the 20 qualities of an educated person

John Taylor Gatto, former New York City and New York State Teacher of the Year has compiled the following list that he calls “The 20 Qualities of an Educated Person.”

1. A broadly knowledgeable mind
2. Self confidence
3. A life purpose
4. A touch of class
5. Good leadership skills
6. The ability to work with a team
7. Patience
8. Good public speaking skills
9. Good writing skills
10. Resourcefulness
11. A desire for responsibility
12. Honesty
13. A public spirit
14. The ability to work well alone
15. An eye for details
16. The ability to focus at will
17. Perseverance
18. The ability to handle pressure
19. Curiosity
20. An attractive personal style

In perusing this list, it struck me how many of these qualities are taught, both in word and deed, within the typical homeschooling family just by the very nature of how we live and learn! Being home all day together, learning to get along with all age levels, working together on family projects, giving children room to grow and learn through their own research and discovery, helping them discern God’s calling on each of their lives, all of these are things at which homeschoolers typically excel!

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  1. Granddad says

    While I am certainly a supporter of homeschooling I do wonder if the somewhat cloistered environment might not have a negative affect on #6, ‘working as a team’. Working with a brother or sister or even a couple of kids from the homeschool group is not quite the same as working with the diversity a student is likely to encounter in a public or even moderately-sized private school. My point being: the real world these students will eventually enter is nowhere near as homogeneous as their homeschool was.

    Just a thought.

  2. Keri says

    Well, Hello Granddad! I would just like to say that I’m the mom of six homeschooling kids, four of whom are finished with homeschooling. I’m still pretty busy homeschooling our two youngest who are now in High School. Obviously, homeschooled kids are more sheltered in many ways.

    I was quite aware that someday my kids would be out in the “Real World”. They weren’t home all the time. They had plenty of opportunities to be out in the “Real World”. I have to honestly admit that I was a little worried about that as I had heard that from SO Many People.

    Well- four of them are in their 20’s now and have been out in the world now and I have to say that they have been fine. They have been able to handle it. I don’t really feel like I can take the credit for that. They all have there own relationship with the Lord and are able to deal with things from a balanced perspective, I guess you could say.

    There have been some funny moments. They had not heard certain language until they were out there. The interesting thing…The recognized that it wasn’t right. They didn’t crumple and fall apart. They had heard certain cuss words just not the really bad ones until they were “Out There”. I knew they would. I’m glad they didn’t hear all that to young!

    One of the funnier comments from my oldest son after working full time for about a year..He came home from work and said to me at the dinner table “Mom-I’m sure glad you homeschooled us. Did you know that there are some REALLY WEIRD people out there”. I about hit the floor laughing. Yes-I knew.

    He has come a long way and dealt with it. He has had grown men come after him and tell him they were praying for him to become a Satanist and denounce his faith. They were completely serious!! He had one man come up behind him(on a tall condo) and surprise him so bad that he dropped a $500 walkie talkie. If the man had pushed him just a little he would have been gone.

    My oldest daughter worked at a job in California while attending college and had some Very Interesting things happen. Will spare the details. She dealt with it.

    Another son probably lost one job due to his boss having a crush on him..He reached out to the guy many times but let him know where he stood in his Christian faith. He dealt with it.

    I could share much more but for times sake….You were correct in saying that in dealing with the real world that it is NOT as homogeneous as Homeschooling. That’s really ultimately what we are preparing them for isn’t it. The Real World.

    I will just end this with telling you what happened the other day. We just happened to be all walking down the street the other day and all of my kids, grown and teens, were walking in front of me. With the exception of my oldest daughter, they are all TALLER then me. I was watching them and thinking- What a Powerful Influence they are in this World. They share there faith openly and reach out to others in ways that I’m not able to right now. It is an Awesome thing to watch. We are not a “perfect family” but I see the Lord using them and working in their lives and I’m so Blessed to see how they Do make a difference in this World! Thanks for the opportunity to share this and I hope it helps a little.

  3. Anthea says

    Working as a team … ever heard of team sports, or a choir?

    The family is great training — where else do you get to work with people who will be with you for life?

    “I love you Mama, you’re the best Mama in the world.”

    “That’s lucky, ‘cos I’m the only one you’ve got.”

  4. says

    Granddad, actually, most homeschoolers get lots of experience working with adults, which is a much better training ground for the future than working with kids. I know people have always been amazed when they have interacted with my kids because they anticipate silliness and immaturity or even awkwardness because of the stupid hype about homeschoolers in the media and they are so pleasantly surprised.

  5. Susan T says

    Yes- wisely exposed! That was what happened w/our homeschool.

    Two of my young adult children(brother & sister) just returned from 25 days backpacking in western Europe: France, Germany, Belgium, England. Yes they survived 😉 I asked them if they ever felt truly frightened and they quickly said “no”. They had already let me know, during trip texts, about the hostels, campgrounds, B&Bs and “colorful people” near a train station late at night. They researched & planned before the trip; they consulted peers and college professors who had travel knowledge. They shocked the grandparents and a few other naysayers who could. Not. Understand. An. Independent. Trip. Without a tour group. I will point out that all the negative comments came from public school grads 😉

    There is a time for groups and a time for independent thinking– they would not have been able to see/do everything they did in a group. Groups get herded. Groups are bussed on main routes. (They wanted to exoerience the countryside too) Groups are usually taken to all the same places and miss many other interesting sites/viewpoints/experiences along the way. Groups are stuck in queue lines waiting . Groups waste even more time waiting for the dawdlers OR miss things because they wanted to dawdle/take more in.

    For the record, Back at home they have returned to group life- and serve on youth ministry team and other things. 🙂

  6. Granddad says

    @ Susan
    I’m very jealous of your kids 🙂
    Then again, at 67 I think I’d rather spend the evenings in a real bed in a nice B&B but keep the no-group travel.
    That was an experience I’m sure will live with them for a lifetime.


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