13 February 2015

What Can Home Schoolers Teach Schools?

It might seem like an odd idea to think that schools can and should learn from home schooling. But, I am a psychological researcher and in 2013 a colleague and I published a paper showing that a home school resource center and a democratic school (similar to A.S. Neill's Summerhill or Sudbury Valley School) accomplished something that all the mainstream public and private schools studied for the last thirty years have not. Those schools maintained the intrinsic motivation of their students. This is particularly important because, first, intrinsic motivation is the gold standards for learning and, second, the levels of intrinsic motivation are an indirect indicator of psychological well-being. They are nurturing their children in ways that mainstream schools do not. My new book is called Every Parent’s Dilemma: Why Do We Ignore Schools That Nurture Children? Other researchers also found similar results for other democratic schools and a charter school network. But home schooling is the largest of these options with an estimated 2 million children in the USA (~4%). The other models are estimated to serve only hundreds or, at best, thousands of children. My book proposes that that our education system should stop ignoring these models by presenting a policy proposal that would lay a groundwork for schools to learn from these types of schools that have pioneered methods of maintaining the intrinsic motivation and engagement of their students. Check out the 3.5 minute video about my book and the crowd funding campaign that ends Saturday (Valentine’s Day) here: http://igg.me/at/parents-dilemma

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