Posted by: chrisdavis | May 12, 2014

The Tyranny of the Transcript

Many homeschoolers have heard John Taylor Gatto’s quote, “If you want to educate a child, find out what the public school does and do something else.” (For those of you who still don’t know who Gatto is, John taught public school for 30 years and was eventually was awarded New York State Teacher of the Year).

“That’s all well and good, John. But, I am a homeschooling parent and there are simply some things I am required to put on my child’s transcript each of his 4 high school years. How can you say, ‘…do something else’? Like what?”

Not to despair: The largest section of my new book, Gifted: Raising Children Intentionally is dedicated to answering that very question. In the book, I take each high school subject and show how you can “do something else” in history, science, foreign language, etc.

A simple example: Why do so many public schooled children take Spanish? Is it because millions of teenagers long to learn Spanish so they can become adults who are capable of reading, writing, and speaking Spanish? Let’s be honest, now. With few exceptions (and there are exceptions) they take Spanish because 1) They have to take 2 years of a foreign language to graduate; and, 2) Spanish is considered the easiest foreign language to pass.

Is there an alternative to taking Spanish? Yes, and I don’t mean taking French or Italian or any other “normal” language…

What about History? Yes, there are alternatives to this subject as well as every other subject required for graduation.

If the high school transcript is driving your homeschooling, put on the brakes and change gears. Check out my new book: Gifted: Raising Children Intentionally. Available on Amazon in paperback and e-book format.

Chris Davis



  1. Amen!

  2. It would be nice if you had a contact so I could email you instead of commenting, but then again, maybe others will echo my sentiments. I think you should get your book on audiobook. Not everyone is an avid reader, and not everyone has time. I will read it, but my husband has a 2+ hour commute to work, and with English being his second language, it is much easier for him to absorb information in audio than in book format (could also have to do with his learning style).

    I have only read the sample; I need to spend my homeschool money on other things right now, like the science museum membership, but I will be getting it soon.

    I wish I had had your grandma! I hated history, but it did come alive when I went to Italy to study about the Waldenses with a group. I learned more names and dates and places (those where the bane of my existence in history–and I was homeschooled; I will never use A Beka history!) than I ever learned. And some of them I still remember almost 15 years later! When my kids are a little older, I think that touring the US with them (and later on, Europe) would be a lot of fun!

    • Lisa, anyone may contact me at One of my sons continues to encourage me to turn the book into audio format. I could not do this until I return from Israel at the end of June but will consider this as a summer project. If you own an e-reader, the e-book version costs less than $10.00 and most e-readers are capable of reading the book to your husband. If you don’t have en e-reader, email me and I will try to get you a copy sent to you before I leave the country. I will need your physical address and I will purchase a copy for you from Amazon and have it sent directly from them. Something else you might consider (and which other wives have done when their husbands are not readers or whose husbands have long commutes): Read the book into a recorder, yourself, and let your husband listen to you reading it to him. CD

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