How’s school?

Recently at a doctor’s appointment, my daughter got the oh-so-familiar question: “How’s school?”

Without skipping a beat, she replied “Great!”

The doctor asked what classes she liked. “Well,” she said, “I’m enjoying history right now.” The doctor said that she, not surprisingly, had really liked anatomy. The routine appointment continued, as did the pleasant conversation, which covered the delights of passionate teachers and the joys of dissecting frogs. This doctor had no idea that my daughter is homeschooled, and apparently, my daughter didn’t feel the need to enlighten her.

Thinking about it later, I saw the sense in it. Most people think of school as a building one goes to every day, but with the growth of homeschooling and other forms of alternative education, that paradigm is changing. Instead of responding with an answer that negated the doctor’s question, my daughter gave an answer about her current personal experience with education.

Recently, I read an article that quoted the late Paul Goodman: “Suppose you had the revolution you are talking and dreaming about. Suppose your side had won, and you had the kind of society you wanted. How would you live, you personally, in that society? Start living that way now! Whatever you would do then, do it now.”

When it comes to education, the revolutionary outcome I would like to see is a world in which alternative forms of education are socially accepted. A world that recognizes the folly of one-size-fits-all education, and that supports multiple approaches. That morning, when my homeschooling daughter answered the “How’s school?” question, she was living in that society. She and the doctor weren’t two people on opposite sides of a fence. As each shared the common experience of a love of learning, they connected.

Such connections can only help create a world in which homeschooling and other forms of alternative education are as commonplace as a yellow school bus, no debate or discussion required, only living and learning.

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