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Throwing around my doctorate in education for a sec: I want all you parents to know that *literally no human beings ever in history* have been asked to educate kids & do adult work simultaneously the way you are now. The scientific term for what you're facing is "batshit insane."
Like, educate children in the home while doing adult work: ok! Has been done! It looks like: developmentally-appropriate apprenticing, largely manual tasks, kids doing small manageable pieces of grownup work (zone of proximal development/legitimate peripheral participation).
The other day a colleague noted her kid had had his mind blown that the adding-five-digit-numbers he was doing for school was also something his mom could do with spreadsheets. Stuff like that is a reasonable shape for traditional home education.
Community education has not traditionally looked like age-segregated, out-of-context work on things like math and language arts and history and science as abstractions. That's a schoolroom thing.
Did education maybe look like, rich kid has a tutor who maybe even was live-in? Absolutely! And that was more likely to lead to, say, a career in law or medicine, because of the resources of the family.

This has ABSOLUTELY NEVER been feasible at scale for non-rich people.
Mass education scaled because of government effort. It was meant to take kids out of the home and train them to be citizens of their nations (including nationalism and all sorts of baggage about what was available to their social class, but also things like hygiene). It is WORK.
Work done by teachers, who it seems like we're only really coming to appreciate now. Mass education was never, ever planned to be executed by parents who had full-time jobs.
So I repeat, what parents are being asked do right now is ABSOLUTELY BATSHIT INSANE. And if teachers or people at work are like "we really need you to do X better," *you are under no obligation to feel bad about this historical anomaly you have been thrust into.*
I wish like crazy I was better able to support all of you teaching at home right now; all my study of the history of education feels worthless. All I can do is send you to homeschooling and unschooling sites, where families have been talking about how hard this work is for years.
Parents, I hope you can take comfort in these time-on-task guidelines for homeschooling: scarymommy.com/chart-homescho…
Remember that kids learn by PLAYING. Playing is a kid's real job. It's where they're working out their thoughts about families and jobs and the social world around them, their fears and secret passions.
And if there's something small about your work a kid can help you with—alphabetizing something, adding some numbers, dividing something into fractions, writing a letter, even if it's never sent—that's another way to get them to understand the stuff they learn will be useful.
One friend told me today, "I'm a programmer, my job is too abstract for the kid."

My mind went back to my roots in usability work: breaking apps, whining about them, and ultimately wiping out my uncle's Mac Classic due to a bad interface decision in the game Manhole.
Don't whine, programmers. Give your kid a template for a bug report ("What I saw... What I expected to see... What happened instead"), and turn them loose on any software that frustrates them.
That's part of apprenticing as a coder.
I really want to recommend more sources from unschooling and homeschooling, which I read about as an undergrad at @hampshirecolg, but most of mine are out of date. Not to mention as I grew, I learned more about the limitations of their scale.
But in Grace Llewelyn & John Taylor Gatto's books there were nuggets of truth. Like Llewelyn pointing to the "floundering period" kids go through when taken out of school and left to their own devices, sleeping in a lot, being bored. We had it at @hampshirecolg too.
That's normal. Eventually, most of us go "I've gotta do *something.*" It's a great moment to get your bearings, spend time on some long-form project you care about that school didn't give you time for. Nurture those right now. They're also vehicles for history, math, and reading.
I am eagerly awaiting what this generation of kids will tell us once they realize what life is like when there's no school. I await the radical revisions they will want to make to education.
@hampshirecolg
I'll get off my soapbox now. Just remember:
• It is not AT ALL your fault that trying to work and separately teach kids is this hard. It is historically impossible.
• There are lessons for us in how learning worked before schools, and how it works now outside of schools.
*waves at @drtaxsacto*
this is where I plug that I've written up my lessons for digital privacy and security, avoiding disinformation, online mindfulness, and just plain *reading* in a highly chaotic world of information in my brand new book, out now go get it go! mitpress.mit.edu/books/keep-cal…
@glyph there I did it
@mitpress promises us there will be a digital version available any day now
@hvarenne it occurs to me that a blog post or tweet thread from you about other contexts for education could be very much in order. People really need to hear this right now!
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