Alongside most of my days, while fulfilling errands, another event will coincide. Inevitably I am asked, why are they (my children) not in school? Then comes the discussion of homeschooling…
Most of the time I answer in as few words as possible and try to quickly bow out of a useless conversation of which I am presumed to be the idiot before anyone even saw me. Quite frankly, I do not have the time or patience to “discuss” such things unless an individual actually has the intent to allow two-way communication to be exchanged. Mostly I receive an uneducated, one-sided point of view from those whom have done no research on the topic of homeschooling what-so-ever. After all… if someone had researched, the first question would not be posed. It’s unfortunate that many people have an aptitude for choosing to believe one-line sweeping generalizations.
But today, with boldness, I engaged.
Now as a precursor to what I am about to say, I am not condemning regular school or saying homeschooling is the only option for children. Sun and I are blessed to have people in our lives that have encouraged a homeschool environment and reminded us of ways to think outside the box. Through the grace of God we have had a creative way of thinking and designing a home life that allows for me to assist in financial contributions to the home, while taking care of the home and schooling our children. Although I do think it is largely more possible than people believe, I do not think societies give parents any kind of support or confidence for choosing homeschooling.
So the conversation started like this: “Why do you school them at home, don’t you know schools do a better job?” For the first time without thought I just burst out, “I do it because I do a better job than the school.” Now typically I would not say anything like this, as I do not want to make other parents feel badly about their choices. I am well aware of the presence of alternative predicaments.
The reason for this post is to respond to some misconceptions that are constantly being fueled by people who have never considered homeschooling and dismiss it. So what I intend to do is lay out just a few of the reasons why we have chosen homeschooling.
We should all be aware by now that kids have very distinct learning styles. Scientific studies have come to an agreement that there are at least seven styles in existence, yet the majority of schools only include 3 of those 7 learning styles. So if your child happens to be in 1 of the 4 other groups… too bad. These children have to buck up and start learning the way the school board has deemed acceptable. Many kids are left feeling stupid and not having any value, sometimes in the early elementary years a child will give up and accept that he/she is “less than.” Teaching smaller groups of students (depending on family size) allows us to customize the curriculum and how we teach it. This allows each individual to flourish splendidly.
I HATE tests! And I hate being asked, “are you testing your kids?” Here is why… Tests are often administered in a manner that does not always really test your knowledge base or skill set. If aced, you are left feeling great! However, if you crammed and are given the exact same test in two months, you may have no memory of the answers any longer. This is because those who often pass these tests have practiced rote learning for a short period of time, not necessarily gaining knowledge as to how something works. There is a difference and based on the subject matter at hand, rote learning doesn’t always carry as much weight. Furthermore, if you do not pass the test you are often made to feel incompetent. It quickly brings on insecurity that can lead to life long struggles with a sense of “failure.” Confidence typically defines life success and this is all about an overall life rather than pure academics. We are raising future adults, not merely children here.
I could now interject a heap of diplomacy, well beyond sharing the basic acknowledgement of the presence of exceptional public/private teachers and also the existence of non-conforming educational institutions. I could do that. I could continue to, you know, do the super sensitive to everyone’s feelings “thing”. But today I won’t because I don’t feel like it. Such a pain to have to live for everyone else under an illogical school of thought. I’ve officially left my “egg walking” shoes at home, I’m not even throwing them in the car anymore.<br>
I’m homeschooling because I know what the material is being taught and how it is to be applied to my children’s lives. I am able to test them for the knowledge without them even knowing it. If they do not pass we continue to go through the material until we have full comprehension. Notice, “we” are involved and they are not alone. We are not rushed ahead until we are so deeply into the abyss that we cannot grasp our way back out to solid ground if necessary. Furthermore, if a child is doing an incredible job and they are ready to move on, we can also proceed through the material at swifter paces.
Another big reason I am a huge fan of homeschooling is based on the fact that you can continue to better know your child and to develop their talents in a more immersive way. You understand their gifting(s) and you understand what makes them tick. One can use that awareness in proceeding with their higher education. I believe people today should choose a life path based on their passion and their calling (what the meaning of the word “vocation” truly encompasses). Modern education often dismisses that idea and teaches students to pursue what works with their economic station along with sprinkling other tiny fragments of palatable thought around young minds like ‘annual salary’. This decides someone’s future these days and although I think salary matters, it is more important to me that my children are not stuck in a job that sucks the very life out of them. I would feel that their education has failed them if it resulted in millions of dollars a year, but yet they were not taking part in an enriched life designed by the Master Architect. Sure, my home-schooled brother in law is a successful commercial airline pilot in L.A., but that’s because it’s his passion and so it “is”.
And the BIG ONE:
Now, here comes the thing everyone and I mean EVERY one MUST address with their absolute loving concern of: “SOCIALIZATION.” Oh God Almighty in heaven help me!!!… and help me help those concerned!
Aren’t they lonely? How can they relate with other kids? Don’t they miss their friends?
Have any of you whom are so concerned heard of after school programs, sports, public parks, outings in public, homeschool co-ops, the beach, and more? Really now! We are not hermits hidden away on a little mountain cottage that we only come out once or twice a year to gather food for the winter. Honestly, sometimes I wonder curiously of those who ask this of us… Are we living on the same planet?
I have one boy who is somewhat of an introvert. Although he loves acting he prefers dedicated one on one conversations with people in his inner circle. I wouldn’t say he is overly shy but he is not driven to make new friends all the time. He would rather read a story or go invent something in his room, this is who he is. I have a second child who is a complete extrovert. If he is in a room you will know. He would have likely already introduced himself and asked you ten questions before you sit down. Both of my older boys communicate not only with children their own age, but easily with teenagers, adults, and of course their toddler sister (hey, toddler-talk is a good language to know). I would honestly say that my kids are more socially adept and prepared for all interactions they may encounter than the average child I grew up with while I attended public school.
I am not trying to be overly critical here. I am trying to ask those who have made this argument or have a concern to think about what the question entails. Are we as people only to converse with those of our very own age? Have people also assumed that we are a mute family that doesn’t talk to each other or we don’t allow our children to talk to those all around us? Remind me please, how would a school solely made up of new humans under a hierarchy of teachers, who would rather not interact with said humans during non-educational periods of the day, somehow be providing better abilities for a ‘humanoids’ to socialize with each other. Schools were purposely set up in the way they are currently, as it provided a better ability for a teacher to teach a group of children that were all close to the same academic level, not so they could be better suited for socializing. If you want to test truth here, just ask my nine year old “introvert” son a philosophical question and you’re sure to get an answer to which he would then expound on to detail his reasoning.
Now that I got all this off my chest I am taking a sip of my favorite afternoon drink (coffee of course). A few deep breaths and onward to my proclamation.
Take heed, it’s simple…
At the end of the day most of us as parents are trying to make the best decisions we can regarding our children’s well being. Here is what I would very much appreciate the most as a homeschooling mom. What I would advise those who don’t homeschool to NOT DO to the MANY homeschooling parents throughout the world is to harbor the assumption that I am screwing up my children. Please consider the following. If you as a parent send your child to a public or private school… that very same thought, my dear, is not my initial assumption of you.