Part Two of Seven:
[Children] “need to be given the chance to learn from a variety of people who are specialized in their areas.”
I completely agree with this statement — which is exactly why I didn’t send my kidlet to public school, where there are too few adults with too few areas of specialization for this to happen.
When I was in college, in NY, about 25 years ago, I dabbled with the idea of becoming a secondary ed teacher. What I quickly came to figure out was, at the time, this degree was essentially a minor in English and a major in other “teacher” things (classroom management, etc.). I realized, as a 19yo sophomore, that I had come in to college having read more than was required to graduate with the secondary English degree, and I changed my path (having decided that, if I were going to end up in a classroom, it would behoove me to have a width and breadth of the topic I was teaching, and that I could probably figure out the rest).
This same idea was driven home when, while in graduate school, I took a few courses over in the Education Department (I transferred schools after the first year, and, while they don’t make you re-take things you have, they don’t accept transfer credits). I took an adolescent literature course where we read a novel every week, wrote a reader-response paper, and the came in, sat in a circle, and discussed it. I’m sad to report that, even thought I was the ONLY person who was not going to be in a highschool classroom the following year, I was the *only* person who read all the assigned novels that semester. Groups of my classmates got together and watched the films. So my path took me to being a professor instead.
I know my view here is cynical, and I try to hold that in check. What was happening in teacher training programs when I was in college was a backlash to the teachers who came before me, who *were* experts in their fields, and had come to teach in the schools. You know those chemical handwarmers you can buy this time of year? My highschool chemistry teacher and her son hold the patents on those (and several other things). She was a terrifically bad highschool chemistry teacher, because she’d forgotten what it was like to be new to chemistry.
I don’t know what you’re doing in your homeschool, but I ended up matching my kid up with all kinds of folks doing all kinds of work who were experts in their fields — I rather suspect you’re doing the same, as I recently got an email asking me to help the mom find a nuclear physicist for her 8yo to confer with.