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edu180atl: evan brockman 3.14.12

There is a common saying in public health that goes something like this: “We can stand by the river and pull out those who are drowning one by one, but we can also go upstream and find out why so many people are falling in the river in the first place.” As a pediatrician, I meet many children (and their parents) who are ”drowning” so to speak, for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it feels like a giant game of Over/Under. We are over-scheduled/under-challenged, overfed/undernourished, overworked/under-compensated…….you get the idea.

American families and our schools are taking a beating in the press these days, rightly or wrongly. It seems the French are better parents and your best hope for a solid education is to move to Finland. But not from my perspective. Today I learned, as I do every day, that a wealth of opportunities exists right here in Atlanta. This year, we chose to homeschool our daughter for kindergarten and learn more about those opportunities firsthand. Well, what an enlightening experience it has been. I’ve had the privilege of meeting homeschooling families around the state and listening to the many reasons parents homeschool. I’ve also had the joy of attending teaching workshops nationwide and listening to a whole other perspective about issues in education.

As her primary teacher, I have learned every day of my daughter’s kindergarten year. I am a better pediatrician for this experience. The growing literature on the neuroscience of how we learn, the attempts to study the science behind creative thinkers, the incredible people who live and breathe education every day here in our neighborhoods…. inspiring!

About the author: Atlanta pediatrician, wife, and mother who is homeschooling her five year-old daughter this year purely for the joy of it. Her interests include sports medicine and advocacy for academically gifted and talented youth. She was raised in a home filled with books and with people who loved learning. Today, she aspires to provide a similar home for her family. In honor of Pi Day, she is going on a 3.14 mile (approximately) hike with her family.

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4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Evan:

    Thanks for sharing the joys you get from homeschooling your daughter. Some people say that teaching is one of the most rewarding professions. It certainly is a delight to see those bright eyes shine as a young person learns something new, discovers something they didn’t know, or feels that sense of confidence over having achieved the unexpected. I think those are feelings that many elementary school teachers have everyday.

    I only wish our society in general would see the value of teaching. Just because we were taught doesn’t mean we know how to teach. Teaching is a complex craft that needs time (at least some time) to master. We need to value our good teachers more in the US.

    I wish you luck on your journey to master the craft.

    Bob Ryshke
    Center for Teaching

    March 15, 2012
    • evan brockman #

      Bob:

      I agree the value of a good teacher is immeasurable. Assuming one masters the “science” of teaching (or medicine for that matter), there is still that elusive ”art” of the practice that separates the average from the exceptional.

      I’ve not even a remote hope of becoming a master teacher, but I admire Carol Tomlinson and her ideas of providing high support along with high expectations – teaching up for excellence. It is easy to do that with one motivated child. For example, today I introduced 10 elements of the periodic table by changing lyrics in REM’s song to “It’s the elements of the world as we know it”. Not exactly sure where that falls in addressing the common core standards but it was certainly a fun way to combine music and science class.

      Evan

      March 15, 2012
  2. Evan,

    What a wonderful insight into homeschooling and what it has meant to your family. I love how you noted that you have learned every day too! What a wonderful example to our children, to come beside them and learn as we teach.

    Very best,
    Ashley

    March 22, 2012

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