Friday, June 12, 2009

A Little About Homeschooling

I guess that homeschooling has just been such a large part of my life for so long that I don't really think about it. Until I meet new people who aren't as into the homeschooling issues as I am and they begin to ask questions. Usually the questions tend to be mostly about curriculum or socialization issues.

When in fact, those are secondary in the whole scope of homeschooling issues.

I know there are varying views regarding homeschooling...and homeschoolers have very different reasons for homeschooling...

My reasons were different in the beginning when I took Lauren out of public school after she finished third grade. Moving around became the main reason for homeschooling though the years. I didn't want to have to move my children in and out of different schools systems across the country. But there are other reasons that went along with that...

There were many times I questioned whether I was doing the right thing or not, but so often had no real choice. It was better than the alternative. Now that Lauren is almost 20 and Megan is 14 I can look at them and know that I did do the right thing...

That even on a bad day with homeschooling it was better than most of the school systems I had experience with. Not just the educational aspects of it, but everything taken together...

I was in public school all of my life, and I knew that my kids were getting better than I got, without what I call, the side effects of public school. Don't get me wrong, I am not condemning anyone for sending their kids to public schools. Maybe it works well for you...I am not one of those people that thinks my way is the only way, or the best way. Everyone is different, every situation is different...I can only speak from my experiences, and my understanding.

Yes, there are areas that they could have done better than I was able to do for them...Algebra for instance...I hate algebra, and I can't really teach it...But I took it in public school and in college, so goes to show you it doesn't matter who teaches or where you learn it, somethings just aren't your area of expertise...we can't all be great at everything...but I managed to get through it and I have a college degree to prove it...whatever that is good for.

When I started homeschooling, I ordered the "school in a box" thing. Lauren was enrolled in Calvert homeschool. It is one of the oldest traditional homeschool programs out there. It was more expensive but I felt it would be worth it. You see, I kept thinking homeschool would be just like school only at home. And that worked well for Lauren, because she was geared that way. She had been trained from K-3rd in public school, so she knew the drill, and was good at it. She loved to read, did great in writing and Calvert required lots of both. She always hate math, just wasn't her thing.

As we went along, I begin to see the fallacy of thinking homeschool should be like school only at home. So I begin to expand. With Megan she had only gone to Kindergarten in public school, so she had not been trained in the ways of traditional school. Because we all know Kindergarten is not at all like traditional school. She started out with Calvert, but I soon discovered that she wasn't a traditional learner. She like to learn by doing. She didn't like to sit for hours and do book work. She liked to read by not so much. She loved to make up stories and has from the time she was a very young child, but she hated to sit down and write them out on paper. She wanted someone else to write for her. When she did write, she was a perfectionist about it. If she messed up one thing, she wanted to throw away the whole paper and start you know how trying that can be when you have a long paper to write?

We tried several different curriculums through the favorite has been unschooling... (If you haven't heard of it, click on the unschooling link.)

One thing I hope that I taught my children is a life-long love of learning. I know that they have to have certain skills in order to pass the tests that are required to get into college. But beyond that I hope that they have just enjoyed learning. I know that I have enjoyed having my children home with me, sharing our days, and our experiences together. I can't imagine having to send them off everyday for 7-8 hours and not knowing what they were doing or what they were learning. I know that for many people they feel they have no other choice, I am not judging. Just speaking of my own experience.

I love being able to go upstairs and see Megan sitting in her room reading or watching Noah playing and pretending to be this or that. I always enjoyed having my kids with me when I did the grocery shopping or when I had to run errands. We have spent many hours in the car exploring new places and finding interesting things to do. I enjoyed having them come into the kitchen in the middle of the day and our having lunch together.

I believe that kids will learn what they need to learn when they are ready. I don't believe that all kids learn the same way and at the same point in development. Putting them in a setting that requires that or considers them a failure if they don't, isn't what I consider a good learning environment. Homeschooling offers the freedom to learn at each child's own pace and level, without being compared to others. These are just a few of the reasons why homeschooling is our choice. Homeschooling is a lifestyle choice, it isn't just about education, but it is all inclusive lifestyle...
Homeschooling touches all aspects of our lives. At our house, school is always in session...

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