Homeschooling in the Age of Robots:

How the Humanities Offer a Bridge into an Uncertain Future

Session Description

We live in uncertain times. Automation looms as both a promise and a threat: a promise to bring unprecedented human innovation and technological advancement and a threat to disrupt economies and cultural norms in an equally unprecedented way. Since so much of education requires looking to the future and trying to prepare our children for the skills they will need in adulthood, living on the cusp of probable technological transformation can be anxiety-inducing. What jobs are we preparing our children to do? What will the future of higher education look like for them? How can we be certain that we’re giving them the skills they need?

My presentation offers the humanities as a bridge to uncertainty. We cannot predict exactly what the future will hold for our children, but we can take a look back at our historical lessons and see that the skills of critical thinking, making interdisciplinary connections, being able to communicate clearly, and engaging with the world in a deep and meaningful way will serve our learners well no matter what the future holds.

The humanities don’t easily map onto specific careers and technical skill sets, and that is making them vulnerable for cuts in higher education, public schools, and our society as a whole. However, this short-sighted approach is going to leave us without the skills necessary to adequately address the problems of the future-problems we don’t even know we’ll have. Our students need to be prepared to answer questions we can’t yet ask, and that requires teaching them to think flexibly and creatively, skills embedded into the very core of humanities education.

Come learn about how and why to bring more humanities training into your homeschooling practice. Not only is it the best way to ensure your learners have the skills necessary for whatever is coming next, but it is also fun, engaging, and multidisciplinary. The humanities can serve as the base from which you approach so many topics, and it can give you the confidence and material to make your homeschooling amazing.

Secular Homeschool Convention, Atlanta 2018

Michelle’s Biography

Michelle Parrinello-Cason is an unexpected homeschooler who found her worlds colliding when her “spirited” daughter wasn’t able to find a traditional classroom fit that served her needs.

Michelle has a PhD in rhetoric and composition and has spent the past ten years as an educator teaching classes in the humanities. Serving primarily as a community college composition instructor who specialized in classes for at-risk student populations, her teaching philosophy has always been one of meeting the student where they are and walking with them as they find where they want to go.

She had to apply those lessons to her own daughter’s education when her daughter was diagnosed as being gifted with ADHD and anxiety. A series of attempts to make a traditional classroom setting work were unsatisfactory, so Michelle began exploring homeschooling as a way to meet her daughter where she was and take her where she wanted to go.

Now Michelle teaches co-op classes, Outschool classes, and designs curriculum to “homeschool the humanities with humanities.” Her teaching experiences include teaching all ages from elementary through college in literature, composition, creative writing, philosophy, and cultural studies.

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