Our reasons for homeschooling...
|"Art" class at 9pm :) Brighton's Rainbow|
These are our reasons for choosing homeschooling, specifically the unschooling method, for our children. They are not judgments of those who choose to educate their children in other ways.
"I would never homeschool. Kids need to be socialized, not sheltered. How can they be expected to make it out in the world if they don't go to public school? I feel bad for kids who are homeschooled." - Me (anytime before 2008). Wow, I had some pretty intense judgments on homeschooling up until recently. It's funny because I look back and realize that I was the most judgmental towards things that I was completed uneducated and ignorant about. And now the things I use to say and think back then are the same things that hurt or annoy the crap out of me now when I get negative feedback from others about our decision. It's important for me to try and remember that I held that viewpoint not long ago and they just haven't either been exposed to the knowledge that I have or have completely different life experiences and goals than Seth and I do.
I was in an elementary school today for the first time in a long time for Brighton's speech evaluation. It smelled just like the schools I went to and it made me a little giddy when I walked in. Everyone there was happy and friendly and there were letters and math equations painted on the floor. It made me happy to know that there were so many people there that love and care about all these children that they're teaching. I loved school for the most part, except for having to go. Every morning I woke up hoping to be sick so I could stay home with my mom. Our decision to homeschool doesn't really have much to do with the teachers or the school system, because honestly, I think they're doing the best they know how to do and many children excel within this system. We just hope that by homeschooling we can help our kids excel beyond what they would in a traditional educational system. I believe we can nurture their inborn abilities and adapt their education specifically for them as opposed to them learning what everyone else is even if they aren't interested at all. We also want to be more present in their lives. I want the days to be simple and unstructured, so they feel comfortable with exploring wherever their imagination takes them. Boredom is a gift. Some of the greatest ideas come out of being bored. If kids are so busy with school, homework and after-school activities, their brain has no time to think on its own. My kids drive me crazy on occasion, ;) but my mommy gut tells me that sending them off to school isn't what's best for all of us.
I have read many articles, blogs and a couple books on "unschooling" and it is an amazing concept. Once again, before I knew anything about it, the judgments flew out of my mouth. Don't let this be you! :) Unschooling is sometimes referred to as "child-led learning." Think about it, if you're interested in something, how much easier is it to learn about and retain that information? Man, I aced tests throughout school and college, but I can barely remember anything now. Ask me a question about natural childbirth, vitamins, whole food or vaccines and I can rattle off my answers really quick and give you resource after resource to look into. Human beings are born with the desire to learn. Brighton is extremely close to being able to tell time by looking at a conventional clock because he was very interested in it a few months ago. I worked with him for about 10 seconds a couple times a day and he totally gets it. If I pay attention, I can pick up on things that he would love to learn about everyday. Learning (and teaching) is so much easier if the student wants to learn! He knows how the digestive system works, all about the Great Pyramids, the Colosseum, Mount Rushmore and many others only because he was interested in them that day and I expanded on his initial interest. Sometimes at night before bed, he'll ask if he can do a worksheet. "Sure! Great idea," I tell him. It is fun to watch him learn and sometimes I feel completely unqualified to teach him, but thank God for Google, because it takes about 30 seconds for me to find out an answer to his question. lol We have been blessed with friends who have given us a huge amount of homeschooling resources as well that I use often just to stimulate interest in something. God has blessed our decision by leaps and bounds.
If you are interested in homeschooling or unschooling, I highly recommended the following resources. There are a multitude of resources out there, all you need is Google.
- Dumbing Us Down by John Taylor Gatto
- Radical Unschooling
- How to be a good Unschooler (or parent, IMO) LOVE this.
- The Natural Child Project
- Amazing blog by an unschooled 19 yr old. I'm Unschooled. Yes, I can Write. If you read nothing else on unschooling, read her post that I linked above.
- Speech by a high school valedictorian, also on youtube.
Growing up, what I wanted to be was a mommy, an author and a teacher. If you count my little blog as "published," I've got all 3 covered. We are blessed.