What about gaps in my child’s home education?

Let’s talk about gaps in our kids’ home education.

We can homeschool beyond doubt, uncertainty, and that not-good-enough feeling when we get clear on the question, “What makes you question whether your kids’ education isn’t good enough?”

So what about gaps in my child’s home education?

These infamous things called gaps: what even are they?

  • The word suggests there’s something missing.
  • Someone forgot something.
  • Someone didn’t catch all the details the first time, the second time, the quadrilionth time.
  • Someone forgot to share something.
  • Someone’s missing something.

(Or if you’re thinking about the latest fashion trends with reasonable prices, from a place called The Gap, that’s not what we’re talking about today).

Straight up, I don’t believe there is an education out there that doesn’t have gaps.
It’s not a thing.

There are no children anywhere who make it through…

  • public school,
  • private school,
  • tutorship,
  • Sudbury school,
  • Waldorf school,
  • Montessori school,
  • homeschool,
  • law school or medical school,
  • or any school whatsoever that doesn’t have a gap.
We all have gaps.
  • That is why none of us is capable of writing for every topic on Wikipedia.
  • This is why none of us is consulted for everything.
  • That is why none of us declare ourselves to be as knowledgable as God.
That is why ALL of us consult the Google bar.

Or DuckDuckGo. Whichever you prefer.

We ALL, and I mean ALL, have gaps.

If you were to travel to a foreign country and have a conversation with someone, they might be surprised that you didn’t learn about the history of their country, or the politics in their region, or know how to speak their language or…you-fill-in-the-blank…

This has happened to me.

I sat with a few neighbourhood teenagers at the hospital community compound where we were staying in rural Ghana.

Some of the kids were playing basketball on the court with my five-year-old son. Some of the kids were showing off their scorpion-catching skills (yeah, they really were). And some of the kids were hanging out with me and my girls as we waited for my husband to get back form the hospital for dinner.

Simon, a sixteen year old boy, told me about his aspirations to come to Canada one day. I showed him pictures of snow. He thought it was cold enough where we were sitting already (it was the winter season in Ghana).

(Whereas I thought it was the hottest temperatures I’ve ever experienced, certainly the most humid).

Somehow we got on to a conversation about the history of Ghana.

And to Simon’s shock, I couldn’t remember what year the Ghanaians got out from under colonial rule.

He was dumbfounded.

How was it even possible that I wouldn’t know?

Because I had never discussed Ghanaian history in my entire life at any school ever so I definitely did not know the answer.

The reason I knew a few things about Ghana was from my own pre-travel studies. (Naturally, we were doing a unit study as a homeschool family.)

Of course.

And we had already visited rural Kenya a couple years prior. So we already did some study on that side of the African continent.

Oh, and I remembered a story about the Obamas visiting a slave departure point at Cape Coast Castle.

That I remember.

Especially because I wanted to visit that castle at the end of our trip when we’d fly back to the capitol city of Ghana, Accra. It would be only a few hours to drive there from Accra.

Someone told me Cape Coast Castle was the origin of the movie Amistad. The images of slave trade history were cemented in my mind from my very first date with my husband (watching this movie was our first date, a classical first date movie, I’m sure, but I digress…)

Anywho, turns out Sierra Leone was the location of the origin of the Amistad storyline, I’d learn since. Cape Coast Castle was a transport waystation. For humans.

How do I know?

Because I googled it.

Which still might prove that those details are not entirely accurate. (But, for sure, I didn’t cover it in school.)

You might also not be surprised that these Ghanaian kids didn’t know
  • how many provinces are in Canada, or that we still have territories,
  • or that most Canadians will never see an igloo (not even me, though I’ve lived in Canada for 48 years and I’ve actually touched the waters of the Arctic Ocean),
  • that I live in an area that has warmer summers than much of the American Midwest,
  • I lived in a city tucked into a semi-arid zone, in Canada,
  • that every Canadian doesn’t like hockey (that’d be me), but if I did cheer for a hockey team, it would be the Edmonton Oilers, cause my childhood was in Alberta in the 80s,
  • our Canadian national sport is lacrosse, which I’m not sure I’ve ever even seen played,
  • I do, indeed, live in the backcountry in the mountains where bald eagle, black bears, cougars, Canadian geese, and beaver live right outside my door, well, not right outside my door, but almost, yet I’m part of a small population of Canadians that live like this: most live in a major city center, or the suburbs, have access to shopping malls (including the Gap), drive twenty minutes to soccer lessons or nature reserves in areas with sidewalks and streetlights (I don’t have those),
  • that every Canadian doesn’t like Tim Horton’s coffee (that is definitely me, also I don’t like Starbucks, but I digress again),
  • and though I traveled to the Arctic one summer and touched the Arctic ocean with my three little girls, most Canadians live along the very southernmost border of the United States, and will never see the Arctic, nor will they see the endless trees of the Yukon or discover that the Dempster highway appears to be made of arrowheads.
But I don’t think it’s just these Ghanaian boys that doesn’t know about these things: you might not know these things either.

And I likely don’t know about the things where you live.

Turns out we all have gaps. Every single one of us.

My homeschool family of six was introduced to all manner of things we had never been introduced to in the northwestern region of Ghana too:

  • Like cerebral malaria and how to treat it. (We were in Ghana because my husband volunteered at a hospital).
  • That full-body burns, caused by a vat of spilled boiling oil-burning most of a grown man’s torso, would only be treated with Tylenol, because that is all that was available.
  • I didn’t know how to barter in a market. Not something the Safeway produce guy knows how to do either.
  • Didn’t know how to speak to people that didn’t speak the same language. I smiled stupidly instead.
  • I didn’t know how to balance a fifty-pound tray of mangos on my head (I’d surely need to book a chiropractic appointment if I tried).
  • Learned I didn’t know how to walk alongside the road (a skill I quickly gained as I was told pedestrians don’t have right of way the world over).
  • I knew nothing about carpenter flies, scorpions, and giant black beetles the size of my palm (or how to get rid of them when in the shower as they crawled up my leg or lying on the bed when I was in a malarial stupor).
  • And I definitely didn’t know about the history of Ghana.
So those Ghanaian high school students?

Simon was dumbfounded that I could not recount the story of Ghanain freedom from colonial rule. How did I possibly not know that veritable expansive information???

Because I didn’t grow up there.

Because the people educating me apparently didn’t find that information valuable.

(Side note: this is the key to letting go of the notion that a home education must have NO gaps: you get to decide what YOU think is valuable for your child’s education.)

I think we need to be concerned less about gaps and more about this:

  1. That an education is personalized.
    1. Who is this kid in front of me?
    2. How do they like to learn?
    3. What do they like to learn?
    4. What type of learning is valuable for them right now? (Not ten years from now when they’re supposed to be “finished” their education, but RIGHT now?)
    5. What will help them grow to be the person they were meant to be?
  2. That you are the facilitator of that education.
    1. So how can you help them?
    2. What skills do you have that you can share with them?
    3. What do you want to share with them, impart to them, or learn with them?
    4. What could you do to learn or discover or explore so that you could be better equipped to be their facilitator?
  3. And of course, I think one very important third thing:
    1. YOU GET TO DECIDE what you want them to learn and how you shape their education, YOU! (That’s why you homeschool).

So what have you determined you think is an education anyway?

What are the important things you would like to include in your child’s education?

Now you have many things to do with your kids and facilitate for your kids, so they can grow up to be the humans they were meant to be.

Join the Deschool your Homeschool waitlist so you can have freedom, individualization and purpose in your homeschool.

In the Deschool your Homeschool group coaching intensive, we discuss this:

Do you want to release yourself from unrealistic expectations in your homeschool?

Why you homeschool matters more than how you homeschool.

But why you homeschool is very influenced by what you think an education is anyway.

The ingredients for a great education:

  • A specific child.
  • An engaged adult who is listening and observing that child’s interests, curiosities, and aptitudes.
  • Learning opportunities for that specific child.

What actually happens in an intensive…

We’ll go deep into the thoughts and emotions behind our challenges, use practical tools to address them, and enable accountability to practice these tools.

This will be a 1 1/2 hour group intensive.

What we’ll do…

  • an assessment of your present homeschool
  • an assessment of your children
  • an assessment of your belief on education
  • exploratory questions & discussions to shift your perspective
  • a plan to practically shift your homeschool toward your real children & your perspective on an education

How we’ll do it:

  • We’ll be digging deep into our thoughts & emotions about an education.
  • Uncovering practical tools to deschool ourselves & our children.
  • Enable accountability to practice these plans.
  • We’ll allow a 1 1/2 hour group intensive time. 
  • You’ll receive personal feedback and journal questions for you to continue the work afterward.

Bring your journals and a pen, without the kids. We’ll dig deep!

“Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Teresa Wiedrick

I help homeschool mamas shed what’s not working in their homeschool & life, so they can show up authentically, purposefully, and confidently in their homeschool & life.

Call to Adventure by Kevin MacLeod
Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3470-call-to-adventure
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/