After more than 15 years working in and around the education system, as both a teacher and youth mentor, I can say without hesitation that homeschool kids are in a prime position to reap the benefits of the dramatic cultural shifts taking place right now in the world of work and business.
There has been a ground-swell of discontent against the factory-style model of education that we have inherited from the industrial age and its inherent shortcomings, yet despite initiatives by both inspired teachers on the ground and various levels within the hierarchy of government, this system of education has remained largely unchanged.
Household internet became mainstream early this century and with it, knowledge, and the concept of knowledge as a class-divider and source of power has dramatically shifted forever. And with over 4 billion people expected to be active online by the year 2020, this global cultural phenomenon is still gaining momentum and is still yet to reach its peak. (1) (2)
With this plethora of freely available information, now the challenge is not how to get information, but which information to choose! Not only has it become incredibly easy to find information from other sources but it has also become possible to share our opinions and stories without the need for any particular qualification.
Before you ask - yes, I do have a degree, in fact I have a number of tertiary qualifications. Sure, these have opened the doors to some of my life and work experiences BUT I don't need any of them to be considered an expert in my field, and it is not the criteria by which others judge my abilities or even how I judge myself. What matters now is my ability to get results!
"What matters now is the ability to get results."
So how does this all affect homeschoolers?
Homeschoolers are uniquely positioned to take advantage of their educational dexterity. Mainstream education is forced to cater for masses of students and as such, is limited in its ability to personalise the learning for students. Homeschool parents and students are free to design their educational model around any project, passion or interest area that a student finds exciting - herein lies the key to their engagement, motivation and success.
This educational dexterity can be compounded even further by the fact that Homeschoolers have complete autonomy not just in how they structure their day, but in how they structure their year! Brett Harris, (past-homeschooler, author of 'Do Hard Things' and therebelution.com ) describes it as "zigging while others are zagging". By focusing attention solely on a project while other peers are stuck in school and restricted by the curriculum plus a range of other systemic obligations, homeschoolers can hone in on a project for weeks at a time and exhibit what contemporary psychological researchers refer to as the "flow-state" (4)
Passion Based Learning
"In education, student engagement refers to the degree of attention, curiosity, interest, optimism, and passion that students show when they are learning or being taught, which extends to the level of motivation they have to learn and progress in their education." (3)
If a student is interested in a topic - then it follows that you will have an easier time getting them to engage with their learning if it is centred around that topic - right?