Parents are fully capable of teaching their children at home, said Dr. Kathleen O’Toole, associate provost for Hillsdale College’s K-12 charter school initiative, in an interview on SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Daily with Breitbart News editor-in-chief Alex Marlow.
Hillsdale College and its Barney Charter School initiative have launched a series of more than 40 free YouTube videos for parents and their children engaged in at-home learning during the coronavirus outbreak in the United States.
O’Toole said her group’s usual work has been advising a network of charter schools and some private schools, but that, since the coronavirus shutdowns have closed schools, they have switched gears to helping parents provide American classical education at home.
“We’re making the curriculum that we use in our charter schools available to the general public,” O’Toole said. “It’s a liberal arts curriculum. If you sent your child to a Hillsdale-affiliated school – there are 21 of them across the country and more happening all the time … they will receive a well-rounded liberal arts education,” based on the same education as Hillsdale College students.
Asked by Marlow how education has changed in the U.S., O’Toole responded that a liberal arts curriculum places value on every subject. She said such a curriculum is different from what is found in most public schools today.
“Public schools today, in many, many cases, focus on career training,” she said, adding that some fifth-grade students say it is stressful to be expected to know which type of work they want to do when they are older.
O’Toole said in the Hillsdale-affiliated charter schools, they let children know they will be learning about “every single subject” and teach them how to study effectively.
This classical education format will prepare them for the future when it is time to decide their career, and for their lifelong learning, she said.
O’Toole acknowledged the current coronavirus shutdowns have presented parents with a challenge.
“Our message to parents at Hillsdale College is, ‘You can do this. You have been teaching your child since the first day that child was born. And, maybe you haven’t been teaching them math, maybe you haven’t been teaching them cursive, but you have been teaching. We’re here to help you with the content … with what to teach and how to teach it in the most effective way.”
O’Toole continued that parents know their children best, yet many parents of children who attend public schools believe teachers and schools are “privy to some kind of special secret knowledge of how to teach kids,” and that parents “can’t hope to do the expert work teachers are used to doing.”
In addition to challenging that idea, O’Toole said “parents have got to know what are you teaching my child about right and wrong.”
“A school should be able to answer that question and a school should not think of itself as providing lessons in that without the consent and the help of the parent,” she asserted.
In addition to addressing the concept of at-home learning and parenting for academic success, the Hillsdale video series covers the topics of phonograms, Latin, Singapore Math, science, classical literature, composition, history, grammar, physical education, and more.
O’Toole invited parents to visit k12athome.hillsdale.edu for more information and access to the curriculum.
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