Just when you thought you were past the Halloween creepies, someone critical of homeschool or a naïve neighbor mentions the dreaded education gap. Perhaps you’ve been considering transitioning back to brick and mortar school or maybe as your kids get older, you’re concerned about their readiness for high school or college. Any homeschooler worth their salt will consider the ramifications of their curriculum choices and assess their teaching ability in light of how it prepares their student. That is excellent teaching and parenting. Don’t let any education gap talk cause you to freak out though because unlike those haunted house special effects, the education gap is actually real. It’s just not scary.
The Education Gap is Real
Look, it doesn’t matter where you go to school, who your teachers are or whether you attend a brick-and-mortar school, virtual school or are homeschooled – no one teaches everything. There are always gaps. You could send your child to the best private school in the country from kindergarten through senior year and there will be gaps. Sure the government has attempted to devise and revise and revise core curriculum and standards, but those vary from state to state, district to district, year to year, and administration to administration. Repeat after me, “There’s no such thing as ghosts and there will always be gaps.”
We’re thankful for some gaps and excited to fill others
Like fast-forwarding through the gratuitous gore of a film, you may well have pulled your kids from public school in order to gain education gaps. The indoctrination of students is a real threat and when a child is ready to shoulder some topics is quite subjective and best left to parents. Even core subjects in some schools are beginning to resemble an op-ed as opposed to factual information.
At the same time, some gaps are dying to be filled. Did your high school student’s “history” class all but skip pre-1960 American History? Fill that gap and it will be most of their peers who are behind. Common core, school boards, and the agendas of the textbook sector all intentionally create gaps. You can identify them and fill them as you deem appropriate.
While there are always gaps, one may always fill them
The education gap “argument” seems to suggest that if a student misses something, that opportunity is gone forever. That’s silly. If you decide to change curriculum tracks or you change schooling situations, it’s not that difficult to complete an assessment or to review the previous years’ curriculum to identify potential gaps. Say you find one that concerns you. Boo! It’s not really that scary. Create a plan to fill it in. Besides learning is forever and ultimately the responsibility of the student. It is more important to teach our kids how to fill gaps they find in life than to act as if they can all be filled or that they have been irreparably harmed if they temporarily have one.
Gaps are a part of life. Sleep easy. There’s nothing to fear.
Nathan Manley is a certified teacher and coach with a masters degree in education. He has taught multiple subjects, every age group and from Jamaica to California. Between his three children, his family has experience with public school, private school, charter schools, hybrid programs and full time homeschool. He believes music and film produced after 1989 is “meh.”