Roam Schooling

Last week I posted about this book I was reading, about one woman's foray into homeschooling.

I really loved the comments that you all left, talking about the pros and cons of trying such a system.  I still don't know if I could personally homeschool my kids, but I am intrigued by the idea.  

Anyway, I had just gotten into the book when I wrote my first post, but the other night, not yet ready to sleep, I told the husband that I was going to read "a little bit" and proceeded to polish it off just a little after midnight.  Oops.  I got sucked in on the background of homeschooling and those who are very extreme in their practice, to the point where the kids are not socialized at all.  It made for very interesting reading and I highly recommend the book.

My very favorite part, though, came at the very end of the book, where the author talks about "roam schooling" as opposed to home schooling.  Roam schooling takes on the idea that schooling does not have to be one or the other.  You could do time in a regular school building, take classes online, learn at home, visit the community college, the library, the community center.  You teach yourself by watching videos on YouTube (heck, hubby taught himself how to lay tile that way) and interact with others on social networking sites.  Because of our advancing technology, there's no telling exactly how schools will look in the future.  We know that our current system isn't the best, so maybe it's only a matter of time before the system changes into a workable system that actually gets people learning.  Isn't that the goal?

I came across this infographic the other day, and while it's a little long, I find it very interesting.

I don't know if I would jump all the way to free education because as we all know, it wouldn't actually be free, but I like the idea of putting our people first and making sure we are creating a nation of educated people.  The fact that so many people come out of college with huge debt is really sad, and the fact that so many never use their degree makes it even worse.  College could be cheaper if they eliminated all of the junk classes forced into each program to make you more well-rounded.  When you go to a trade school, you learn a trade.  When you go to college, you learn how to be round.  It doesn't make sense.

That's why I like this idea of roam schooling: you get to focus on what you want to learn, and then, you'd be more likely to learn it.  If you've ever been in a school lately, or have chatted with teachers, you may hear them talking about teaching to the different learning styles- visual, kinesthetic, etc.  This means that different people learn best in different ways- seeing something written out, by physically doing something, and so on.  Roam schooling would cover all that, and it seems like, in a better way.

I wonder if this could be the way we start moving.  Maybe we can finally make our education system more workable.

Would you roam school?


  1. I think I might add that as a society we tend to glorify college and tout it as the next natural step after high school. When, in reality, college just isn't right for a lot of people. That's why I think homeschooling and concepts like roam schooling can be really beneficial. It gives young people the opportunity to explore what they're passionate about and learn at the same time. You're probably less likely to go to college just for the heck of it if you've already spent a few years discovering what you're good at.

    1. Yes! You are exactly right, and I said the same thing in my first post about this book. I don't think college is the answer, and it's pushed so hard that you're made to feel like you are a dumb person if you don't go. People are looked down upon if they aren't college educated, and now we've got this society that all expects awesome high-paying jobs, which isn't how it works. We have said that we aren't going to go into debt to send our kids to college. We're fine with them not going and just doing community college or trade school or whatever makes them happy as long as they are working and are productive. I really hope things change as far as college goes. I feel like I wasted a lot of time there.

  2. Home schooling is definitely much different now than it was when I was a kid. With online classes, you aren't limited by the parent's teaching ability alone, and with meet-ups and activities, there's no reason why your child can't be socialized normally. Having said that, I don't know if I could home school my kids (if I ever have any) because it's such a huge responsibility to take on your child's education. I think a lot of people don't give it the weight it deserves.

    My mom has been a teacher for 45 years and I DEFINITELY could not do what she does. And she only teaches one subject. So adding in everything else your child should be's just not as easy as a lot of bloggers would have you believe.

    With regard to specialized education, I think kids should take classes in everything through high school; there's a lot of evidence out there to suggest that learning different subjects, like calculus and art and creative writing, all help brain development in different other words, even if you hate math, it makes you smarter, and even if you are tone-deaf, music helps you problem-solve in other areas of life, etc. But I see no reason why you shouldn't specialize after that. Going to a trade school or community college, getting a 2-year degree in IT or something if you love computers, for example, and then working and earning money will benefit you so much more in the short term than coming out of a 4-yr liberal arts program without a specialized degree and a mountain of debt.

    Having said that, I am definitely an advocate of life-long learning. It isn't something that should stop when you obtain a degree. We need more people who can think critically about issues, who can come up with creative solutions to problems, and that's true no matter what field you enter.

    1. Yes! And I'm probably going to be offensive to someone here, but I think that standard 4-year college has just become synonymous for 4-year party. Kids aren't really planning on what they're going to study seriously, they're focused on how much they're going to get to drink. Our culture is a little warped in that area right now.

      But really, you're right that taking on education is such a big deal, and as a parent, I don't know if I could do it. Yes, we'll help them with their schoolwork if they need it and yes, we'll try to introduce them to new things, but I don't know if I could be as objective teaching my own kid as I am teaching other people's kids. You're just too involved in the situation.

      I love the idea of lifelong learning, and everyone should definitely continue to do that just for interest or for a hobby, etc. So much emphasis is placed on this one thing you're going to be, but life just doesn't work that way. And the mountain of debt is just so scary, and is it really worth it? You spent the first 10 years of your "career" trying to pay it off, which counteracts the whole process!

  3. I like the idea of roam schooling perhaps when you're older. I'm not sure if I would like it for kids. I just think it leaves to much openness for both the parent and the child. I feel most people have troubles with structure and I think educating your child that way or even homeschooling will be difficult without structure.

    I like the idea of homeschooling but its one of those things that will be left to individuals that are already educated. Who will teach the offspring of teenagers or young adults or any adult with a very limited education?

    I personally wouldn't home-school my children. What I will do is supplement their education outside of the classroom. I think this is something all parents should do anyway.

    1. I think it would totally have to depend on the kid. In the book, the woman's daughter just wasn't cutting it in regular school because she was excelling at language but hated math. So they were trying to find a better balance. I understand what you mean, though, about making sure that those who are educating are indeed educated. It really just depends on the situation.

      There was a mention in the book about people who homeschool because what's being taught in the public school doesn't jive with their religion, so they are homeschooled to the point of complete separation. There are even people who birth at home just so they don't have to register their children for a birth certificate. You have to be really careful with all the extremes.

  4. Completely agree about the needless "extra" classes universities require for students. Those things should be taught in high school, not college. If our society needs well-rounded individuals then we should start working on that from the beginning, not panicking when everybody turns 18.

    The whole system needs an overhaul, and I know not everybody will agree with this, but I think free higher education would solve a lot of problems. Not only would debt no longer be an issue for middle class families, but lower-income students would have a much more realistic shot at breaking the poverty cycle. A friend of mine teaches high school in a bad neighborhood, and she's talked about how sad it is that some of her smartest kids won't get to college at all because they could never afford it. And then nobody will hire them because they don't have a degree--which is another issue that needs to stop.

    Anyway, since this is going to be the longest comment ever I might as well keep going! Amen to being a lifelong learner. I've said more than once that I just want to keep taking classes at the junior college forever. And yay for your husband learning how to lay tile through a YouTube video. We do stuff like that, too. I now know how to install a new toilet, should we ever need one.

    1. Yes! I'm sorry, I don't need to take a religion class and a philosophy class if I'm going to be teaching elementary school kids. I just don't. And because my college was very sports centered? We had to take gym. In college. I'm serious.

      There definitely has to be a better way for the people who want to go to college to be able to do so more cheaply. The problem is becoming similar to that of health care: education is given money through the government so then they charge more because costs are being offset by that money, but they still want to make money. The problem is for those who don't get grants/take loans/offer up their firstborn, then it's way too much. I don't know how anyone thinks it's working.

      YouTube is awesome. When I mentioned awhile ago that I wanted to learn to knit (which I don't anymore....not for me), almost everyone that knits said, "Go look at YouTube! That's how I learned!" It's so fabulous!

  5. I definitely agree there needs to be changes to our current education system. I've thought about home schooling but I do worry about the socialization and losing some of those good experiences you get in school. I know some of the homeschooled kids here, they do gym at the YMCA with other homeschooled kids and do school work at the library and socialize with other kids there too, which is good, but my husband always gives me the hardest time when I bring it up. I think the current school system needs so much reform, and I agree roam schooling would be beneficial. Kids need to get out of the classroom and get experience with things in the real world. There's a charter school in NY that has students work on farms, students installed solar panels in town, enter in local marathons... it's not all about teaching for the test, but about teaching them to lead healthy, beneficial lives.

    1. Like I said before, it's hard to know if it's going to work for your kid in your situation, unless you just up and do it, I guess. From what I learned in the book, too, depending on your state, there are different regulations and guidelines that you MUST follow in order for you to be in line with "appropriate" homeschooling. CT has no such regulations, which I'm actually shocked about, so I could pretty much teach Gus and Greta how to spin around with their forehead on a baseball bat and call it done.

      I'm really intrigued by charter schools. They seem to have the best results because you have to apply to get in, which means that people who go through the process really want to do go there, and they don't have to follow the state guidelines, which means they can be more effective and cut out some of the bureaucracy.

  6. I've never really a "fan" of homeschooling. This is probably because I have a teaching degree and see the importance in socializing from a very early age. That being said, I do believe some people get it right when choosing to homeschool their young. Here is a great piece on NPR about a Harvard Grad. who was homeschooled by her Truck-Driving mother :)
    Talk about a lesson plan! This mom really got it right :)
    Great blog post!!
    Easton Place