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The idea of decentralizing things has gained popularity over the past several years. A focus on local control, and escape from having Big Government dictate to citizens on a wide variety of issues, has been growing.
This is especially true when it comes to education. The Department of Education was created in the 1970's. For generations before that the local communities and state governments were the ones who oversaw schooling. We need to get back to a local model. Hopefully this site will be helpful to those of us who want to put education back into the hands of parents.
What does local control mean?
One model of schooling I really liked for parents who want a private or cooperative school involved the use of a Teacher Senate. Top-down administration of our schools has become a real bane to education. In this model, teachers work together with administrators to choose curriculum, plan, and guide the direction in which the school should go. I would add, parents should be part of any model.
I have also read of schools where parents select who their administrators are going to be and are fully part of the process of vetting any new principals.
Being involved about who is elected to the school board is also vital, if you are going to send your child to a school. Parents have really been waking up over the past several years, and in many places they are replacing harmful practices and teaching with child-friendly, wholesome approaches and content.
The chart at the top of this page uses some of the concepts currently being used as parents seek a better education for their children. Networking seems to be one of the biggest challenges.
I would challenge homeschool groups to reach out into their communities and offer encouragement to other parents, even if they do not have the same beliefs as they do. Are you involved in building something like an Acton Academy? Do some PR work and offer workshops, meet-and-greets, or educational fairs as an opportunity to share ideas and approaches with other parents. Have you found an online solution that works for you? Post some YouTube videos to let other parents know what you found. Then, when you see parents' questions on Facebook or other SMS you can just share a quick word and a link, which will take them to a fuller explanation.
I will be posting here about many different ways parents are solving the schooling problem. If you know of resources you would recommend, please share them. You may have the answer someone else has been looking for.
Millions choose homeschooling
While it is true that among the millions of children being pulled from public schools many are going into private schools, there are a vast number of parents tackling the challenge of teaching their children themselves at home.
If you are among those parents, this site is for you. While originally designed to train teachers in using technology in their classrooms, the educational landscape has changed. Parents are crying out for advice and for opportunities to network with other parents. I get that. Although I am a veteran teacher who spent most of my career in public schools, I, too, pulled one of my children out of school for a time, then put them in a private school for a couple of years before letting them go to the local high school.
Parents who are fleeing the public schools are bravely standing up for their children against a system that is becoming more and more harmful to children. Yet, these parents face financial struggles, challenges in finding others to network with, and their own worries about not providing a good enough education for their children.
I hope that this site, and the Eduscapes community, will be one resource parents can use, both to share their success stories and to seek resources and advice. While Facebook pages dedicated to homeschooling abound, I want to create a space that allows for a deeper connection for parents and a set of resources anyone can use for free.
This is the re-launch of Edubabel Online Learning [March 2023]. I look forward to watching the community grow and celebrating the success of parents who are willing to stand up and create a better education for their children.
What is blended learning?
The term "blended learning" is used in a variety of ways. Some people use it to describe wholly online learning, where the student can chat with or Skype a teacher when the student gets stuck.
Others use it to describe classes which are taught live but supported with online tools. These tools can include using a Learning Management System (LMS), or guiding students to online simulations which support the topic they are studying.
Blended learning may also involve students in creating online products in wikiis, or on sites like Glogster, Prezi, and a host of others.
A caution: using tech does not mean putting a child in front of a screen for six hours a day. That would be horrible. Tech is a tool that can be used to teach both the child and the parent. I personally favor using the online component more for helping to equip the adults and using very little tech with kids until they are a bit older.
Believe me, as a parent and as a 7-12 teacher whose last school decided to put all of their "problem" students on computers in labs all day, I can tell you that you do NOT want to do that to your child.
Technology, like any other tool, can be really beneficial if used in the right way.