Earlier this year I suddenly remembered being taught in school to answer questions of the form “What is the difference between a delta and a wetland?” by copying the definitions of the two terms out of the book and putting the word while between them. Imagine writing this out in cursive on notebook paper:
A delta is a low triangular area of alluvial deposits where a river divides before entering a larger body of water, while wetlands are lands where saturation with water is the dominant factor determining the nature of soil development and the types of plant and animal communities living in the soil and on its surface.
...times twelve or so.
Looking back on it I have to wonder how on earth this happened. The event cries out for an explanation. What would make someone do this to a roomful of kids? Was it a case of perverse incentives? Incompetence? Or straight-up cruelty?
Another obvious question (if you're in my shoes) is if such a thing could possibly ever happen to a home-schooled kid. Sure it could. Parents can be incompetent too. Or cruel.
I try to be humane—I won't be committing this particular atrocity—but there are several things about homeschooling that give me pause. There are no good ways to measure whether things are going well. Finding out what I could be doing better is hard. As far as I can tell by searching the Web, not many people like me are doing this; or else they are all as strapped for time as I am. Most fundamentally, I don't know what I'm doing.