I received an instant message from my 13-year-old nephew today. He wanted to discuss the differences between peer-to-peer file-sharing and bit torrent. He’s being homeschooled this year so it’s been fairly easy to connect with him at times when he’s usually in school.
I wanted to know what he thought about homeschooling. I’ve been involved in formalized school settings for the majority of my life as a student, as a teacher, and now working in a Faculty of Education with preservice teachers. I’ve often thought about my life as it would have been had I been homeschooled. I’ve pondered what it would be like to be apart from the familiar social environment in our classrooms, and how it may be different to learn. Here’s some brief insight from my nephew as captured from our IM conversation.
Me: So how are things going with your homeschooling?
Me: You don’t miss being in the classroom at all?
George: Not really. I like not being in it actually.
Me: What don’t you like about it?
George: The noise. The strange people.
Me: Yea, you can’t do much work with the noise.
George: Nothing actually.
Me: Do you feel like you are learning more now?
George: For sure. This is way more efficient, because by the time the teacher is done with everybody else we’ve wasted a lot of time.
There are simple insights here, perhaps so simple that we tend to ignore them as unavoidable. What if we really payed attention? What would learning look like then?