Homeschooling in the corona age

Whenever I hear the term “homeschool” I think of some well-known cases of parents who murdered their homeschooled kids.  While the relationship between homeschooling and murdering your kids may not be causal, they may both be a function of a third variable: lunacy.  

Who in their right mind wants to stay home all day, everyday, with their kids, and be responsible for how educated they turn out?!  For me it’s enough to know I’ve already screwed up my kids by nature and by nurture. I don’t need to also eliminate all other sources of influence that may buffer them for complete idiocy as well.  In fact, I am willing to pay good money not to get blamed for their poor education on top of everything else a mother’s blamed for.

I did some semblance of “homeschooling” when my oldest was an infant.  To provide an enriching environment for his neurons to proliferate, I read books about games to play with your baby, which consisted of variations on peek-a-boo and pat-a-cake.  After the first five minutes, I could feel my own neurons dying. I’d supplement these mind-numbing games by reading equally brain-dulling books over and over, until I fantasized about hurling myself out the great green room window.  

Besides, if I were to homeschool my kids now, what exactly would I teach them?!  I gave up helping with math when my kid reminded me that I needed a common denominator to add two fractions together, and what I remember about biology is what got me into this whole mess in the first place!  

I get that with the coronavirus here, we are having to make do, but let’s think about this logically.  The SAT and ACT were cancelled. AP exams are going to consist of testing on whatever was covered through the beginning of March.  Are universities going to give college credit for a course whose content wasn’t completed or mastered? If they did, how will the students fare in the next course that builds on the information from the previous one?  That’s a recipe for compounding the ignorance that began in high school through the college years, with students increasingly lost and confused as each concept is stacked higher and higher on an inadequate foundation.  

No, we need to flatten that curve now.  

Let’s stop to ask ourselves this:  In which AP class do students learn whether two Q-tips attached to each other with Scotch tape can substitute for a shortage of COVID-19 test kit swabs or what common household items can be used to make an N-95 respirator, such as a maxi pad or an HVAC filter?  If the answer is none, now would be a good time to dispense with this nonsense. All universities should become test-optional, and AP exams should be cancelled because no one this year will have mastered the content of the last third of these irrelevant classes anyway.      

For those who can’t bear the thought of not having students tearing their hair out over standardized exams while a pandemic is occurring around them, here’s the test that should be used to determine college admission to even the most prestigious universities–one that can be easily administered by even the most incompetent of parents:

Parents, use your College Board-approved smartphone or stopwatch to time this test.  Put the blunt-tip scissors you’ve kept for no apparent reason since your 11th-grader was in preschool, as well as a roll of duct tape, in front of your student.  Dump out your recycling bin in front of your student and say, “Make something.” Start timing and don’t stop until the kid has produced something useful or something beautiful, because what else matters??  Send the elapsed time, as well as photos of the finished product, to the College Board, who will forward them to the test-optional institutions of your choice.  

If we do this, hopefully one day, our institutions of higher learning will be filled with people who can solve problems the likes of which are not on any AP exam — problems they’ve never encountered before — novel ones.

That is, if we don’t go crazy first.