Wednesday, September 05, 2007

An Education in Education

So, with the ongoing project of going through our stuff and only moving (eventually) what we REALLY care about...

Papa Rooster and I spent Labor Day going through box after box of stuff we've hung onto for lo, these many years. High school stuff: cards, letters, photos, journals, and memorabilia from long-forgotten events and once-meaningful moments. College stuff: lecture notes and syllabi, textbooks, yellowed copies of the college newspaper, journals, more memorabilia, Papa Rooster's political campaign brochures and posters, my Elementary Education projects and student teaching notebook, engagement cards, shower gift cards, wedding cards. Papa Rooster had it twice as bad; he had business school notes, texts, etc. in addition to the undergrad stuff. And on top of all that--financial records dating back to the beginning of our married life together, nearly 21 years ago!

I mentioned that I was an education major. Now, homeschool moms, I have a news flash for you. Looking back at all the education textbooks and notes I spent countless hours studying back in college, I'd say maybe 1% of it is useful to me now, even though I am currently educating a preschooler, a kindergartener, an elementary schooler, a middle schooler and two highschoolers.

Let me clarify. Only about 1% of it is something that is now useful to me that was never covered in some way by the homeschooling books and resources I have used over the years. For example...let me see...Piaget. Maybe. I'm not sure if I ever reviewed his child development stuff in the homeschool literature. Wait, Papa Rooster reminds me that Dr. Raymond Moore covered Piaget in his homeschool classic, Better Late Than Early. So let's see, what else?

I know I read gobs of good stuff back in college on teaching language arts, but I've reread nearly all of it since--ad nauseum, in fact--in homeschooling books and curriculum. Considering how popular articles on language arts are, many of them written by experts on all the latest approaches, I doubt there's much I learned in college that hasn't been revisted or corrected in a homeschooling magazine.

Classroom management! Now that is something I haven't read about in the homeschooling literature. It's not something I'm using currently, but that--and my teaching license--are nice to have if I ever want to teach for pay for a homeschool co-op, though. So there's my 1%--not counting time in front of a class doing my student teaching, of course.

I pondered whether I should keep any of my old education textbooks, but as I opened and skimmed randomly through them, I couldn't believe what a head trip all of them were. Studies about studying. Education about education about education. If I ever needed information or inspiration for how to deal with an educational impasse, there are so many lively, practical homeschool resources--books, articles, curriculum, websites, etc.--that I would consult before ever cracking open one of these philosophical, conceptual tomes.

I remember as an elementary education major being told--by my professors as well as real teachers I worked with--that I would learn how to teach from other teachers. We were encouraged to start files with reading ideas, math ideas, bulletin board ideas, science ideas, etc. Doesn't that sound a little like the Carnival of Homeschooling? Or any homeschooling websites or catalogs or magazines you know? It's true that I've learned so much about teaching from other teachers.

I'm not saying my whole college degree was worthless--not at all. It stretched my mind in more directions, and much farther than I would ever have chosen if left to my own areas of interest. I'm not saying either, that the credentialed teachers at your local elementary school do not deserve your respect--for their broad experience, and for expertise they may have gained through continuing education since their undergraduate work. But do I feel more qualified to homeschool--or teach any sort of a class--because I have a BA in education?

Let's just say that I'm saving precious little to remember my education classes by.

Incidentally, Papa Rooster is tossing all his old business school texts too. He says he's learned way more from the Harvard Business Review case studies he's accumulated since B-school, and he won't part with those!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for all your encouragement. I'll try the Worcestershire sauce (as soon as I run out of the side of beef in my freezer!) =)

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Linds said...

I know what you mean re education... and everything I learnt on the job while teaching never appeared in any text book! I think there is a very big difference between the words teaching and education, and my idea of "education" differs from any text book idea too! I wish home schooling had been an option when my children were little, especailly my youngest son. And until I stumbled on this community of bloggers, i had no idea how many resources there actually were out there!

Thanks for your lovely words ofo encouragement.... I have been readign but not commenting on many blogs since I got back, but I am here! And it is wonderful your family are leaping into another production. Can't wait to see more photos!

Linds said...

Oh my word. So many typos. I am mortified. Grovel.