would hate to get to the point where I know it all; where all the holes are filled.

If you are panicking over all the things your kids don’t know, take a few deep breaths.   Step back.  Think of all the things they do know, and don’t limit the list to academics.   Write it down if you need to.

Remember, we’re in this learning thing for the long haul.

The holes are what keep it exciting.

10 comments on “The panic over “holes” in education

  1. I am also tired of hearing and, quite frankly, worrying myself about the holes.Even though it is so simple and makes so much sense – everyone has holes. Yet so hard to truly get it sometimes.
    I’ve been enjoying your blog ever since I started homeschooling my son, Amy. Thank you for inspiring!

  2. Jeremy Stuart says:

    I really like this post, and I love what you say about re-learning things you may have forgotten. It reminds me of a famous Zen Buddhist quote that says:
    “In the mind of the beginner there are many possibilities, but in the mind of the expert there are few.”

    I don’t want to ever be an expert in anything, because then the learning will stop.

  3. Sara Elliott says:

    Excellent! I have been thinking the same thing. The whole concept of “holes” or “gaps” implies that there is some predetermined, solid fabric of static “knowledge,” which is simply not the case.

  4. I get this question all the time, and I have to admit that it plagued me when I first started homeschooling. I was afraid that there would be gaps in their education that would affect their future. As I prioritized their interests and adopted a child-led philosophy, that fear continued to nag at me. It was only when I realized that my kids pointed the gaps out to me that I could relax. Their “gaps” were not what you might expect! For example, my oldest son insisted that he learn electronics so that he could read electronic blueprints as a set designer. He insisted on learning calculus too. Who knew that these things were important to a set designer? I certainly didn’t, but he clued me in. Time and again it was the child who pointed out to me what he needed to learn, and where his gaps were. In the end, this was just another lesson to me to trust my children, and to ignore standardized curricula. (BTW, they did just fine in college!)

  5. Rosa Hellebust says:

    Yes! This!

    There is also this belief that there are “windows” of learning opportunity for children that close if certain curriculum is not covered within a set framework of time. There are very few subject areas where this may have any bearing (perhaps languages/music?). Even then, there are many examples of mastery no matter what age a subject/skill has been taken up.

    Homeschooling is so many things and I think for many of us it is very much about living a “non-homogenized” life. Instead of giving our children a script to follow they can write their own with our support, guidance and mentoring.

  6. Julie says:

    I think the most important thing any education can teach one is the ability to learn. The ability to use a library, find and analyze resources, seek out experiences… No education can teach everything, but if a person knows how to look it up and learn it, they’ll have everything they need.

  7. Angela Wright says:

    I really needed this, it has helped me to realize, I need to relax! Thank you

  8. […] I have holes. You have holes. We all have holes.  […]

  9. […] I have holes. You have holes. We all have holes.  […]

  10. Ganjar says:

    Good to hear from you last week! Hope your fall is going great!I’m not totally sure of the whteabours of Stanley right now .I know where he was headed but no confirmation that he is there yet. I’ll find out and get back to you!(-:

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